Erica Kemp, ex-managing director of environmental consultancy Ecus, and Chris John, the firm’s former business development manager who set up its Manchester office, have formed their own sustainability practice, Envance.
The company, which launched last month, will be based in offices in Greater Manchester once lockdown fully lifts, and seek to provide sustainability advice to developers, housebuilders, planners, construction firms and others in the industry.
Kemp worked at Ecus, a company spun out of Sheffield University, for 14 years, and John joined in 2013 and set up the Manchester operation two years later. He grew the office to account for £1m of the firm’s circa-£5m turnover by the time the pair left earlier this year, and managed 15-20 staff.
Speaking to Place North West, the co-founders and directors of Envance explained that their aspirations no longer matched those of Ecus, whose work was mainly focussed on site ecology and other specialist work for large infrastructure schemes.
“We wanted to offer a high-level, holistic approach to sustainability consultancy, rather than the pure, specialist disciplines work, which can be outsourced, and this is what we expect to do with Envance,” Kemp said.
With Manchester aiming to become zero-carbon by 2038, and the UK by 2050, the pair anticipate strong demand for a strategy-based approach to sustainability among housebuilders, councils and others, with decarbonisation, life sciences, access to green funding, and renewable energy all key topics on which the firm will consult.
Said John: “In the property industry, there is often a gap between a company’s stated commitment to sustainable development, and how they actually integrate this within the pre-planning, planning and construction stages, and we can help them with this.”
Envance is drawing up corporate sustainability strategies for several clients at present and working to build its project pipeline.
For now, the company is just the two of them, but Kemp and John said they expect to recruit other staff in the medium to longer term, and call on the services of independent consultants and niche sector experts on a project-by-project basis.
Prior to joining Ecas, John was principal ecologist at Avian Ecology, and, before that, national ecologist at the Canal & River Trust. He has also served as a trustee of the Manchester Citizens Advice Bureau.
Kemp, a graduate of Staffordshire University, worked her way up the ranks at Ecas, holding the managing director post for two years until March this year.