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Q&A: Talking with Zoe Haseman, Jacobs VP, Global Sustainability

In honor of Jacobs’ new Climate Action Plan launch, our Vice President, Global Sustainability Zoe Haseman discusses her career, simple ways to be more sustainable and more in this Jacobs.com interview.

On Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Jacobs launched its Climate Action Plan. Committing to 100% renewable energy and Net Zero Carbon in 2020 and a long-term goal to be carbon negative by 2030, this plan details how the company will continue to make a positive environmental, societal and economic difference for businesses, governments and communities around the world.

We connected virtually with Jacobs Vice President of Global Sustainability Zoe Haseman to talk career, simple sustainability tips and more to get to know one of the key Jacobs’ minds behind the inspiring Climate Action Plan.

What’s your favorite part of your role?

Without a doubt getting to work across so many different parts of the organization. The variety brings endless learning opportunities and pleasure of working with such a diverse and talented bunch of colleagues from all over the world. 

If you aren’t in the office, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

I’ve recently moved to live by the sea and just got a kayak and a paddleboard. I love getting out on the water, whether on my own or with my kids on board.

On that note, what’s a story that your family always tells about you?

They like to tease me about my competitiveness. And, I would always deny it, but I’m a sports person so I guess there might be a little preference for winning somewhere inside of me. But, as I tell my kids (and remind myself,) it’s the taking part that counts!

Most interesting career moment?

In 2009, I moved to San Francisco to start up a sustainability division for one of Jacobs’ subsidiaries. This was just around the financial crisis and subsequent global recession. Building a new business in that environment required a lot of hard work and creative thinking, but it all paid off when we secured the contract to create a flagship sustainable masterplan for one of the U.S.’s largest airports several years later.

What’s something you learned in the last week?

Five minutes jumping and laughing on the trampoline with my children is a great way to unwind after work.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

The sense of community and camaraderie we have as an organization of our size is amazing. I’ve worked for much smaller companies where I haven’t felt it in the same way. I think this has been achieved because of the cultural transformation that we’ve been on in recent years. It feels like everyone is pushing in the same direction to be the best we can.

Most proud career moment?

Well, we just launched Jacobs’ first-ever Climate Action Plan, which contains ambitious commitments around the company’s carbon emissions and climate resilience. Aside from the very real impact this plan will have, it’s also symbolic of our ongoing transformation I just touched on, and our dedication to tackle the world’s toughest challenges.

People would be surprised to know that I….

Lived in Kuwait for six years when I was a kid. I can still count to ten in Arabic.

What’s your quick bit of advice for those looking to become more sustainable in their personal lives?

One revelation I’ve had during the COVID-19 lockdown is around food waste. Because I can’t just head to the store to pick up one or two ingredients, I’m much more creative about using what’s in the fridge and cupboards when preparing meals. Wasting less food has a positive environmental impact and I hope my new-found creativity continues when quarantine ends.

And finally, how are you fending off the COVD-19 stay at home boredom?

I don’t think it is possible to be bored with two young kids. Weekends are flying by with games in the garden, baking, crafts and Lego. I’m making sure I get out for runs and bike rides and am keeping connected with friends over video calls to socialize with quizzes and pub nights. I’m feeling very lucky with all the distractions and grateful for the positives we can still experience even in these tough times.

From a small startup that became a Queen’s Awardee for Enterprise to leading companywide sustainability strategies and landmark sustainability masterplans for clients, Zoe Haseman isn’t afraid to think differently. As Jacobs Vice President of Global Sustainability, she’s inciting our transformation to push the limits of what’s possible and stay ahead to create new pathways for the future: a more connected, sustainable tomorrow. Meet Zoe.

Related terms: COVID-19, COVID, Coronavirus

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