Project: Sustainable Business Accelerator

Annabel Burgess is an environmental lawyer by training, however has experience in transport planning, procurement and sustainability consulting. In 2021 she founded Third Era Sustainability Consulting with the goal to support high performing businesses to become industry leaders in sustainability. When Annabel isn’t working with businesses to find their sustainability niche, developing partnerships with social enterprises or supporting teams to deliver sustainable impact, you can find her mountain biking with her dog Ollie, baking outrageously large (zero waste) cakes or freediving with my partner dreaming about how to restore the oceans.


In 2021 when I launched Third Era I developed our first sustainability programme for businesses called the Sustainable Business Accelerator. The aim of the Accelerator is to help businesses build the foundations of sustainability within their organisations. By the end of the programme participating organisations will have built their culture and mindset for sustainable action; achieved clarity on their authentic sustainability priorities; baselined thier current state against key sustainability metrics; establish the systems and process for success; and most importantly taken action towards a sustainable world. These outcomes will support the transition to a green and equitable economy through decarbonisation, reducing waste, introducing circular economy concepts and innovation within the business sector alongside other social, economic and cultural objectives. Through the mentorship I hope to refine the programme and scale the sustainable impact that is achieved by participating members.

The idea was born throughout my time working in a variety of corporate and sustainability roles. Throughout my career I noticed that a lot of businesses were grappling with where to begin with sustainability. They might have started with one piece of the puzzle (such as measuring their emissions inventory, starting a green team or running some pilot projects), however they were not seeing the bigger picture and putting all the puzzle pieces in place. Others started their journey with a big bang, but were unable to maintain momentum. The Accelerator aims to be the guiding light and strategic direction for companies so that they can put in place all of the foundations for sustainability rather than missing one of the core pillars. It also builds the systems, processes and culture for longevity and ongoing sustainable practices.


The first thing that came to mind for me was my love of nature, the world we live in and the life I've been lucky to live so far. But comes with that is the knowledge that my future life will in no way look the same as this first stage of my short time on the planet. Three things have happened that really bring that reality home to me. 1. Massive flooding on my way to work in 2018. 2. the massive changes from the Pandemic over the last few years have made me realise, actually, there is no "new normal". The only real new normal is that we are going to be living in continual uncertainty. and 3. Finally reading The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace Wells and knowing that climate change is happening now, and its only going to get more frequent throughout my, my family and my friends lifetimes. Really, my why is my deep desire to protect this world so that others can also share in the beauty and fun of the place we call home. I also hold the a realistic optimism, that change is really possible. Fortunately for me, I'm in an amazing position in life to take a risk, try some new ideas and give it a go. So really how could I not?

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