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Meet our team: Anna Chilton

Meet our team: Anna Chilton

Welcome Anna! Please tell us about yourself.

I'm joining Rio from a corporate sustainability background. My experience has focused primarily on sustainability strategy, policy and reporting within the FMCG/Food and Beverage and Agricultural sectors. I have a passion for working with Nature-based Solutions (NbS), which involves working with nature to address societal challenges, providing benefits for both human well-being and biodiversity, and have conducted research in regenerative practices and biodiversity, for various sectors. I recently completed an Executive MBA in Sustainable Business with a thesis in ESG training for executives, which revealed to me the importance of ESG training at work, and how the top universities, and MBAs, are training the minds of the future about sustainability and finance. Connecting the dots between business strategy and sustainability has been my driver for decades, and I am delighted to see the rise in technological solutions which help to make positive change faster and easier to implement. 

 What is your professional background and experience?

I was first exposed to the topic of environmental awareness at work, while in a forest of cork trees, near Porto. I was writing an article about a cork producer for a food publisher. The ancient art of cork production covers many areas of sustainability. A cork tree is planted by the parents with a view to their children harvesting the cork because cork bark takes decades to mature. I learned that the preservation of nature has multidimensional benefits to the environment, society and culture. This topic, in all of its complexity, captivated me -and continues to today. I worked for public organisations on social awareness projects and as a consultant for an Indian tea producer in Darjeeling. In 2015, I was invited to join a global conglomerate to develop its sustainability department from the ground up. Over the last year, while completing my MBA, I worked with a number of organisations and start-ups in defining their sustainability/ESG policies and strategies. 

Why did you decide to come to Rio?

There is a wealth of sustainability information across sectors and industries which remains siloed, because we rarely see cross-sector sharing of knowledge, at the practical level. Consultants have the unique capacity to bridge knowledge. Rio's approach is to build technology which harnesses broad learning in sustainability, making it accessible to all. I admire the aesthetic attention to detail of the technology and its ease of use - these attributes are important because they take into account the person using the technology. I share these approaches and principles with Rio. I would like to support the development of the technology and consulting services for ESG strategy and NbS, hoping to support clients to implement them. 

What subjects are you most passionate about in your work?

Finding ways to make sustainability profitable is up there as one of my favourite topics. I am passionate about dismantling the notion that sustainability is easy on the conscience and heavy on the balance sheet. In reality, it is not so binary. I am passionate about environmental economics. For me, Dasgupta (the writer of The Economics of Biodiversity), is a celebrity. I have also been a long-term follower of the topic of Human Rights, particularly relating to social justice and the fairness of inclusion and diversity. 

Want to hear more about Rio and how our team can support your sustainability journey? Get in touch