Activating Sustainability | Ep 44: International Women’s Day

This Activating Sustainability episode hosted by Nita P. Woods, celebrates International Women’s Day on Friday, 8th March, and interviews Anthesians from across the globe: Laura Batlle Bayer, Katrin Bolkart, Jacqueline Raw, and Tatum Hodgkinson, to hear about their sustainability career journeys and female role models they look up to.

nita p. woods

Nita P. Woods

Client Impact Director


laura batlle bayer

Laura Batlle Bayer

Manager, Advisory


katrin bolkart

Katrin Bolkart

Principal Consultant


jaqueline raw

Jacqueline Raw

Carbon Project Developer

South Africa

tatum hodgkinson2

Tatum Hodgkinson



Inside this podcast

  • What experiences led to a sustainability career path at Anthesis?
  • How can Anthesis and other organisations promote greater collaboration and inclusivity across global business?
  • Who are some key female role models driving impact in their respective fields?
  • What are some key takeaways for young women and girls who are pursuing sustainability careers?
activating sustainability
Activating Sustainability | Ep 44: International Women's Day

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The more women that are currently working in those fields that make their voices heard and seen, the more likely it is that younger people are going to realise that this is the job for them.

If you feel recognized, understood and safe at work or within a community, you’re
more likely to bring your full self with
all of your exceptional, singular characters to work,
driving creative thinking such as challenging the status

We each have our role to play. We’re familiar with the saying of climbing the ladder to success. But I think it’s also important we remember that as individuals, we can always turn around and offer your hand to someone who may be lower down on the ladder behind you.

I’ve been fortunate to have very supportive mentors and supervisors, male and female, who believed in my potential and enabled me to work on independent projects and let me carve out my niche within the sustainability domain.

Nita: Hello and welcome to the 44th episode of Activating Sustainability, the Anthesis podcast.

I’m Nita Patel Woods and I’m the client impact director here at Anthesis.

So it’s International Women’s Day and I’m chatting to some of our expert and Anthesians who join me from different parts of our global business.

Today we’re going to be digging into their different roles, how they got to where they got to in their careers and what led them to joining us at Anthesis.

Laura, let’s start with you as an agronomist, which is a job I only heard about recently. Tell us a little bit more about you, what you’re doing at Anthesis and how you came to be an agronomist.

Laura: Well, first of all, thank you for inviting me. I’m service manager in the circular economy in Anthesis, Spain, and I am specifically responsible for these services and solutions related to lifecycle assessment and circularity of products. So actually, in short, we help companies to assess and improve and communicate environmental impacts of their products and portfolios. And regarding my career, well, I started studying environmental science and then I decided to move to do bachelor in agricultural engineering, but always having in mind this perspective of agricultural production, but also preserving our natural resources. And then after my bachelor, I did volunteer internships in several countries. I did my Master at Wageningen University and I worked as a researcher consultant and also as a sustainability manager in a food company here in Spain. And I have joined Anthesis last September.

Nita: In your opinion, Laura, farming and agriculture, is that still really male dominated?

Laura: So actually if we think about farming, it’s actually male dominated. And if we look at numbers, woman are about 32% of the European farmers. So if we look at farmers, yes, it’s male dominated. And here I would like actually to highlight when I was studying agriculture, one of my teachers, that was almost going to retire, and he actually said there when he studied at his bachelor, there were only men. Actually when I was studying there, then he was surprised how many women were studying and we were almost, I think we were half and half or even, sometimes even higher, females.

Nita: And Katrin, I know you started your career doing internships in a really traditionally male environment, which is the automotive industry before you moved into your first job at management consultancy. So I’d love to understand how you went from a university degree in economics and business that then led you to cars and then that led you over to Anthesis.

Katrin: Well, born and raised and educated in southern Germany, finding oneself in the automotive industry is not very uncommon. Yeah, a sector, as you rightly pointed out, still predominantly considered traditional male. While I may not speak for every woman in the field, having heard also diverse experience, this journey has worked out quite well for me. Maybe let’s take a step back for everyone to understand my journey a little bit better and how automotive sustainability and Anthesis come together. Well, the foundation for my personal path was rooted in my personal interest for sustainability. Therefore, already in my master’s studies, I chose a degree in sustainable management. So it was basically business with a course on sustainability, opting for a relatively new course at the time. I believe we were part of the second class to undertake this program. It was during that period that I found my way around climate and circularity topics quite fast and so the foundation for my career path was set. Now, while working in the automotive industry may be perceived as detached from sustainability, for me it was different. Out of my personal interest for sustainability and of course my academic background, Maraus often presented a balanced mix of sustainability initiatives such as circularity concepts and infrastructure for electromobility, basically alongside on the other hand, with non-sustainable aspects like optimising quality processes and supply chain audits. This diverse exposure has been a significant advantage for me, actually allowing me to follow my passion for sustainable topics while also gaining valuable insights into company structures, processes and of course supply chain. Another important aspect throughout my career which has led me to where I am today. I’ve been fortunate to have very supportive mentors and supervisors, male and female, who believed in my potential and enabled me to work on independent projects and let me carve out my niche within the sustainability domain. I even founded the first sustainability team within the consultancy, which was quite the journey. But this has led me to my current role at Anthesis, where I am the first climate consultant in Germany within the German Anthesis team, now focusing full time on climate projects like GHG inventories, reduction targets and roadmaps, and also climate risks. I don’t want to miss any stop along the way, to be honest. It definitely shaped my way of working today. Sometimes we face as climate consultants the prejudice that yeah, we live in our own world, but being part of this, if you want to say traditional industry world in the past, equipped me with the right knowledge and tools to navigate the challenges of sustainability in, I would say a pragmatic and effective manner. So I definitely don’t want to miss the experience and it led me to what I’m doing today in various industries now, not just for the automotive industry.

Nita: Jackie, I have heard that you are our only carbon project developer in our South African team with a PhD. So I’d love to know what role you believe education and mentorship play in helping women to decide what kind of career to pursue in this field.

Jacqueline: Sure. I think that education and mentorship can play crucial roles, particularly in fields that have grown and evolved rapidly over recent years. While education aims to equip us with knowledge and skills, it also provides a lot of awareness and exposure to different fields within the sustainability sector. And as this sector is very broad, it’s natural that career paths are shaped by our personal interests and our values, and these are often developed by interacting with role models and mentors. So my path into sustainability was shaped by several women in research and particularly of note during my PhD and postdoc, after the PhD, I was mentored by a professor at Nelson Mandela University and she was acknowledged repeatedly as professor of the year for her outstanding contributions to marine and coastal science. And so that’s where I developed my expertise and became a national expert on blue carbon, which is the carbon that’s stored within coastal ecosystems. And from there was how I joined Anthesis as a carbon project developer, specifically working on projects that include nature-based solutions for climate change. And I feel because I’ve had role models that I’ve demonstrated, it’s almost possible to do it all and to lead by example. That’s what I strive to do too.

Nita: And then finally to my last guest, Tatum, as well as your role in agri-food and social impact, I know that you were part of the team that set up the Anthesis Women’s Network for our UK colleagues last year. And so I’m really curious to know, how do you think we can promote greater collaboration and inclusivity across a global business like ours?

Tatum: Thank you, Nita. Oh wow, what a big question. With many possible answers, I’d say all I can speak about really is my take on it and how I’ve come to use my professional experience to help build the Anthesis Woman Network. And I think it all comes from me being very passionate about grassroots movements. From a food systems perspective, I truly believe that the principles held by grassroots movements can be applicable to employee resource groups such as the Anthesis Women Network. I think for me, and answering the question around how can we promote greater collaboration and inclusivity? There are two main things that come to the fore. The first one is that ultimately a grassroots movement, but also employee resource group, can foster a sense of belonging within a sector or an organisation. Given example, employee resource groups have the ability to amplify a sense of belonging for employees who share common interests, backgrounds, identities, but also challenges. Looking at grassroots movements within food systems, for instance, they really try to do the same thing within a sector. The second point I wanted to put forward is really linked to the first one, that by connecting people across an organisation or a sector, ERGs, So employee resource groups such as the Anthesis Women Network can break down silos, amplify impact and strengthen purpose within an organisation. Same thing when you’re looking at grassroots movements, the same thing does happen. For instance, small NGOs or local communities coming together to go against global challenges around food sovereignty, food security, strengthening community bonds and, yeah, building economic stability within communities. And I think finally there’s this bit around amplifying diversity in narratives within an area of work. I see place like the Anthesis Women Network as a platform for underrepresented groups to voice their singular experiences, perspectives, concerns and ideas. They act as a safe space where employees can feel heard and valued, which in turn supports those people to actively participate in the wider organisation’s success. I think if you feel recognised, understood and safe at work or within a community, you’re more likely to bring your full self with all of your exceptional, singular characters to work, driving creative thinking such as challenging the status quo or thinking differently about a particular topic, a particular challenge, a particular opportunity, and then being proactive and collaborate with others. And finally, I think grassroots movements and employee resource groups such as the Anthesis Woman Network are really key places to build policy advocacy within a sector or an organisation. Again, where people can actively engage in thinking about new ways of building legislation and support all people within an organisation or sector.

Nita: Thank you. Tatum. I think you raise some really interesting points, which leads me on to my next question, because I’ve been reflecting on how all of my colleagues, men and women, the senior or junior, like the roles that we all play in creating that equality and creating those safe spaces. So, Laura, are there any people who you see as doing great work in ensuring that women’s voices are heard and valued either inside Anthesis or in the wider sustainability networks that you play in?

Laura: Well, what comes to my mind, I was involved some years ago with a group of women here in Barcelona working on food sustainability, and we started a project on how to visibilise women working in food systems and specifically in sustainability. And we did a photographic project about women working on food and giving examples on how important is the role of women within the food system.

Nita: That’s great. I think bringing people together in cohorts where they can talk about things really taps into what Tatum was talking around like bringing those people together. And, Jackie, I know that you, too, have some opinions around this, particularly in your field.

Jacqueline: Yeah. So I think that we each have our role to play. We’re familiar with the saying of climbing the ladder to success. But I think it’s also important we remember that as individuals, we can always turn around and offer your hand to someone who may be lower down on the ladder behind you. So, striving to include people and hear their voices and their values, it can be a personal, active choice, and it can empower you to lead by example and therefore create the kind of altruistic communities and workplaces that Tatum spoke about. And these are the kinds of places that are more likely to foster the solutions that we need in an ever-changing world that’s full of challenges.

Nita: That’s beautiful. Thank you. And actually, that probably leads me on to the question around, as you work in such different fields of sustainability, like, we’ve got people here from the agriculture background right through to carbon, I’d be quite keen to understand if there’s a particular woman in your field who’s leading on their impact or driving positive change in their area.

So, Tatum, I know you had a name that you’d like to talk about.

Tatum: Yeah. One of my true heroes, I would say, within food sovereignty or the food sovereignty sector, and feminism is actually a woman called Vandana Shiva that I actually got to meet in person at the COP in Paris in 2015. So even such a big fan and actually meeting one of your heroes in person is just amazing. But Vandana Shiva is actually very known in the French sustainable food systems environment, but I think a bit less known in the UK. But I think she truly is one of those amazing women that has no fear of fighting for what they believe is the right thing and has no fear in standing up. Going to the COP, for instance, and talking about the things that she believes are right. She’s so smart. She’s an Indian scholar, environmental activist. She’s also a food sovereignty advocate, an ecofeminist, and she’s also co-built and supporting hundreds of grassroots movements, again, globally. To summarise her, I think her activism and her scholarship have really left a lasting impact on environmental movements. Global legislation, I would say, too. So she’s been influential within UN frameworks, for instance, when it comes to food systems and social justice worldwide. So I would say, yeah, go ahead, go read about her. Listen to some of her speeches, conferences, read her 20 books, because she’s someone that really is worth looking at.

Nita: Is so beautiful and what our listeners can’t see is that I’ve got Tatum on camera, and if Vandana is listening, you inspire such joy in the way that Tatum speaks about you. There’s a real sparkle in her eyes. So thank you for sharing her name, and I really appreciate you sharing someone of color, which is so few in the sustainability world.

Jackie, I know that actually your PhD was in marine science, but there was someone that really inspired you when you were studying.

Jacqueline: I distinctly remember as an undergraduate watching Dr. Sylvia Earle’s iconic TED talk on no blue, no green. And this was her launch of Mission Blue, which was to create hubspots around the world that aim to protect and conserve marine life. And the overall mission is, without healthy oceans, we can’t have a healthy planet because the earth is 70% water. So, for me, Dr. Sylvia Earle was my inspiration when I started going into marine sciences. If I have to speak about someone today who is leading and driving positive change within the carbon field, I would have to say it’s Marion Verles. And she’s currently the co-founder and CEO of SustainCERT. And this is a company whose mission is to develop digital solutions and technology at scale, and specifically to bring credibility to climate action through driving environmental markets, corporate sustainability and sustainable finance. Before that, she was CEO at the Gold Standard Foundation, and they’re an impact standard, which aims to bring high level credibility to climate and sustainable development projects. So I think she presents an example of one of the highest achievers within the carbon field as a woman.

Katrin: I wanted to mention Kate Marvel, who is a climate scientist, which at first might sound boring, but she’s recognised for her significant contributions to climate science and her efforts to communicate those complex scientific concepts to the public. It’s just great what she’s doing in that field of communication and really making the science accessible for everyone. She uses so many platforms: TED talks, X, Facebook, Instagram, you can follow her on every channel. It’s so amazing to see the science behind communicated in a way. We can actually deal with it and use it for accessing climate change and especially the human part, the human activities of it. I just think it’s great.

And speaking is not for everyone, but she does such an amazing job communicating and speaking up, looking for platforms to share her knowledge, which is just amazing for me to see and definitely a role model to look up to.

Nita: That’s gorgeous. Thank you so much. And so then, ladies, let’s try and wrap this up. So, with our high profile female activists like Greta Thunberg, Fatima Ibrahim, and Christiana Figueres, joining the ranks of the women that you have already talked about, do you have one piece of advice to young women and girls who might be thinking about how they can make a difference in this field or join sustainability in their careers?

Jacqueline: I can go first, but mine is short and sweet and that is just to back yourself, embrace yourself and your voice and your unique perspective that you can bring to the world.

Laura: And this also from my side, also short. But I think it’s important to always remember that you will always make a difference and do not worry about the result and just care what you do and you will always have an impact.

Tatum: My piece of advice really matches Jackie’s, and actually Laura’s is really just believing in yourself because you’re smarter and more amazing than you think you may be sometimes, which is something that I took years to try and build within my own for myself.

And I think that goes with surrounding yourself with amazing and inspiring women. Get yourself some allies, get yourself people around you that think the same way or not, but actually can get those challenging conversations in a safe space.

Katrin: Adding to this, when I was younger, I often felt envious of those who seemed to know exactly what they wanted from the start. I had just too many interests. I was interested in sustainability, culture, languages, basically everything. So I ended up studying international business in my bachelor’s. But this is something you have to just trust the process. Stay true to yourself, to your female self, especially connect with like-minded individuals, and just embrace everything around it. And also just be aware that a change in every direction is always possible, not determined with what you study, what your first job is, you can end up where you want to end up. I think it’s a testament to your own career path.

Nita: Okay, ladies, thank you so much for your time and your candor and sharing your stories. If I had to sum up our conversation, there were four really key things that I pulled out of the chat today, which is one, to challenge the norms. I had assumed that farming and cars were really male dominated industries even in 2024. But it sounds like women are really increasing their presence in those fields and very specifically to solve the sustainability challenges that exist in those fields. The second thing I heard was, if you can see it, you can believe it. So the more women that are currently working in those fields that make their voices heard and seen, the more likely it is that younger people are going to realise that this is the job for them. And in the same vein, it’s about amplifying diverse voices. So it sounds like it’s a really active choice to empower and that’s something that everyone can do. So it’s all of our roles to play in supporting those people that need to have their voices heard, to have a platform, which is where things like connecting people is so critical to challenging that status quo and driving the change that actually has a real impact. So with that, thank you Tatum, Jackie, Laura, and Katrin for your time and candor today. If you are listening to this podcast, please visit our Impact page on our website where you can find more information about how we encourage diversity here at anthesis and the latest careers and job opportunities that we have there. Thank you all for listening. We will be back with another episode soon.