Get educated on Sustainability with Kate Stubbs, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Interwaste

Get educated on Sustainability with Kate Stubbs, Director of Business Development and Marketing at Interwaste

Written by Staff Writer

Oct 19, 2021

By Charndré Emma Kippie


Kate Stubbs is currently the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Interwaste Holdings Limited. Kate is driven by a passion to make connections between people, ideas and concepts come alive. She enjoys distilling corporate and marketing strategies into key messages and the challenge of communicating these messages to different audiences. Kate is experienced in terms of working in local and international teams, and thrives in an environment that is diverse and intellectually stimulating. Communication and client engagement have always been a key part of her career, and Kate finds it deeply satisfying to turn “big picture thinking” into messages and conversations that result in action. Her core specialties are marketing, client services, communication, and business development. 


Please provide a brief outline of your background.

I have held various positions in marketing, sales, strategy, and communications over the last 20 years, predominantly working for Supply Chain, Logistics and Waste Management companies serving a broad range of industries. I have been fortunate to work with diverse local and international teams and gained experience in developing and implementing strategies and solutions to grow businesses organically as well as through integrating and leveraging acquisitions. 


Please tell us a bit about Interwaste.

Interwaste prides itself on being the leading integrated waste management company operating in Southern Africa. As an innovative business with a long track record of service delivery and technological excellence in the waste management space, we aim to tailor waste management solutions to suit a company’s specific waste needs and ensure high levels of compliance at all times. 

As a business we are driven by our passion and determination to realise our vision of leading in the sustainable preservation of the environment by consistently innovating and creating circular economy solutions that deliver sustainable economic, environmental, and social benefits. 


What does your role at Interwaste entail?

I love my role as every day is different and I work with teams across the business locally and internationally. My role as Business Development and Marketing Director includes analysing macro and market dynamics, corporate communications, marketing strategy and management, stakeholder engagement, biodiversity projects, sponsorships and supporting our various operations with their business development plans.


What does ‘Sustainability’ mean to you?

Sustainability is about holistic, inclusive thinking and being conscious of my impact on society and all our natural ecosystems. It’s about understanding that we are all connected to one larger ecosystem and being mindful of how our actions impact other organisms and micro-systems . It is not about short-term gains.  Sustainability takes a long-term view to incorporate and balance economic, environmental and social needs.


Why are you passionate about ESG initiatives?

Environmental, social and governance initiatives are being incorporated more proactively into business strategies nowadays. Historically, they weren’t perhaps seen to add as much value to a business and were viewed by some as a public relations tactic. Recent events such as the global COVID-19 pandemic have given rise to the need for companies to be more resilient and adaptable and as such, ESG factors have become a major focus area for boards, management teams and investors.

What I find so exciting about this shift is that companies are starting to realise the benefits of investing in ESG initiatives. They often provide valuable insights on non-financial elements which have a significant impact on financial metrics, hence enabling better decision making. The wide range of information captured also contributes to identifying potential risks as well as future opportunities. Ultimately though, this shift is driving more innovation and mindset shift to create solutions that are inclusive of environmental and social factors which ensure a healthier and more sustainable world for all. 


What important trends have you witnessed in the last year in terms of Sustainability in SA?

South Africa is such a dynamic country with many challenges and opportunities. It is positive to see a greater awareness of and focus on addressing sustainability issues such as zero waste to landfill, circular economy models and renewable energy solutions, over the last year. 

Waste management is governed by various pieces of legislation including our Constitution and the National Environment Management Waste Act. The development, implementation and enforcement of new waste legislation is driving innovation and changes in behaviour and business models, all of which are desperately needed to tackle our growing waste crisis. The National Waste Management Strategy was revised in 2020, Carbon Tax is being implemented across industries and the Extended Producer Responsibility regulation are examples of more recent acts that support a shift to ensuring we meet our Sustainable Development Goals. All these pieces of legislation support the diversion of waste from landfill, a change in operational models to reduce carbon emissions, the re-use, recycling and recovery of waste materials which should lead to the development of new technologies, beneficiation and job creation as well as placing more responsibility from manufacturers to take more responsibility of their products and packaging post consumption and to incorporate the re-use of materials into their process or alternatively, to become a secondary resource for a different process. 


What are some of your favourite milestones that you’ve achieved in your career thus far?

There are many milestones that have brought me great satisfaction such as achieving company goals that at times felt insurmountable; spending many months building solutions for clients and then winning the deal; hosting some really fun and interactive knowledge sharing events to stimulate collaboration and innovation; creating inspiring campaigns with beautiful design to build brands. Of course, none of these milestones were achieved alone – they all involved leveraging the knowledge and insights from many teams who were passionate about their work and committed to achieving excellence. My most rewarding milestones though, are witnessing younger team members, often starting out as interns, develop into exceptional managers, leaders or specialists.  


Do you have any good recommendations for books on Sustainability?

There are so many great books and online resources on Sustainability. My recent favourites include Kate Raworth’s book on Doughnut Economics and the Ellen MacArthur Foundations resources on the Circular Economy.

I am currently studying Biomimicry, which is the practice of learning from nature’s forms, processes and systems to create conditions conducive to life – the ultimate aim of sustainability. Being inspired by and learning from nature is not new…many great inventors and artists such as Da Vinci, Frei Otto or Buckminster Fuller – emulated nature in their work and are considered geniuses. 

I can highly recommend books on biomimicry by Dr Dayna Baumeister or Janine Benyus and if the subject interests you, sign up for the Learn Biomimicry online courses – they were rated by Forbes as one of the top 5 programmes to do during lockdown last year!

In order to be sustainable, we need to learn new skills and capabilities for the future. Another book I can highly recommend is PowerUp8 by Debbie Craig – a South African author. Through the use of  archetypes and storytelling, the book provides valuable tools and processes to follow to develop eight critical capabilities to navigate an unpredictable world.


If you could solve one ESG-related problem in the world, what would it be, and why?

I would like to see a large shift from the traditional, extractive, take-make-dispose business models to more creative, inclusive, environmentally sensitive, socially conscious and sustainable circular or doughnut, business and economic models. The world’s resources are already under pressure. With growing global population rates, we have no choice but to change the way we do things if we are going to ensure a sustainable future for all living species.


Do you have any words of inspiration to get the youth more involved with Sustainability efforts?

Younger generations seem to be much more conscious about and aware of sustainability issues. They are our future leaders, so we need them to help us shift our thinking, workplaces, processes and lifestyles to be more conscious of our impact on the world. Sustainability issues are present in every type of career and there are huge opportunities to create and design new products, services and solutions to preserve and protect our precious eco-systems for many future generations to come.



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