19 November 2015
Every quarter, we choose a ‘Network Champ’ to recognise the outstanding work being done by an individual within the network, both for their own organisation and the Fit for the Future group as a whole. As winter draws in, we are proud to present our final champion for 2015, Luke Sherlock. Luke is the sustainability Manager for the Devonshire Group, which includes the magnificent Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and Yorkshire’s Bolton Abbey.
What do you enjoy most about your work at Chatsworth?
My role is to facilitate the People, Profit, Planet agenda, ensuring we measure and manage our impacts and contributions beyond traditional financial performance metrics. Working at Chatsworth and the wider Devonshire Group, I am part of a long history of stewardship, where landscapes and properties have often been cared for and managed for centuries. Long term thinking is not something new here, so I feel I am playing a small part in a much bigger story – it can be quite humbling.
How are your involved in making Chatsworth more sustainable?
In 2014 we completed an in depth study to explicitly understand what our sustainability impacts were. Now it’s about using that foundation to set up performance measures and roll out strategies to improve in the areas where we can really make a difference, whether on energy efficiency, renewable energy production, or the waste hierarchy.
Can you tell us about a project that you are particularly proud of?
This year we’ve installed 14 biomass heating systems on our tenant properties, moving many of them off oil. It means our tenants have more affordable heat and warmer homes and their greenhouse gas emissions will have drastically reduced – a project that has been truly about the People, Planet, Profit Triple Bottom Line.
Which other organisations have you worked with through the Network and how has this helped?
We’ve talked to people from many organisations at Network events, and it’s always been helpful, inspiring, and reassuring (especially when hearing of the similar challenges people face!). One great example is the biomass heating project I mentioned above – it was the National Trust who really gave us the confidence to commit to that investment; we saw and heard about what they were already doing, gathered advice, and went for it. We consequently hosted a Fit for the Future Network event on the topic of Renewable Heat at Chatsworth. I presented a case study of the biomass project and passed on lessons learnt to other members.
What would be your future vision for Chatsworth in terms of sustainability?
Chatsworth never stays still. It is a family home, a working farm and a living landscape. Under the leadership of the Duke of Devonshire’s son, Lord Burlington, who looks after sustainability and education matters at Chatsworth, I’m certain we’ll continue to innovate. More specifically, now we have an agreed sustainability strategy in place it will be important to build on our existing communications; perhaps it’s time to shout a little louder about what we are doing on sustainability, whilst having an open conversation about where more is to be done.
Luke is the second network member who has been chosen as a champion. If you’d like to nominate someone who has been particularly helpful during your time as a member, get in touch. You can also read about our first Network Champ, the RNLI’s Howard Richings.