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Ketan Dattani of Buckingham Futures: “Channel environmental concerns into action”

Channel environmental concerns into action. Thanks to the youth climate movement and social media, the younger generation are more in harmony with the environment than ever before. Parents can help their children channel environmentally-related uncertainties into action by educating others about climate change, campaigning for preferred political candidates and protesting peacefully As part of my series […]

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Channel environmental concerns into action. Thanks to the youth climate movement and social media, the younger generation are more in harmony with the environment than ever before.

Parents can help their children channel environmentally-related uncertainties into action by educating others about climate change, campaigning for preferred political candidates and protesting peacefully


As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ketan Dattani.

Ketan Dattani is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur. He holds 23 years of recruitment experience and has a high profile within the sector. He is widely documented as an expert on Employment Law, Employee rights and for providing Careers Advice.

He is the Founding Owner and CEO of Buckingham Futures, a specialist award-winning Environmental Health Recruitment Business that provides bespoke permanent and temporary recruitment and consultancy solutions to public and private sector employers.

Ketan’s corporate policies and actions are designed to reduce carbon footprint, give back to the community and encourage the protection of the environment.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me!

As with many people in the Environmental field, my career path has stemmed from my deeply rooted love for nature and unbridled interest in understanding natural ecosystems.

As far back as I can remember, I loved animals, plants, and trees — really anything that was outdoors and wild. Simply put, I was fascinated by the natural world.

My interest was magnified when I spent a summer holiday in the Midlands with my grandparents. Even though I was only four years old I remember so vividly the fresh air, birds singing, woodlands, ponds, and open green spaces.

It seemed a world away from my Southeast London Council Estate environs of passed-out vagrants, smashed street lights, racist graffiti, broken bottles, burnt-out cars, and boarded up windows.

Having failed miserably in the school system it was my avid interest in Environmental issues that led me back to the academic arena and to my choices of undertaking an undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology and a post-graduate degree in Environmental Planning and Management.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Our mission is to deliver Environmental Health opportunities, to the right people, at the right time, through friendly, proficient, and trustworthy specialists.

Right now, our most important focus is on helping our clients form new divisions to enforce The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) (England) Regulations 2020 relating to the closure of pubs, clubs, restaurants and other relevant premises and for COVID-19 contact tracing and interviewing roles.

This will help reduce the likelihood of future pandemics as Environmental Health Professionals play a vital role in keeping the public safe by enforcing business closures and social distancing in workplaces as well as contact tracing and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

Deep commitment to achieving environmental sustainability runs through Buckingham Futures.

Working within the Environmental Services sector, our candidates, clients and colleagues alike need to encourage sustainability.

We promote and adhere to the principles of the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Sustainability is a key consideration for Buckingham futures to ensure that we are environmentally conscious in all of our practices to attempt in saving both time and money.

Below is a list of the KPI’s tracked at Buckingham Futures when considering the environment.

□ Carbon/Water Footprint

□ Supply Chain Miles

□ Energy Consumption

□ Saving Levels due to conservation and improvement

□ Supplier Environmental Sustainability Index

□ Product & Waste Reduction/Recycling Rate

We have found these KPI’s very instrumental. For example, measuring Supply Chain Miles is a powerful indicator of how far products are travelling before reaching us.

This KPI is then used to make decisions on our choice of suppliers, not just to reduce carbon footprint along but costs too. Also, measuring the Energy Consumption rate provides us with an understanding of the amount of energy being consumed by the business, this can then be tracked against previous months and the best months to establish the company’s performance in energy efficiency.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

I find it shocking that this is still a discussion. I see nothing but economic opportunity concerning sustainability.

A great sustainability strategy does not end with a consideration of costs but thinks about the totality of the business within its place in the economy and its place in the world. It will help businesses become more efficient, improve their brand value and reputation, provide a platform for innovation, help attract and retain staff, achieve better growth, cut costs and strengthen stakeholder relations.

Instituting more sustainable business practices can mean real cost savings, from lower energy costs to tax incentives, but businesses can also gain loyal clients and end-users looking to do business with like-minded organizations.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

To me, the climate strikes proved that a significant proportion of young people comprehend the importance of becoming involved in sustainability and the environmental movement.

I feel that both parents and the younger generation could mutually learn these 5 things from each other:

1. Listen. The younger have fresh environmental perceptions and new viewpoints.

Parents can learn a lot if they listen to their concepts and what they think needs to be done — and to their questions, fears, and hopes. Parents don’t listen to youth nearly enough.

2. Lead by example. It is simpler to establish a habit in young children than to teach them a new habit as they get older. Teach them about recycling and which items go into which bin. Teach them about littering, keeping lights off, and turning off the water when they brush their teeth.

For us parents, paying attention to our role as a consumer and how that affects the environment wasn’t something we were taught to think about. However, as parents today we can change that for our children. This means focusing on recycled items, buying sustainably sourced food, finding energy-efficient appliances, and using biodegradable cleaning products. Children, in turn, will emulate these purchasing decisions as adults.

3. Play outside whenever possible. It is difficult to develop a love for the environment unless it’s understood what is at stake. If our children develop a love for nature, they’ll be more likely to fight for it.

The outdoors provides the perfect laboratory for young people to conduct independent, interest-led inquiries into the workings of the natural world.

Parents have a responsibility to encourage a childhood that is overflowing with simple childhood pleasures like exploring the woods, turning over rocks to discover insects, using fallen trees as balance beams and so much more.

4. Channel environmental concerns into action. Thanks to the youth climate movement and social media, the younger generation are more in harmony with the environment than ever before.

Parents can help their children channel environmentally-related uncertainties into action by educating others about climate change, campaigning for preferred political candidates and protesting peacefully

5. Vote and include your older child in the process. Raising a generation of politically engaged youth is vital for ensuring our future leaders take bold action on environmental issues.

Parents can show their child that one of the biggest ways we can improve the health of our planet is by voting.

Young people can get involved in the campaigns of candidates with environmental manifestos, attend community forums and watch televised debates.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

This is tough! Buckingham Futures was my first business venture, and I stepped into starting and running a business with zero experience. It was a trial-and-error process, through-and-through.

The 5 things I wish someone told me before I started are:

1 . You don’t have to know all the answers. In my early days as a ‘solopreneur’, there was nothing less stimulating than trying to brainstorm alone with a blank sheet of paper. I continually asked myself, what are the implications of what I’m doing and what am I learning

2 . Don’t aim only to be liked. Back when I started, I found myself constantly trying to adapt to receive validation. It was draining and counter-productive since very few people knew me — the real Ketan — which is a prerequisite to liking me.

I’ve learnt that the higher you rise, the more attention you’ll receive, both positive and negative and that a willingness to be disliked certainly helps you deal with the added scrutiny.

I have also learnt that the most imperative quality clients look for its authenticity. It is not easy, as being authentic is as much about revealing your flaws as playing to your strengths. It is often tempting to put up a front of total competence rather than risk looking vulnerable. However, authenticity is a key ingredient in running a successful business and leading a great team.

As the business has grown, I remember to always remain authentic and to never lose that openness and willingness to connect with people.

3. There is no one size fits all approach. It takes time to understand what motivates different employees. For some, it’s simply the idea of helping the company succeed that makes people work harder. Ultimately everyone likes to be recognised for their accomplishments in different ways. Recognising how your employees work, and knowing that this takes individual attention, is important to being a successful leader.

4. Have a Mentor. It took me 2 years to realise how valuable a mentor is to help guide you through your entrepreneurial journey, from not making hasty business decisions to fostering valuable partnerships.

I have had 4 mentors since 2015 and have learned a large number of valuable lessons from every one of them.

5. Pay it forward. It’s important to remain humble; I truly believe that the more you give the more you receive, and I’ve built my business around that mantra.

I volunteer with numerous schools, colleges and universities providing careers guidance, CV & interview technique workshops, and I conduct mock interviews with those looking to embark on a career within the Environmental sector and I actively engage my employees to take part.

I offer work experience programs and opportunities within my business for students, young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and adults with learning difficulties to help achieve their potential by giving them an insight into the world of work.

I also volunteer and sponsor social events at a local integrated nightclub for people with learning disabilities & their carers.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I credit my mother for some of the most valuable life advice over the years. I would not be the person I am today without her unconditional love.

Throughout the years, I have witnessed her endure many hardships and overcome many life-changing obstacles.

She has always been there through all of the ups and downs of my life. During my tempestuous times, she was the only person that believed in me!

She has instilled in me a hard work ethic, and a moral compass always pointing in the direction of compassion.

She is one of my best friends and confidante, I still rely on her judgement and approval to keep me grounded and maintain my self-esteem.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would be delighted to inspire and support any movement that would aim to mobilize everyone to join the global effort to save mother earth and to make our planet a better place for us and generations to come.

Everyone can do their bit by conserving water, driving less and walking more, consuming less energy, buying recycled products, eating locally grown vegetables, creating less waste and planting more trees.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

“A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.”

Don’t join an “easy” crowd. You won’t grow. Comfort can lead to self-absorption, boredom, and discontent. Many people are so comfortable they’re miserable.

Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a new situation won’t be easy, but it’s worth it. It’s exhausting but rewarding.

You can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself — become uncomfortable — and grow. Always choose the latter.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

I am active on Instagram and LinkedIn. They can connect with me via https://www.instagram.com/ketanova/ and https://www.linkedin.com/in/recruitmentandconsultancy/

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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