Five Minutes With...Dan Walker

People come first at Bisley, and we understand that our colleagues are what make a company great. In ‘Five Minutes With…’ we share the stories of our Bisley colleagues and allow you to get to know us a little better.

Dan Walker has been Bisley’s Compliance and Sustainability Officer for 3 years. Since starting with us, he has completed an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Economics through distance learning, and is about to embark upon a part-time MBA program at a local university.

What does your role involve?

My core responsibility is ensuring that Bisley meets all mandatory, legislative and market requirements related to product, from an environmental perspective. This ranges from development of carbon, energy, and waste reduction initiatives, working with the business’ design function to ensure that new and existing products are safe and functional, through to both internal and external testing.

I take care of the management of additional testing and certification projects in alignment with global building and construction standards, including selection of compliant materials and volatile organic compounds. I also work on the publication of project supporting documentation, such as Environmental Product Declarations and Health Product Declarations.

This isn’t the first role you’ve had at Bisley - what were you doing before?

Previously, I was working on the shop floor as a manufacturing operative. Then, while studying for an undergraduate degree through the Open University in Business Management and Economics, I came across an internal vacancy for a Compliance and Sustainability Officer on the notice board and applied. I had covered corporate sustainability and social responsibility as a module during my course – I got the job and haven’t looked back!

What do you enjoy about your role and where do you see it developing?

I enjoy being able to advise Bisley on current sustainability trends and working with key stakeholders to develop strategies and initiatives. I thoroughly enjoy mitigating threats related to both the environment and society because it feels truly rewarding and worthwhile.

My role is continually expanding, primarily due to external expectation placed upon the company to do the right thing, and the growth of sustainability as a driver of competition.

How has your role changed throughout the pandemic?

The COVID 19 pandemic forced many businesses into survival mode. With this, sustainability efforts were focused on management of the virus and enforcement of control measures to permit the business to continue to operate. With this, my role expanded to include monitoring activities to ensuring compliance with instruction, in line with company policy and risk assessments and also the government guidelines.

Spread of infectious diseases alongside failure of climate mitigation efforts have been identified as the two most likely and significant threats facing mankind by the World Economic Forum in their 2021 risk index report. This must remain a central focus to our ongoing sustainability efforts.

What do you think the future of the workplace looks like? (This can be from a sustainability perspective)

In my view, the future workplace, certainly from a manufacturing perspective, should be one that is adaptive to future sustainability megatrends. With particular focus on carbon mitigation activities by decreasing energy reliance and increased use of renewable energy, we will then be able to take steps to improve processes and reduce waste to increase resource efficiency.

How has Bisley adapted to becoming a more sustainable manufacturer and what are the plans for the future?

Bisley’s adoption of a continuous improvement approach goes back a long time, further perhaps than more recently emerging sustainability challenges, particularly with energy efficiency. The company has invested extensively in new machinery and is continuously looking for ways to improve accredited internal environmental management systems.

This is central to our green efforts as a manufacturer, including the procurement of more eco-friendly chemicals for use in our processes, as well as rethinking how we manage the inevitable waste associated with manufacturing activity.

A central focus of the company in the medium and long term is the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, in alignment with government guidelines. Of course, we will aim to achieve this at an earlier date if possible.

What did you want to do when you were growing up?

When I was young, I dreamt of being a soldier. I did achieve this, having joined the Royal Engineers as a teenager. Sadly, my military career was cut short following a severe injury I sustained while deployed In Iraq in 2003. I suffered a fracture and dislocation to my spine as well as a skull fracture and a haematoma. Despite these injuries I have no on-going health issues - I feel very fortunate.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have four small children with whom I spend the majority of my time these days. Aside from my family life, I am fairly active and enjoy a variety of physical activities, including weight training and long walks. I have recently got into running and signed up to a 10k charity event. I also trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu up until the COVID pandemic and am keen to resume this soon (despite how much it hurts)!