VRS Solutions Group’s Kathryn Cooper is passionate about protecting people and the planet
Environmental protection, equality, social impact and ethics are at the forefront of everything we do these days.
Children are developing environmental consciences in school in the hope that the next generation will take better care of our planet.
This new sense of environmental awareness – from turning off the tap while brushing our teeth to recycling food packaging – is also filtering back to the previous generation, as children become their parents’ teachers in sustainability.
Outside of the home and in the workplace, more and more jobs are being created to manage sustainability and societal impact in businesses across the globe.
Close to home, Kathryn Cooper has recently been appointed as the newly-created Head of Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) at VRS Solutions Group.
Based in Nottinghamshire, Kathryn is responsible for unlocking ESG opportunities in the areas of people, planet and profit for Hardstaff Barriers, Asset VRS, Hill and Smith Barriers and Varley and Gulliver, four of the UK’s leading vehicle restraint system manufacturers.
In 2021, the four companies, which are all existing UK Hill and Smith Ltd Vehicle Restraint System (VRS) subsidiaries, consolidated under the VRS Solutions Group umbrella, connecting all temporary and permanent road barrier products and services.
As a result, the level of service provided to customers has been strengthened, while a consistent and collaborative approach to CSR and sustainability has been created throughout the Midlands-based firms.
Kathryn, formerly the Service Manager at Hardstaff Barriers, has worked in the construction, highways and security sectors for the last 16 years.
She said: “I’m really excited about my new role. In an era of climate change, widening inequality and increasing stakeholder pressure, ESG remains an often underutilised yet critical resource.
“I am relishing the challenge of ensuring that VRS Solutions Group’s commitment to ESG is consistent and that we continue to move forward with our approach.”
In recent years, Kathryn has been instrumental in projects that benefit the environment and local communities.
Sustainability projects include taking innovative steps to recycle all old or damaged PPE and planting hundreds of new trees at several locations across the UK.
Social Value projects include a company-wide challenge to walk the distance from Nottingham to Ukraine, which raised thousands of pounds for the Humanitarian Appeal and donating more than 300 Easter Eggs collected by staff to vulnerable children in the Midlands.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, safety barriers were provided free of charge to a school in East Leake to aid social distancing and a donation was made to The Long Eaton School to pay for an online maths learning platform for children being home-schooled.
Kathryn added: “Long gone are the days when companies can simply focus their efforts on selling a product or service. They have a corporate responsibility, not to mention a moral one, to protect people and the planet.
“Furthermore, primary stakeholders in an organisation, hold copious amounts of potential that often get superseded by other business priorities.
“Engaging with people successfully acts as a catalyst to increasing efficiency and effectiveness of other focus areas.
“Really listening to the customer and viewing the products and service offering from their perspective is key to remaining market leaders. People value solutions, not things. People appreciate what it does for them, not you.”
“Long gone are the days when companies can simply focus their efforts on selling a product or service. They have a corporate responsibility, not to mention a moral one, to protect people and the planet.”Kathryn Cooper, Head of Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) at VRS Solutions Group.