Sustainability should top the Midlands agenda, business leaders told

Businesses need to take their thinking on sustainability to the next level, a director of a leading engineering firm has urged.

The conversation around the issue must be much more wide-ranging, said James Sopwith, strategic account director of major Midlands multi-disciplinary engineers, adi Group.

Addressing a 30-strong group of senior business leaders from across the region at a Made in the Midlands event hosted at the company’s base in Kings Norton, Birmingham, he set out a compelling case for adi’s broader vision.

“We absolutely must take care of our climate and environmental responsibilities and ensure the financial stability of our businesses but, there, the sustainability conversation tends to stop,” said James.

“However, we think there’s significant value, for everyone, in taking that conversation much further to introduce a range of interlinking, related ideas.

“We should look at the long-term viability of the many bonds that hold us all together. As people, as communities, as a society and as an economy.”

James said businesses need to recognise their mutual dependency, not just with their clients and suppliers but with everyone they interact with.

“Our communities rely on us for job and wealth creation, for skills development and, to some extent, for identity,” he said.

“But, as businesses, we depend heavily on the communities, people and organisations around us for their skills and their energy, for resources, for infrastructure and for countless things more.

“We all have big responsibilities but that brings us big opportunities, if we engage with culture and people with real intent.

“We’re talking about inspiration as an aspiration. Inspiring our communities, our teams and the next generation of engineers we so badly need in this country. And, ultimately, inspiring ourselves to achieve more and to achieve it together.”

That broader interpretation of sustainability informs adi Group’s strategic growth and skills objectives for the years ahead.

Established in 1990, adi CEO Alan Lusty long-recognised that such a view would be integral to the firm’s growth.

He saw that the traditional niche delivery model in UK engineering was unsustainable, having witnessed countless projects suffer unnecessary frictions and inefficiencies when passed between specialist firms.

Lack of continuity, co-ordination and subsequent loss of project knowledge were some of the frustrations raised by clients, with Alan seeking to create a much more sustainable one-stop shop for manufacturers.

Today, the adi Group is a thriving, multi-disciplined, national engineering firm, with over 30 specialist, interlinking sectors.

One of its guiding principles is its investment in training and skills – adi was the first business in the country to launch a unique pre-apprentice scheme, giving 14 to 16-year-olds hands-on experience in a real-life working environment.

Thinking more broadly about sustainability has paid dividends in other ways too. Consistent double-digit year-on-year growth means the adi Group now has a team of over 660 highly-skilled employees working from 12 facilities across the UK and the Republic of Ireland delivering robust engineering solutions to clients in almost every sector.

For more information on the adi Group, visit

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