08 Feb 2024
by Sara Crofts

Reflections on ITI's SHEA discussion panel

Sara Crofts shares some key take-aways from our expert panel discussion on climate change and sustainability. 

Three years ago, 45 of the UK’s leading professional institutions launched the Professional Bodies Charter for Climate Action, highlighting their commitment to supporting their members in prioritising both the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement in their work. ITI is a signatory to the Charter which requires three commitments from professional bodies:

  1. Chart the path to sustainability for our members, by developing, reporting on, and sharing resources to create Climate Action Plans to reduce our emissions in line with 1.5 °C of warming 
  2. Speak with a unified voice to and with professional bodies, government, and the public by creating an interdisciplinary professional bodies forum
  3. Empower and inspire our members to drive sustainable growth, by providing continuous professional development tools, principles, and resources. 

Our SHEA Network, for translators and interpreters working in the fields of sustainability, horticulture, the environment and agriculture, plays a key role in the third of these activities, providing webinars and other CPD opportunities for ITI members, and signposting them to further sources of advice and inspiration.

As I am personally committed to reducing my personal carbon footprint and to encouraging colleagues to take action, I really value the achievements of the SHEA network and I was keen to create an opportunity for network members to share some of their knowledge and expertise with a wide audience.

So, in January we convened an expert panel of ITI SHEA Network members to discuss the ways in which translators and interpreters are engaging with the issues surrounding climate change and sustainability and how all members can play their part in responding to the climate crisis. The aim of the free webinar was to help participants gain:

  • Knowledge of the key issues surrounding the climate crisis and living sustainably
  • Awareness of what actions individuals and businesses can take
  • A better understanding of the sectors in which translators and interpreters are active;
  • An insight into how translators and interpreters can specialise in these sectors.

The panel was hosted by Yuno Dinnie and featured Marjolein Thickett, Kate Stansfield and Jason Shilcock. The question and answer session was co-ordinated by Rachel Corke.

Over the course of a fascinating hour, we benefited from a range of tips and ideas offered up by the panel members, who each gave a deeply personal and inspiring account of how thinking about sustainability affects not just their professional lives but their personal choices too. Each of the speakers spoke passionately about the pressing need to take action to address the climate crisis and shared what they had learned on their own journey of understanding. Although many of us worry about the future it was useful to be reminded of Mike Berners-Lee’s words of wisdom: “Don’t beat yourself up, but don’t let yourself off the hook either.”

ITI members can watch the recording in full but here are five key takeaways that everyone can learn from:

And it was lovely to end the session with a reference to climate scientist Professor Katharine Hayhoe, who I had the pleasure of working with a few years ago. Katherine’s key message is: “The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it.” By giving the floor to ITI members who are placing sustainability at the centre of their business practice, I hope that we are playing a small part in spreading those positive messages and ideas.

With thanks to all the panellists and also to those who took part in the session.



If you are a translator of interpreter working in the field of  sustainability, horticulture, environment or agriculture and are interested in joining the ITI SHEA network, email [email protected]