#MySustainabilityStory: Malcolm Leach

Find out how members of the isla team 'live' sustainability away from their 9 to 5.

Here at isla we think it’s important to practise what we preach, so in this series we take a deeper dive into what sustainability really looks like on the ground for members of the isla team. This week we hear from our CTO, Malcolm Leach.


Sustainability loves

Food: A recent surprise – plant-based cheddar.

Drink: Fizzy water from our SodaStream (probably should just drink neat tap-o-lene but like fizz too much!).

Product/Service: Who Gives a Crap loo rolls / London e-scooters.

Resource: Facebook marketplace most of our furniture has come from there!

Location: Not specifically sustainable but the Lake District, happy childhood memories and a beautiful place

Quote: “If not me, who? If not now, when?” – not really sure who said it originally 

How do you ‘do’ sustainability in your own life?

I’m always fixing things as I love finding the small, inexpensive thing that stops a bigger thing working. I think Bagpuss and The Wombles had a big influence in my childhood and, in another life, I’d probably be one of the mice in the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Organ. I’ve built an eco-house, been on a green tariff for electricity since they started and most of my pension is invested in a sustainable fund which, encouragingly, is actually the best performing of them all!

I also like walking or taking the bus where I can the whole family is going to Scotland for a holiday this summer and three of us are doing it on the coach. Fourteen hours so I’ll get some serious podcast bingeing in 🙂

Are they any local sustainability initiatives that you’re excited about/have engaged with? 

I’m part of the Alton Climate Action Network and do energy surveys for local homeowners and businesses and also volunteer at the Repair Cafe great for getting to know people locally and doing more to help out.

How do you connect to the natural environment?

I’m a leader at the local Scout Explorer group and we’re on the South Downs so we get out a fair bit. We’ve also got a decent size garden and let half of it grow wild to help the insects and flowers. My partner is really great at feeding the birds in the winter so we’ve always got plenty of fauna going on as it’s not just the birds that like the seeds 🙂

What one event that you attended really impressed you in terms of sustainability credentials and why?

I haven’t been to that many events recently but isla’s flagship transform event was really great e-badges, vegan food, sustainable wine and no swag!

What was your biggest aha moment when it came to climate change/the environment? 

I was somewhat in denial about a decade ago but reading more and more of the science convinced me that humans were the real source of the increase in CO2. The most memorable thing I saw was an infographic showing the intensity and size of the various weather events across the world over the last 50 years and it was so clear how much was changing. Before that I mostly thought ‘we’ve always had extreme weather’ which is true, but not at the relentless frequency that we do now.

Tell us something unusual about your sustainability journey

I’m not sure there is anything unusual, I think I’ve always had a sustainable mindset from my childhood growing up with parents who were mend and make do and taught me to do the same.

What’s on your sustainability to-do list?

Getting an electric car to replace our ageing i10.

Read more:

My Sustainability Story: Susanna Zema

My Sustainability Story: Alex Schlacher

My Sustainability Story: Emily Shephard

My Sustainability Story: Megan Harris

My Sustainability Story: Kat Bednarczyk

My Sustainability Story: Rebecca Lardeur   


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