Meet The Team: Olivia Knight-Adams

Today we introduce Olivia Knight-Adams, Head of Sustainability Strategy at Morelli Consulting. With more than two decades of experience across various industries, Olivia has cultivated a wealth of knowledge and expertise in sustainability which she capitalises to support Morelli’s clients. 


How did you come to join Morelli?


“As the Head of Sustainability Strategy, I was brought on board to help clients understand and embed the strategic side of sustainability. I was drawn to Morelli Consulting because of its boutique size, and diverse clientele, offering opportunities for positive change at scale. 


Working for a people-centred, values-led consultancy was also really important for me, so Morelli really appealed with its recent B Corp certification, and professional yet personal approach.“


Can you share more about your experience in sustainability?


“After my early career in conservation and marine biology, I completed a master’s degree in Leadership for Sustainability Development offered by the charity Forum For the Future. It was the best formal educational experience of my life, offering real-world sustainability consultancy placements across five different sectors within host organisations such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Guardian Newspaper, Tui Travel and the Food Ethics Council. 


Post-graduation, I joined the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ sustainability team, focusing on sustainable infrastructure development before the Games. This role emphasised the critical importance of incorporating sustainability from the outset, embedding it within and across an organisation or project. A principle that continues to guide my work today.


After completing my work for the Olympics, I moved to a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) funded behaviour change role, working with 20 universities across England to promote sustainable practices among staff and students. 


I then rejoined the Olympic sphere, but in a new capacity with the sustainability team at Coca-Cola, a major sponsor of the Games. My task was to embed sustainability into various aspects of Coca-Cola’s sponsorship operations, including merchandising, events, and hospitality using the then new ISO20121 Sustainable Events Standard as a framework. 


Whilst working for Coca-Cola was an amazing learning experience, offering the real chance to instigate change at scale, with the start of a new family, I moved to a role closer to home in Brighton. I pivoted to a role that offered more immediate, tangible impacts with the small but mighty Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, a local charity that uses food as a vehicle for positive change. I oversaw a variety of projects aimed at supporting individuals dealing with substance abuse or diseases like dementia, using community growing and nature connection as tools for positive behaviour change.


In 2018 I started working as a freelance sustainability consultant for YO Sushi in the UK, and subsequently for their global business Snowfox. Working back in the marine environment, helping big businesses to improve sourcing standards and embed sustainability was a fantastic opportunity and I was thrilled to lead Yo Sushi to winning Most Sustainable Seafood Restaurant Chain in the UK in 2019, as voted for by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.   


And finally, before joining Morelli, I worked again as a freelance consultant advising a Scandinavian hotel group in crafting their sustainability strategy across 20 properties.” 


What does sustainability consulting mean to you?


“It’s about helping organisations do what they do in a way that is better for people and the planet – it’s also about identifying opportunities, inspiring change, innovation and future proofing-businesses. 

Being a sustainability consultant means I have the opportunity to apply my knowledge and ideas across various organisations, providing a fresh perspective often obscured for those deeply embedded in day-to-day operations. My role enables me to take a step back, assess the broader landscape, and identify avenues for improvement. This vantage point allows me to holistically approach sustainability challenges.

If I was to give anyone getting into sustainability some advice it would be to follow your passions and interests. Sustainability can seem so huge and sometimes overwhelming, but if you follow what you love, you’ll be so much better at your job and inspiring change.” 


How do you incorporate sustainability into your personal life?


“I’m by no means perfect, but I do try to do my bit and show my kids especially that collectively we can all make a difference. We’ve recently moved into a new home in the countryside and following on from a course I attended at the Centre of Alternative Technology, I’m in the very early stages of retrofitting it, trying to make it as sustainable as possible.I’ve also started growing my own herbs and flowers, and if I ever find the time I’d like to grow a lot more!   


This summer I’m going to northern Spain with my kids by sleeper train versus plane, which I’m sure will be a great adventure. 


Earlier today I gave a talk to 30 seven year olds at my daughter’s school about what it’s like working to try and look after our planet. Hopefully, I will have inspired at least a few of them to become the change makers of tomorrow, whether they become a sustainability specialist, architect, footballer, doctor, teacher or anything in between. After all, as I keep on telling our clients, every job is a sustainability job!” 


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