Storm Taylor is on the pioneering edge of the changing world of corporate responsibility, as ESG (environment, social, governance) Lead at Vulcan Energy, a company hoping to change the future of lithium mining and production.
As ESG Lead, she is the nexus between the business, its stakeholders, their expectations, and as the title suggests, how those aspects interact with environment, society and governance (ESG).
“My responsibilities are quite varied. I manage Vulcans sustainability strategy, roadmap and targets, and handle reporting. I also assist in upholding our Vulcan values, purpose and mission, and help to operationalise our ESG framework.” Storm said.
Despite technically existing since 2005, the ESG framework is still a relatively new method of managing businesses, and relates to corporate responsibility and its interactions with the wider world. Climate change, for example, is often cited as a reason for the growing need for ESG frameworks within businesses.
“With the world focusing on decarbonisation, climate change and net zero, there’s a real need for companies to have expertise to align to ESG efforts.” Storm says.
“At the moment, there are seismic shifts, increasing reporting and transparency requirements, and what companies can do to mitigate their negative impacts on the environment and people. There is confusion about what is required of them.”
Storm speaks with expert ease of someone who has worked within the space for decades, yet her journey to her role now has been anything but predictable, having started with a painting by Da Vinci.
“I remember seeing this painting by Da Vinci, and in that moment, I decided this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be among art, pursue a purely theory-based art history degree, and eventually become an art curator.” Storm recounted.
“When I finished my arts degree, I added the honours dissertation year, with the thought I would pursue a PhD to become a lecturer, as I had found the world of art curation was more centred around selling works, and finding funding.”
Storm would then be forced to re-assess. Splitting from her partner of ten years, she recognised the value of further study in securing work, and earned a graduate diploma of secondary teaching from UWA.
Juggling two kids, some ad-hoc teaching work and a new part-time job at a corporate advisory company, Storm was being bombarded with a range of life experiences.
After a steep learning curve at the advisory company, Storm began her MBA.
“I felt the MBA would assist me as an ‘umbrella’ masters, something that would be incredibly useful regardless of where I end up or found myself doing. I understood UWA’s MBA program was the best I could complete in Western Australia, so applied.”
Working fulltime in work and as a parent, Storm completed the MBA one unit at a time, and found herself presented with an opportunity at Vulcan Energy, where she had begun working part-way through her studies.
Image: Storm Taylor says her goals and Vulcans aligned, in "playing a part to help the planet's future".
“I assisted with the company’s first carbon neutral certification through Climate Active, and noticed there was a bit of an ad-hoc approach to ESG," Storm says.
"It was a big deal for Vulcan, yet no one person fully responsible for oversight, as we didn’t have the resources until after the certification. I approached the CEO with the suggestion of creating the ESG role, and that was it.”
Storm has been the ESG Lead since December of 2021, and in that time has reflected on the value of her highly diverse experiences and education from UWA.
"I really enjoy the opportunity this role gives me to make a meaningful difference to the world, and that it utilizes so much of the knowledge I have from my studies at UWA."Storm Taylor
"How to research, distil large amounts of information, and facilitate using teaching techniques has been integral." Storm says.
Storm credits much of her success to the support of others, including Anne Nolan, who was matched to her as a business mentor during her MBA.
“UWA was a truly wonderful experience, the networking opportunities, the facilities, the lecturers, the additional support, especially from Anne Nolan, have just been phenomenal.”