Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe: Speaker Insights From Alicia Olo Martinez

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Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe: Speaker Insights From Alicia Olo Martinez

In an environment of ever-increasing scrutiny, achieving excellence in environment, health and safety (EHS) is a multifaceted challenge. Practitioners must grapple with escalating demands for reporting, navigate intricate regulatory requirements, keep employees healthy, ensure operations are safe and sustainable, and undertake the formidable task of digitizing and streamlining processes. To help the European EHS community respond to these complex requirements, the Verdantix Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe is coming to Amsterdam, Netherlands on the 4th and 5th of June.

Ahead of the event, Verdantix gathered insights from one of the speakers at the summit, Alicia Olo Martinez, to provide a sneak peek at the kind of expertise to expect in Amsterdam. Alicia is Corporate Director Health & Safety at Japan Tobacco International, and she will be participating in a panel on “What Does a Winning Safety Culture Look Like? Achieving Organization-Wide Engagement and Buy-In”.

Who are you, and what are your main responsibilities?
I'm Alicia: a mum, mining engineer, safety professional, rugby player and authenticity advocate. The product of growing up in a multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious family in 1990s Spain. At work, I'm the Head of Health & Safety at Japan Tobacco International (JTI), keeping 40,000+ employees worldwide healthy and safe.

At the Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe, you’ll be speaking about safety culture – can you tell us more about the importance of safety culture?
I believe it is not the safety culture, but a caring company culture that makes a difference. If safety is not fully integrated into everyday business, protecting employees becomes a question of conflicting priorities. For JTI, this was obvious during the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, when our culture proved to be our greatest strength as an organization, and our ‘people come first’ approach allowed us to maintain operations even at the pandemic’s peak, with a minimum impact on our employees, their families and the communities where we operate.

What does best practice look like for improving organizational safety culture?
As safety professionals, we tend to focus on integrating safety into high-risk areas such as manufacturing, contractors' management and on the road. While prioritizing high-risk areas is necessary, true success lies in integrating safety into all areas and functions of an organization. This includes ensuring that health and safety responsibilities are built-in to all job descriptions, creating a specific talent pool and succession plan for safety professionals, providing leadership training, and aligning executive compensation with safety goals. By making safety a part of the organizational culture, we can ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

Is there a role for technology in improving safety culture?
Absolutely. I think embracing technology and digitization is crucial in reducing the risk exposure of employees and contractors, engaging with employees, and moving from reactive to predictive safety management.

Many people are very excited about the possibilities of artificial intelligence; how do you see AI playing a role in health and safety?
I am also excited about the numerous opportunities that AI can bring. It can help simplify health and safety standards and make them easier to understand and follow; it can improve workplace safety by monitoring hazards and controlling equipment; virtual reality can be used for training and to conduct practice drills; and increasingly sophisticated surveillance can assist with areas such as ergonomics and human/equipment interactions.

Many of the topics we’ve discussed here will be explored further at the Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe. What are you most looking forward to at that event?
First and foremost, I look forward to interacting with other health and safety professionals and learning how they have adapted to all the changes (VUCA world) recently. I am also interested in seeing what’s out there regarding new technologies. I think it’s going to be an exciting summit!


Alicia Olo Martinez will be attending the Verdantix Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe, which is taking place in Amsterdam on the 4th and 5th of June. Book your pass before the 25th of February to save €350 on your ticket to join Alicia Olo Martinez, the Verdantix research team, corporates such as AkzoNobel, Amazon, Chevron and Netflix, and leading environment, health and safety vendors. See the full speaker line up and event agenda here.

Book your ticket here. If you are providing or selling services, technologies or products that improve environment, health and/or safety performance and want to attend the event, please fill in the Sustainability & EHS Summit Europe Sponsorship Enquiry form. Alternatively, register your interest in vendor tickets.

For any further questions on this please contact Moses Makin - [email protected]

Moses Makin

Moses joined Verdantix in 2023 as a Conference Producer in the Events team. His role is to shape the strategy, content and commercial direction of Verdantix events. Before joining Verdantix, Moses worked on conferences related to renewable energy and the early adoption of ‘deep-tech’. These events addressed topics such as energy storage, power purchase agreements, privacy-enhancing technologies, AI hardware, the IoT and animal microbiomes. Moses has a BA in Economics and History from the University of Leeds. Whilst studying for that, he completed a summer exchange in Hong Kong and an internship at the Civil Service.