Dr Rebecca Heaton

Director of Environmental Sustainability for Lloyds Banking Group

Dr Rebecca standing in front of a podium at graduation wearing cap and gown

Dr Rebecca Heaton was awarded an Honorary Degree in Winter 2023. Here you can read her degree oration.

The topic of climate change is a subject rarely out of the news. It is regarded by many as the defining crisis of our time and the hard scientific evidence is convincing even those most sceptical. As the world grapples with the measures required to tackle the challenges we face and organisations across the globe, including the University, are considering their carbon impact, experts in sustainability are needed in business and industry like never before. 
Today we are delighted to be awarding an Honorary Degree to one of those experts. Dr Rebecca Heaton. Her knowledge and experience have helped a plethora of large organisations develop their environmental strategies.  
Rebecca is currently Director of Environmental Sustainability for Lloyds Banking Group where she oversees the delivery of the group’s plan to achieve net zero.  
Her journey to Lloyds began with an undergraduate course in Forestry at Bangor University where she obtained a first-class degree in 1993. From there she moved to Cardiff and obtained her Doctorate in Energy Crop Growing and Economics in 2000. After her PhD she did post-doctoral research.  
Rebecca’s first role in industry came in 2002 when she joined leading agricultural and environmental consultancy ADAS as a Senior Renewable Energy Consultant. In 2006 she joined the multinational oil and gas company BP in a strategy role. In 2009 she moved to another giant of the fuel sector, Shell where she held scientific, analyst and strategy posts. 
In 2015 a change in sector beckoned and Rebecca moved to energy company, Drax Group as Head of Sustainability then Head of Climate Change.  
In 2021 she joined another leading power company, OVO Energy where she held the role of Director of Sustainability.  
Always eager to take on a new challenge, Rebecca moved to another completely different sector by joining Lloyds in May 2022.  
Rebecca’s knowledge and ever-growing expertise has been utilised by the UK Committee on Climate Change – an independent advisory group that advises Government on adapting to the impacts of climate change. She was appointed to strengthen the Committee’s expertise on business affairs, and she also represented the interests of Wales. She was a member of committee between 2017 and 2021. 
Since 2020 Rebecca has also been a Non-Executive Director of the Natural Environment Research Council. The Council invests public money in research to help understanding and use of natural resources and respond to natural hazards and environmental change.  
Rebecca is also a member of think tank The Resolution Foundation 2030 Advisory Board. The Foundation aims to improve the living standards of low to middle income families. 
During the Coronavirus crisis Rebecca was a member of the Wales Advisory Group for Covid-19.  
She is a Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs and The Institute of Chartered Foresters. 
Chancellor, it my honour to present to you today, in recognition of her outstanding contribution as a champion of environmental sustainability as practiced by large organisations, Dr Rebecca Heaton, for the degree of Doctor of Science for the University, honoris causa.