It has been almost two months since the Lancaster delegation attended the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Liaison Delegate meeting. The experience has helped me develop a new personal framework to generate solutions to complex business problems. Not only has this framework given me a more environmentally conscious mindset, but it has challenged me to have a longer-term perspective. Having the chance to see how leading industry professionals think about business issues at the WBCSD absolutely challenged my current perspective regarding how to solve strategic problems.
Many of my peers and former colleagues are now industry professionals, ranging in fields from supply chain to finance. Typically, when you meet with former colleagues or peers, you discuss their current business problems. It is interesting to compare frameworks as to how we think about their current issues and how they plan to resolve them. After attending the WBCSD, I find myself challenging my peer’s and colleagues’ perspectives to be more environmentally conscious and long-term oriented. I think this is perhaps the biggest takeaway from the conference, spreading the passion for and knowledge of environmentally conscious business practices. It is our mission of attendees of the WBCSD to inspire and advocate for these causes to create a sustainable future.
In addition to advocating for environmentally friendly business decisions, I have seen a change in my own actions. Yesterday, I was forced to buy a water bottle as I left my reusable bottle at home. However, there was nowhere to recycle that water bottle that I had recently purchased. I found myself walking around London for 30 minutes with an empty plastic water bottle because I refused to throw it in a trash bin. Although this speaks to my personal change, it also identifies larger problems in the community. In major metropolitan areas, there needs to be convenient access to recycling and other environmentally friendly initiatives.
This everyday problem I encountered is not uncommon among consumers. It is up to cities and businesses to provide consumers common sense solutions to make positive tangible impact on the environment. As a future industry professional, I want to take responsibility in creating these common sense solutions, not only within my business unit but for my entire organization. Although my job description may never primarily focus on sustainability as a financial professional, after attending the WBCSD I will ensure that sustainability is a focus in my career as I believe it is my responsibility as a citizen living on the earth to make a positive difference.