The Intersection of Finance and Sustainability

Hi everyone!

My name is Dan Jaeck and I am a fourth year International Business and Finance student studying at Lancaster as part of an expatriate year from the US. I also have completed coursework in International Affairs and Political Science, concentrating in developing nations.

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I grew up in the Midwest of the United States surrounded by farmland. My father worked in agribusiness, so I have been around the food sector my whole life. While growing up, sustainable farming practices were of great importance in my home state of Minnesota. Being around nature and agriculture has really given me an appreciation for sustainability.

I have been able to combine my interest in finance and passion for sustainability by researching the impact ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors have on security pricing. I hope to deepen my understanding of the investment risks and opportunities associated with ESG considerations as investor awareness of and sensitivity to these topics rapidly increase. CEOs cannot ignore investors’ call to action for a more sustainable business model.

With my background in technology and banking, I believe that sustainability needs to be an integral part of any firm’s long-term vision. There is a critical need for action regardless of sector to create a sustainable future. These experiences have affirmed to me why events such as the WBCSD meeting are so important. Sustainability best practices should be shared cross-functionally, because at the end of the day, it is in everyone’s best interest to ensure the best possible world for future generations.

If interested in learning more about ESG factors, AB published a great overview about what responsible investing can look like in practice. Have a look!

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences at the WBCSD Liaison Delegate meeting!

Citations:

Embracing Responsible Investing (2017). AB. [online] Available at: https://www.abglobal.com/corporate/our-firm/resources/pdf/embracing_reponsible_investing.pdf [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

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Looking forward to see you #WBCSD 2017 Liaison Delegate Meeting in Montreux

With more than 7 billion people spread over 195 nations we all share one thing – our beautiful planet earth!

To save our and future generations’ habitat from climate change there is not much time left to make a positive impact before it is too late.

anhang1Educating people, companies and governments can make a huge difference. It is time to start talking, spreading ideas and innovating – the World Business Council of Sustainable Development offers firms a great possibility to do so.

My name is Annika Klesen and I am thrilled to have been chosen to represent the Lancaster University Management School (#LUMS) at the Annual Liaison Delegate Meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (#WBCSD) in Montreux, Switzerland.

As a BBA International Business Management Double Degree student, studying in the UK and Germany I am extremely interested in economics, politics and cultural differences regarding any topic. Being the Social Secretary of the Model United Nations Society (where the work of the UN is simulated at student conferences), I like to interact and debate with people from all cultural backgrounds. Besides that, I love to explore new places or go to the gym with friends.

Growing up in a country (Germany) where every household has about 100 different dustbins for paper, plastic, organic waste and so on I was confronted with a sustainable lifestyle from early childhood. Nevertheless, I have always separated profit from sustainability; it seemed natural for me that companies can only make profit by not respecting that one thing – our planet earth. Being an ambitious, creative and critical-thinking student I did not believe that it is possible for companies to combine both: respecting our planet and creating profit. Coming to Lancaster University nearly two years ago, and choosing the module: ‘OWT.230 Management and the Natural Environment: Ethics and Sustainability’, I have learnt that it is possible for companies to make billions of pounds by including sustainability. Isn’t that great? Saving our planet, in order for future generations to enjoy its’ beauty and making money simultaneously?

I would love to be part of this development and I am looking forward to hear how industry leaders pave the way of sustainable business development at the WBCSD Liaison Delegate Meeting 2017 in Montreux, Switzerland.

As Henry David Thoreau once said:

 ‘As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.’

#Oneteam#OneWBCSDLiaisonDelegateMeeting2017#Oneworld

Introduction: Sustainability from all corners of the World

Hey Everyone!!

I’m Sammi and I’m currently in my second year at Lancaster University studying BBA Management. I’m originally from York and are moving to London in July to begin my industrial placement with IBM where I will be adopting a sales and marketing role. My great desire to work with IBM, is due to their environmental considerations, as they are now listed as the second most eco-friendly company on the planet (Smith, 2012) and have been working to make a greener future for decades. This includes their technology to build ‘smarter cities’ which aligns with one of the WBCSD’s main aims: to improve cities and mobility.

I applied to take part in the WBCSD as I feel they have such a huge scope and influence that they could change the world in incredible ways. I am so excited to be able to be at the heart of this and observe the potential ideas and solutions that are being explored at the present. I personally have a huge passion for travelling and exploring new environments, cultures and ecosystem. Whilst on some of previous trips, I have witnessed the lasting effects that an unsustainable world can have on our world, making me fear for the future; not only on an international scale, but also for the selfish reason that there are so many places I have yet to explore and fear that they may be destroyed or lost before I get the opportunity to do so!

I witnessed the severe aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 when I visited Sri Lanka almost 9 years later and they were still recovering from the damages, whilst being concerned with the deforestation and damages to the coral reefs destroying the beauty of the Dominican Republic and putting many animals in the endangered species categories. These issues could have been slowed, or potentially stopped if there was more priority on protecting our planet and cohesion across the world.

One of the very first experiences that opened my eyes to issues the WBCSD deal with was during a volunteer project in Cape Town. Working in the slum areas of the city was a harsh realisation about the sheer scale of poverty with a lack of amenities such as food, clean water, electricity and jobs. Over this period, I grew a great attachment and love for the country and its people, and when exploring the WBCSD’s four main development areas, I realised that many of these problems could be dealt with, drastically improving the quality of life for so many wonderful people. For example, South Africa is a hugely sparse and sunny country, allowing ample opportunity to collect energy in solar panels and use land for food production providing both jobs and essential nourishment. Therefore realising how important and relevant the WBCSD is to all aspects of life, I am now beyond excited to have the opportunity to work with them.

Smith, P. (2012). Meet The 12 Most Eco-Friendly Companies on the Planet. [Blog] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/paul-smith/meet-the-12-most-ecofrien_b_1664038.html [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].

Forward Together: Harnessing the Power of Shared Perspective

 

Hi All!

I’m Ryan Casey, a third-year Marketing and Finance student in a dual degree program with Lancaster University, and Northeastern University (Boston, USA). I am thrilled to be joining the team for the 2017 World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Liaison Delegate Meeting, and look forward to chronicling our experiences along the way. As we prepare to depart for Montreux, I wanted to take a moment to share a bit about myself, my goals, and my hopes for the journey ahead.

Outside of my coursework, I am an avid runner, political activist, and fascinated enthusiast of individual and organisational psychology. I love building new insights into why we think and act the way we do, both individually and as a collective. Recently, I have embraced the introspective nature of distance running as an opportunity to direct those same curiosities inward. I am currently training for the 2017 Berlin Marathon, in hopes of qualifying for Boston 2018 in the process.  When not running, I am a lover of city life and the variety of spontaneous, perspective-building opportunities it so often affords. While my time as a university student is drawing to a close, I hope to always see myself as a student of life’s next unforeseen adventure.

To me, sustainability represents one of the most fascinating, complex, ongoing social challenges we ever have or will encounter. With 7.5 billion stakeholders (and counting!), we all have a role to play in ensuring future generations can access the same opportunities, spectacles, and resources that we are so lucky to have in our lifetime. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to strive not for “good enough”, but for “better”. Around the world, companies, universities, and individuals are leading incredible work to protect, nurture, and rebuild our natural world. The greatest progress, however, comes not from headlines or groundbreaking discoveries. These represent milestones, underpinned by the conversations, curiosities, and efforts of a far larger group of people. Together, we shape our public policy, support businesses large and small, and guide the global conversation to reflect our priorities. While most of us cannot conduct groundbreaking research or finance mass reforestation projects, we all have the capacity to affect tremendous change as leaders in our communities.

The power of local organisation lies in the exponential nature of shared networks. As illustrated best by the popular “degrees of separation” theory, a message or idea can be shared very rapidly when passed through our interconnected webs of relationships. While even the most passionate advocate cannot convince ALL friends and colleagues to change their behavior, the infectious power of informed enthusiasm to advance a movement cannot be understated. While in Montreux, I am thrilled for the opportunity to take in conversations and shared experiences at the heart of the ongoing journey to a more sustainable future. With our team, I am excited to hear about the latest work around the world on initiatives I am familiar with, and entirely new developments in industries unknown. Together, we stand to broaden our perspective and become more informed participants in our global society as we take in the shared narrative and experiences from inspiring stalwarts of change around the world.

The real benefit of gatherings such as the WBCSD Liaison Delegate Meeting in Montreux, however, lies in what happens after. All of us – students, organisers, and corporate leaders of all backgrounds – will return home, reenergized and inspired by our shared conversations. We will use these stories and lessons to inspire others, generating further energy while spreading awareness far beyond the confines of the Montreux Convention Center. For some, this will be a renewed call to action. For other people, it may be the conversation that prompts a consideration into how their own consumption habits fit in the greater world community. Whatever form the discussion takes, however, its mere existence represents the heightening of global awareness that lies at the heart of the quest for a sustainable future.

While no individual, company, or industry can ever hope to single-handedly fix the challenges of an environment in peril, our power is greatly amplified when we share our experience with others. In Montreux, I look forward to both learning and sharing as we work towards a more viable, responsible future for our ever-growing world community. Thank you for reading along; I look forward to sharing more in weeks to come!

Until next time…

-Ryan

Introduction: Technology and Sustainability

Hi guys!

My name is Ed and I am a fourth-year BBA Management student having just returned from a placement year at Deloitte in London. I am originally from Halifax in Yorkshire so I didn’t move very far to come to University!

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On my placement year, I was working in Technology Consulting with a particular focus on Cyber-Security, it is my interest in both technology and sustainability that has led me to be here. I have always been interested in the idea that we can solve many of society’s problems with technology. Among the modules I study are “Technology and Organisation: Society and Risk” as well as “Ethical Responsibility in Business”. Hopefully, you can see how we can draw the link between these different areas, technology can enable us to act more sustainably and be more ethically focused. Over recent years there have been many technological advances in the area of sustainability including but not limited to: towers that scrub away smog, filters that remove toxins from dirty water and electric vehicles that help reduce carbon emissions. Two of the major areas that the WBCSD are involved in that interest me are Energy and Cities & Mobility, I look forward to learning about the projects that are ongoing or planned.

I am hoping to expand my knowledge of sustainability through the WBCSD event, as I am aware that it is currently slightly lacking. Using my experience and new perspective I want to create a ripple effect by influencing others to act more sustainably!

D-10: WBCSD, passionate students are coming!

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth. In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.”
― Bryan Stevenson

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 NOE… “Sorry how do we pronounce your name”?

Hi everyone!

I’m Noé Cichy (don’t bother if you cannot pronounce my name properly, nobody really can: not even me!) and currently in the third year of the BBA International Business Management.

I inherited this last name from my German father. However, having a Spanish mother but growing up in France and having to speak all three languages, never really enabled me to pronounce this surname perfectly, which actually has Polish roots (don’t ask me why)! Nevertheless, this mixed identity obliged me to adopt an international vision of the world in which we live from the cradle. My internationality was also at the origin of the rise of my interest for business sustainability.

 

Why exactly business sustainability/WBCSD?

During the summer 2013, I had the privilege to work in two different refugee camps in Greece. Hearing the tragic flight stories of young men not older than me increased my personal conviction that the business world had/has a responsibility to pursue social justice and enhanced my wish to be part of this journey. This was the main reason behind my choice to achieve my first mandatory internship in the sustainability department of Migros (Switzerland’s largest retailer). During those 6 months, I defined future procurement policies for metal and plastic products, which enabled Migros to make a step toward its strategic sustainability goals for 2020. This experience further strengthened my will to pursue a career within this realm.

When I heard about the opportunity to go to the liaison delegate meeting of the WBCSD in Montreux, it was very clear for me that I would do everything possible to be part of it. The opportunity to hear first-handed the views of experts from the industry, and witnessing how ideas are put into action in companies such as Santander, Unilever, BCG, etc. will be a life changing experience as well as an amazing opportunity to bring me a step nearer to my career aspiration.

 

What do you expect from the conference?

 The title of the meeting is “’Roadmaps for impact in today’s reality”. The question here is of course: what reality are we talking about? If we consider the four main economic systems on which the WBCSD focuses its work (Energy, Food and land-use, Cities and Mobility, and Redefining Value), it becomes quite clear that we are talking about a reality which is challenging, difficult to handle with. What do I mean exactly by that? Well, consider the dramatic news we are hearing from Eastern Africa the last few days: according to Stephen O’Brien (United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator) over 20 million individuals are facing the threat of starvation due to the enduring drought (Tageschau, 2017). What I am expecting from this 4 days in Montreux is to witness how businesses are solving, and are planning to counter such massive challenges. I hope to see companies engaging with global issues, companies actively developing and implementing solutions to reverse inequality and the threat of climate change.  One burning question I have is: how does the WBCSD convince multinational companies to implement measures, which may lead to a decrease of financial value? How do they deal with freelancers? (Yes, yes, I know… those are two questions and not one! To my defence:  they are quite intertwined, aren’t they? 🙂 )

 

And when does it exactly start?

10 days to go before we fly… I am extremely excited to be part of this trip and to share my experiences with you all!

 

Reference List

Tageschau. (2017, 03 11). “Schwerste humanitäre Krise seit 1945”. Retrieved 03 16, 2017, from tageschau.de: https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/un-aufruf-hungerhilfe-101.html

 

 

 

Intro: How I Transitioned from Finance to Sustainability

Hi everyone!

My name is Kristen and I am an international business student on my expatriate year from the US. Before my trip abroad, my background was purely in international affairs and finance. I spent the last three years of my undergrad in Boston both studying and working in the finance sector. So I’ll tell you a little bit about how I shifted my interest from finance to sustainability.

I grew up in one of the boroughs of New York City, where the natural world has been so severely modified by the Anthropocene that my exposure to it has been relatively limited. Therefore my fascination for the natural world has only developed and grown since my move from NYC to Lancaster. It was a big adjustment moving from the city to the English country side, but after awhile I just adapted to my new surroundings. I started to really appreciate the fresh air and green hills around campus. Back in my home town, there were no green pastures for plenty of miles and especially no sheep around the corner!

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My passion for sustainability in business was amplified after I attended the LUSH summit last month, where the company showcased their partnerships with grassroots organisations. This summit made me realize that it is possible for companies to not only fulfill their financial goals but also take care of natural and social capital. I also developed my interest for sustainability through researching topics such as fishery management, global eating patterns and horticulture.

These topics are my main focus and interest going into the WBCSD event in Switzerland. Apart from food and land use, I am also open to learning way more about the energy sector and how companies are changing the industry for the better.