Introduction: Off to Montreux!

Hello, hello, hello!

My name is Stanley Li, and I am a student, a history lover, and the elusive 10th member of the Lancaster University group that is attending the 2017 World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Montreux. I am a second year student working towards obtaining a degree in Management and Information Technology.

Kicking things off, I just want to say how truly honored I am to be able to participate in this esteemed event. I want to take this time to thank all the sponsors who made this trip possible, The Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business for facilitating this trip, and Alison for all her work in the planning and coordination. I have never really blogged before so these posts will likely shift in tone as I get a firm grasp on things.

 

 

 

A little about me:

I remember the first time I was really introduced to sustainability was when I watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” with my parents. I was just a kid back then but I could sense the gravity of the situation and vowed to do my part to “save” the planet. I strived to use fewer resources and lower my family’s carbon footprint. Often times, to my mother’s dismay, I would over-enthusiastically go to extreme lengths to save water, such as not flushing the toilet in a particularly warm summer.  Looking back to my childhood, I am appreciative of my past naivety, as it has given me perspective on how everyone must chip in to make change happen.

The current me loves to look at things holistically and find realistic solutions to problems. When it comes to geopolitical problems, and even environmental problems, I believe that it is necessary to understand the history and events that tempered the dilemma to its current form. I think it is important, if given the time and resources, to obtain a complete grasp on a situation before one puts forward an attainable solution.

I am a supporter for sustainable development because its kind of the only way our future generations can enjoy the same beautiful planet that we all see everyday. However, I am a little wary of extreme solutions for sustainability that is difficult to implement.

For example, I recently watched a documentary that outlined the harm our generations of animal husbandry have been doing to the planet. It hinted that we could halt methane levels should we cease our practice of having meaty diets. I found this solution hard to accept because there was just no pragmatic method to implement it. It would be quite difficult to pry me from my morning bacon and I’m sure others would feel the same. To counter this problem, it might be better to look at the methods we use to raise our livestock, such as the dietary elements. We could also strive to change behaviorally, and perhaps cut down on the amount of meat we eat. Or it may be even better to further our advancements in the creation of synthetic meats, which I hear is all the craze these days.

 

My opinion on the WBCSD:
With the advent of social media came a wave of Internet activism: Passionate young people banding together to combat the tides of injustices. While a lot of people have claimed that these global platforms have improved transparency and gave more opportunities for the voices of the people to be heard, I would argue otherwise. I feel like Internet activism has really inundated the activism scene with too many causes to stand up for. Many outstanding problems are never brought to the limelight because of viral events such as Donald Trump’s election.

I am absolutely fascinated by the concept of a CEO run think-tank like entity that provides sustainable solutions to a membership body of companies. I currently believe that companies hold all the true power when it comes to affecting policy change. Corporation lobbyists dominate the political scene in democratic societies. If companies are willing to take the step forward when it comes to sustainability, they can have a massive impact on policy shifts.

I think an entity like the WBSCD has great power in our era as it could both push back white-noise and has the opportunity to influence government policy making and provide practical, sustainable options for its member companies.

I am a proud advocate for sustainability but the highlight of this trip for me will be to get a glimpse of how progressive decisions are achieved in a global, business setting. I hope to come out of this event more experienced, and more educated on the intricacies of international business. I’ll expand on some of these thoughts in my future blogs. For now, I look forward to working with everyone and meeting new people on this trip!

 

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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].

Introduction: My interest in a sustainable lifestyle

Hi everybody!

I just wanted to start this first blog by expressing that I am unbelievably excited to have been chosen for this trip, and to be joining such an amazing group of students and staff to the 2017 World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Liaison Delegate Meeting, which this year, will be taking place in Montreux!!

The WBCSD

I have been interested by the WBCSD since researching the organisation earlier last year, and thrilled to find an organisation with so many goals and ideas that aligned with my own. I was excited to see that sustainability was taking a front seat by so many, and by such influential businesses. I admire how the WBCSD are helping companies to meet both economic and environmental needs, by setting specific, yet achievable goals for organisations. By targeting businesses first, the WBCSD encourage business leaders to set an example worldwide, in a mission to lower our impact on the environment, and to be more considerate of our planets future. I am excited to learn more about how to apply these policies and ideas to a business setting and to utilise these skills in my future career. Sustainability is something that I am extremely passionate about, and I now intend to work within this sector in the future. At the WBCSD I look forward to hearing more about different roles, and to see how I can get involved with business and sustainability simultaneously.

A bit about me…

As this is my first blog I thought I should introduce myself, my interests in sustainability and my hopes for the trip!

So, my name is Bethan Thompson, I am from Stoke-on-Trent and currently in my second year of studying Business Studies at Lancaster University. I specialise in Management Science and OWT (Operations, Work and Technology). This year, my Business Ethics module opened my eyes up to the importance of morality and responsibility, and how influential the business sector is within this. In July I will begin my industrial placement with General Electric, where I will be adopting a Sourcing and Supply Chain role.

Outside of my course, I have always enjoyed volunteering and learning about what I can do to help to create a better and healthier society. I am currently a college netball captain and the HR director of Enactus (Entrepreneurial action by us) – a Lancaster University society that builds social enterprise for needful groups within Lancaster – including the homeless, the elderly and people with autism. If you have been to  Lancaster’s weekly market, then you may have heard of our on campus social enterprises ‘The Bagel Hut’ and ‘Zest’! Part of our mission at Enactus is to create and run these enterprises sustainably. At the conference, I would like to learn more about how to adopt sustainable methods, and how to continuously make a positive impact on the environment and on society through all of our Enactus projects.

Over the past year I have become increasingly invested in sustainability and in my impact on the environment; I am now becoming much more proactive in these issues. I have been vegan for almost 10 months now, and am deeply interested in how to maintain a healthy, and sustainable lifestyle and diet; I am excited to see how our world is adapting to meet these long-term issues and I am particularly looking forward to finding more out about sustainable diets, and to hear from FReSH (who will also be attending the conference). I am looking to expand my knowledge of sustainability within the food sector, and businesses role within this.

 

I look forward to sharing our journey with you.

Only 4 days to go until the trip!!!!

 

Enactus UK. (2017). Home. [online] Available at: http://enactusuk.org/ [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

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!

Edward Meadowcroft Picture

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