I was born and raised in Calgary before moving east. Over the past 3.5 years I have been studying chemical engineering and business and I plan to graduate with my dual degree next year. Beyond my studies, I love travelling and have been fortunate enough visit over 20 countries. My father and my employment (there is a relation), has been in conventional oil exploitation and production. Although I enjoyed my work I have always had a conflict of interest working for hydrocarbon producers. I am particularly passionate about environmental sustainability and plan to have a career in that field.
Personal Definition of Sustainability
A sustainable company must meet social, environmental and profit criteria. Socially, all employees must receive fair value from the business. The value should be fair regardless of where the employee lives or their bargaining power. Environmental sustainability is tougher to describe. Ideally, a sustainable business would only harvest resources at the rate they are replenished. However, this definition is irrelevant in many industries as some resources are finite (ex. metals). As a result, I define environmental sustainability as using best practices. It is important that profit is an objective, since without profit companies cannot continue to operate.
Over the past four years, I have been involved with a group called Engineers Without Borders (EWB). This year I was on a three person team which coordinated and executed our chapter's fundraising events and applications. Thanks to a strong Christmas push across the chapter, we are on track to reach our goal of $29,000. Last year, as head of member learning, I organized and ran 25 weekly meetings aimed to increase my chapter's knowledge EWB African programs and effective aid allocation. Two examples of my personal view on international development and NGOs can be seen at www.perspectives.ewb.ca/tomhansen2010 and www.perspectives.ewb.ca/tomhansen.
In addition to EWB, I have been involved in sustainability at Ivey. Recently, my co-author and I had an article on the strategy of impact investment funds published in the Ivey Business Review. I have also been a member of the Ivey Sustainability Club.
This summer I am working for Alberta Water Smart, an NGO which focuses on water conservation in Alberta. My position will involve strategic and technical consulting for oil sands developers. I am hopeful that my summer employment will provide with a unique perspective on the function of NGOs and how the cleantech business sector operates.