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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Emily Zhou

My parents immigrated to Canada when I was 8 years old and immediately I was overwhelmed by the unfamiliar environment without me. I couldn’t speak the language. However, I found going to grocery stores with my parents very comforting because I was able to see a lot of familiar brands I had seen in China here in Canada. Eventually I developed an interest for marketing and decided to come to Ivey for marketing. I will be working at Unilever this summer and Unilever was my top firm because of their marketing positions as well as their commitment to sustainability.  

Additional Information

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

To me, the definition of sustainability is to take without destroying the source, and to ensure that the source can continue to produce more. Sustainability can apply across so many different aspects. It can apply personally, so ensuring I have good health & well-being (good nutrients, balanced meals) so I can do well in school and continue to do well. For businesses, it could mean sourcing from fair trade farmers or receiving ingredients through values-led sourcing.

What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career? 

This summer, I will be working with Unilever which embodies the sustainable living into all their brands. I chose this company partly because of their commitment to make actual change in the world. Their goal is to double their business and decrease their environmental footprint by half. In the short term while I am with Unilever, I wish to take on as many initiatives within the company as possible so I can give back to the planet.

However in the long term, if I ever move away from Unilever, I want to start my own initiatives. Because Unilever is already very much established within the sustainable living plan aspect of their business, I wish to bring this to a business that does not focus as much as Unilever. I believe in today’s business world, a company has to incorporate sustainability to attract customers and to grow their business.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in? 

In high school I've joined an organization called Prefects, where we raise awareness for a cause every month. I led the initiative on tree planting around my high school to ensure we are able to create a sustainable ecosystem for the animals around our high school.

As well, I am currently a Residence Advisor and my floor and I are all working towards sleeping at a decent time and to ensure we all intake healthy foods to ensure our body is able to sustain the activities for the day. Part of my initiatives is done through a fun friendly competition between residents to see who is able to have the best healthy eating choices from the cafeteria to encourage sustainable eating habits

This summer, other than involving myself with as many opportunities as I can at Unilever, I want to do something I've never done before but have always wanted to do. Since I'll be living at home, this will be really attainable. I've had a huge love for animals ever since a young child but was never allowed to have pets at home. I've always wanted to volunteer for the Mississauga humane society to help out the animals in any way I can. I will ensure that this is the year that I will take on this initiatives.