Christian’s passion for sustainability grew from spending 18-months as a diving instructor on Andros Island in the Bahamas. On Andros, Christian led a coral restoration initiative in partnership with Reef Rescue Network, artificially growing staghorn coral for outplanting on Bahamian reefs. He also ran a community diving program with the Andros Nature Conservancy to teach local youth swimming and diving skills.
Since returning to Canada, Christian volunteers as a Medical Responder with Western’s Student Emergency Response Team (SERT) and is an Instructor with the Ivey LEADER Project; a program that teaches business to entrepreneurs in emerging regions around the world.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
I believe sustainability is tied to empowerment. For people to create sustainable systems, they must be empowered and equipped with the right knowledge and skills to make decisions that benefit all stakeholders in their communities. It is for this reason that I approach sustainability from a place of education. By showing people their environment and teaching them the skills necessary to take action – I think we can have the most positive impact on society, the economy, and the environment. It is for this reason that I chose to become a diving instructor, medical responder, and business instructor.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
I plan on starting my career in consulting and will be joining Bain & Company as an Associate Consultant Intern this summer. I think consulting presents a unique opportunity to drive change at the top of a business, and I look forward to championing the integration of sustainable business practices into every project I work on.
A recent McKinsey survey found that 70% of businesses have a formal sustainability policy in place. I think this stands as a testament to the incredible progress that has been made in driving the adoption of sustainable practices over the last 20 years. I firmly believe, however, that this number should be 100% and think that every business should consider its impact on the greater community in which it operates.
The prevailing thought that “doing good” is mutually exclusive to “doing well” is disproven by research, and I look forward to educating the clients I work with and empowering them to help solve humanity’s most significant social and environmental challenges.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
I have been involved in several sustainability projects. In the Bahamas, I led a coral restoration initiative with Reef Rescue Network. The program artificially grew Staghorn coral at a local nursery for outplanting on areas of the Andros Barrier Reef that were in decline from pollution and changing ocean temperatures. Additionally, I collected ocean water samples for a study on water composition by Professor Adam Maloof from the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University.
On Andros, I also founded a community diving program in partnership with the Andros Nature Conservancy and Trust. The program taught diving and swimming skills to local at-risk youth who had no real appreciation for the ecological environment that surrounded the island. The program certified 16 local divers, and one went on to find employment as a diving guide on the island.
Lastly, as an Instructor with the LEADER Project, I will be travelling to Bosnia in May to teach business to entrepreneurs. I think this is an incredible opportunity to empower young and passionate people to create economically sustainable businesses in their communities. Education, in my opinion, is a far more effective tool to promote sustainability than merely sending funds to an area in need.