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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Ella Chilton

 

I spent most of my childhood playing sports and made it to the Team Ontario basketball team in high school. After suffering several concussions, I made the decision to withdraw from contact sports and focus on my academics. I decided on pursuing business as I recognize the universality of commerce. My interests range from environmental to social sustainability. I have completed a trip with Me to We to assist in building schools in Ecuador and I’m an executive member of a UWO club that facilitates volunteer opportunities. Professionally, I am seeking employment in a company that promotes environmentally sustainable practices.

 

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

Sustainability can range from social to environmental factors. Across as all areas, I believe sustainability means not taking more than is given. A sustainable practice should be able to run indefinitely as it will not drain resources faster than they can be replenished. In a social context, this can be demonstrated through responsible worker safety; labourers will be able to work “indefinitely” because they are provided with safe working conditions, proper pay and breaks, etc. In an environmental context, an example is using renewable resources that can support an operation indefinitely because they can be replenished.

 

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

I see sustainability playing a leading role in my professional career. Many of my business interests revolve around start-ups in the clean technology space. I am very interested in working to bring new technology to market that can help combat the societal reliance on fossil fuels. My current goals are to work at a company such as Tesla. If I am unable to work at a company that has a business plan revolving around sustainability my goal would be to work to bring sustainable practices to the company. For example, I have interest in working in finance. If my professional career finds me working at a financial institution as an investor, I would incorporate sustainability through encouragement of investment in sustainable companies such as ones that employ a sustainable supply chain in both environmental and social aspects.

Although I do not know what path my professional career will take me on, I know that sustainability will be a vital part of the work I do. My career will either play out in an industry or company that is sustainable, or I will work to make the space in which I work sustainable.

 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

Throughout my life I have participated in various, small-scale sustainability related projects. Starting at a young age, I organized bake sales to raise money for endangered animals. I explored my interests in social sustainability during my trip to Ecuador with Me to We. There I assisted in bringing education to poor communities and learned about the ability of local entrepreneurship to uplift the local society.

Recently, I have joined a group in London that aims to bring synthetic biology (synbio) technologies to market. Many of the synbio technologies are focused around solving environmental problems. One project utilizes synbio to eliminate traces of pharmaceuticals from well water and another is focused on reducing the need for nitrogen in fertilizer. Although this project is its early stages, I am already learning about the ways I can use my knowledge in business to change the environment around me for the better. Having practice in bringing new sustainable technologies to market is invaluable. It has furthered my conviction that my professional path will be centered around sustainability.

Ella Chilton

Ella Chilton