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Hi, I’m Areeb! I was born in Dubai, and have grown up in Oakville. I’m now in HBA2, sad to leave Western soon but looking forward to what’s ahead! I enjoy learning about business strategy, economic policy, and emerging technologies. Studying multi-disciplinary topics in MIT before Ivey, I also developed an interest in social structures, inequality, and the risks of short-term thinking. I hope to combine these pathways in my career, helping companies adhere their strategies and operations towards a healthier society and planet. 

In my spare time, I enjoy all things sports, reading, and eating good food with friends. 

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

 I believe that sustainability is a mindset that promotes a long-term outlook. Sustainable thinking considers outcomes from a holistic lens, rather than framing decisions around particular agendas.  

 As a result, I think that sustainability is crucial in shaping the way we govern our world, and to mitigate approaches which negatively affect our future. For example, sustainability provides an antithesis to growth-at-all-costs and shareholder-first mentalities, which have unfortunately dominated economic discourse. It equally prioritizes environmental, social, and cultural issues which have long been swept under the rug. 

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

I see sustainability as an important factor in colouring decision making throughout my career. Interested in transforming business strategies and shaping economic policy, I hope that sustainable thinking can inspire a positive impact from my work.  

After several decision makers set short-term priorities, the next 40+ years will demand significant structural change. I hope to be at the forefront of corporations transitioning to sustainable business models, and a background in sustainability will help me contribute to this societal paradigm shift. Specifically, I aspire to help align their core operations to fulfill or contribute to the UN’s SDGs. Moreover, I am interested in the commercialization of new social innovations that will be at the core of sustainable societies. These career trajectories offer a high degree of impact and can eventually catalyze corporations to realize their potential for doing both good and well. 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

 As a pro-bono analyst with the Community Consulting Project, my team helped the David Suzuki Foundation form their strategy around Wellbeing Economies. This involved researching the potential for an alternative approach to Canada’s economy, focused on overall wellbeing rather than just GDP. This highlighted the one-dimensional approach that’s currently standard, and illuminated alternative systems (already used in certain countries) which consider several important externalities in evaluating an economy and society. Overall, this project helped me acknowledge and appreciate a more sustainable outlook to development and growth. Furthermore, our research and recommendation helped situate the role of companies within this shift. 

 I also experienced the importance of extending sustainable thinking on a global scale when I travelled to Peru during a spring break. Supporting a local charitable development project for rural school children, the stark inequalities even within a developing nation became extremely apparent. This experience continues to remind me about the universal need for sustainable innovations and solutions. 

Areeb Athar

Areeb Athar