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My passion for sustainability was ignited by another passion of mine, travelling. While visiting numerous places with my family growing up, I had two realizations: how beautiful the earth is and how fortunate I am to be able to explore it. With climate change and social injustices becoming more prominent every day, I was compelled to take action and do everything I could to make the world a better place. My goal is to use business as a tool to create environmental and social change. I strongly believe that profit and sustainability go hand in hand and am dedicated to making a positive impact in all aspects of my life. 

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

To me, sustainability has always been about the actions you can take today to ensure a better future, not just for yourself but for others as well. Often, businesses and people will engage in the quickest route to success without considering the long-term implications. Sustainability can take many forms through practices such as environmentalism, social equity, and economic development. It stems from being aware of the impact one has on the world around them and recognizing one’s social responsibility to give more than what they take from society and the environment.  

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

I am interested in working for a business that prioritizes social responsibility and sustainability. When it comes to a company’s core values and business model, these practices have remained on the sidelines for far too long. Integrating environmental, social, and governance related efforts into all aspects of a business is needed, now more than ever, to ensure the longevity of both a company and the world we live in. I hope to use the knowledge and skills learned at Ivey to identify key areas of improvement in a business, facilitate sustainable change, and develop a strategy to make these practices scalable to a broad range of industries. Moreover, I wish to challenge the perspective that doing good is a tradeoff to doing well.   

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

I previously interned at a non-profit thrift store whose mission was to help the less fortunate within the London community. During this time, I secured a partnership with a club at Western to promote purchasing second hand or ethically sourced clothing. My team and I created an electronic fashion lookbook which consisted of students modelling the store’s clothes in an effort to encourage the community to reduce their carbon footprint by turning away from fast fashion.  

I have been an active member of UNICEF Western since my first year at university. Every year, I help organize and participate in a 24 hour fast to raise funds for humanitarian assistance efforts towards an ongoing crisis. As Vice President of Communications for the past two years, I have spearheaded multiple campaigns to advocate for human rights and educate students on how they can be a part of UNICEF’s mission to improve the lives of children around the world.   

This year, I became a Section Representative for Ivey Social Impact Club. Along with informing classmates on the use of business as a tool to create positive social and environmental change, I helped coordinate the Social Enterprise Advisory Program to connect students to opportunities in the impact space. Participating in workshops, conferences, and advisory projects with social enterprise startups has furthered my passion to incorporate sustainability into everything I do.  

Emily Young

Emily  Young