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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Kim Lu

I am a right brained disruptor who enjoys breaking problems apart and rebuilding solutions from new angles. Enamoured by disruptive innovation, I joined an early stage startup in sustainable fashion. This initiated my interest in sustainability as I was exposed to the reality of fashion waste and looked introspectively at my personal shopping habits. Interested ways that sustainability could be integrated into everyday life, I am amidst building a sustainable laundry brand – selling a soap nuts as a natural replacement to traditional laundry detergent. Beyond my experiences, I enjoy bringing my dogs on nature hikes and catching up on reading. 

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

The common impression of sustainability I once had was the green, tree-hugger, metal straws version of sustainability. Overtime I came to render a more holistic perspective on this term: pursuing our needs without the compromise of the environment and communities. Sustainability is beyond addressing the needs of our planet, it also considers how the world can operate to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for years to come. Whether it’s integrating a circular economy, holding companies accountable to their practices, or looking inwardly at our consumption patterns, there’s a pulsing call to action towards global sustainable development. 

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

My current interests in sustainability lie in environmental progress and building sustainable communities. In the early stages of my career, I hope to explore these areas in greater depth through building projects and side-hustles within these focus areas. As I gradually build my toolkit of experience, my goal is to bring my found insights to the corporate social responsibility practices at a company. I believe that many companies are still within the early stages of building this practice and it would be a dream help them scale this goal. For instance, specifically during my internship at Shopify I was able to connect with their sustainability team who integrated circularity through a used company laptop donation program. I really believe in building the CSRS in corporations as they have the financial and human capital to make the greatest impact in the sustainability space. In conjunction with my work in the corporate sustainability space, exploring opportunities to volunteer and support non-profits is where I would like to spend my downtime. Specifically, organizations such as Rumie (an economic and educational empowerment platform) and Kiva (a micro financing company) are top of mind. 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

The two main sustainability projects I have engaged in are: Reheart and Neutral. Building on my interest in sustainable fashion, I joined the team at Reheart – a lending and renting sustainable fashion platform. The company made use of circular economies through lengthening the life cycle of frequent one-time use garments – such as gala gowns or cocktail dresses. It allowed women to rent high quality garments at a fraction of their retail price. Working on the product team, I worked to increase our partnerships with local Canadian sustainable fashion houses, writing blog content to our community & innovating new ways to make our services more convenient (ie. through a subscription model). My work on the team was able to bring Reheart to second on Google PageRank and attract media attention from Flame and CBC.  

Extending my interest in the intersection of technology and sustainability, I recently onboarded the team at Neutral – a carbon offset chrome extension built from a hackathon. The extension syncs with e-commerce shopping sites such as Amazon to provide insights for customers on the carbon footprint of their purchase, also enabling an option to offset their footprint through a donation. 

Kim Lu

Kim Lu