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Prior to starting my HBA degree at Ivey, I studied Animal Behaviour within the Faculty of Science at Western. While my prior studies focused on understanding individual behaviour and making more of an acute impact on people’s lives, my experience at Ivey has introduced me to all the opportunities in business to create change for the world at large. In particular, I’m excited to advocate for advancing social justice and environmental sustainability practices across all industries using my personal touch of enthusiasm, compassion, and a never-ending love for learning. 

What is your personal definition of sustainability? 

To me, sustainability refers to making choices that benefit the welfare of our environment and future generation and leaving the world in a better state compared to how we found it. This means operating in a way that promotes and contributes to environmental preservation, as well as taking necessary actions to defend and advocate for equal quality of life for all living things, whether that be natural resources or labour workers. Sustainability goes hand-in-hand with being ethical, responsible, and intentional, and is one of the greatest ways businesses can demonstrate their commitment to local and global communities. 

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

With environmental and social issues gaining traction within many industries, I hope that sustainability will serve as one of the core principles of my professional career, regardless of what work I may pursue. I am interested in a variety of roles, ranging from marketing and strategy, to consulting and social impact; despite the differences in work, I am certain that there will be opportunities for me to incorporate sustainability within any position, whether it exists as a major tenet of the business’ strategy, or if it involves making small changes to operational standards or workplace culture.  

From a strategy and consulting standpoint, I hope to help companies reshape their strategies and goals, to include and achieve sustainability metrics. On the marketing side, I hope to explore the impact of consumerism on sustainability, and to connect businesses with their customers to collectively work towards developing more sustainable practices that are aligned with brand equity. In terms of social impact, I would love to work with nonprofits and charitable organizations to develop sustainable solutions for disadvantaged communities. Finally, whatever business functions I ultimately work in, I hope to constantly be challenging myself and learning about new topics in sustainability. 

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

Sustainability is something that I simultaneously have been involved with for my entire life and something that I have only just started getting involved with. My first memory of a meaningful project I took on was in elementary school, when I recruited my friends to start a fundraising initiative for UNICEF. We sold posters and bookmarks to raise money and awareness for children to have access to clean water and sanitation. At the time, I did not understand this to be related to sustainability, but I knew that if there was help needed that I had the capacity to provide, I should do so.  

Since then, I have been involved in smaller projects like community clean-up initiatives and tree-planting events, as well as engaging students and organizing fundraisers for UNICEF and the World Wildlife Fund as a Residence Council Commissioner at Western. This year, I have gotten involved with AIESEC, as an Outgoing Global Volunteer Manager, to better understand and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Due to the pandemic, my role has transformed from an exchange facilitator to being responsible for organizing initiatives across different AIESEC committees around to world, to raise awareness for important sustainability issues.

Rainy Guo

Rainy Guo