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Centre for Building Sustainable Value · Rebecca Zuker HBA '23 Candidate

Nicholas Yeung: Sustainable success - An alum's journey from research to impact

Feb 15, 2023

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Nicholas Yeung's interest in sustainability, which flowered during his Ivey HBA, has led him to becoming a Sustainability Rating Analyst at EcoVadis, where he combats greenwashing by helping private equity clients be more transparent with their operations.

Before entering the HBA program Nicholas Yeung, HBA ‘21, already had a budding interest in sustainability. However, he was unsure of how business and sustainability could overlap.

Nicholas later found that answer during a summer internship at ReForest London. As their Social Enterprise Intern, he helped develop their new environmental center and saw firsthand the opportunities there were for business and sustainability to intersect. During his time at Ivey, Nicholas also worked as a research assistant under Prof. Nadine de Gannes to investigate how sustainability criteria are integrated in traditional debt financing. The research goal was to report on the current state of affairs surrounding sustainable debt. Nicholas discovered many interesting findings, particularly surrounding green bonds. He notes that doing research was "one of the best moves he's ever made" as it allowed him to gain loads of experience in research.

Finding a Passion for Research

This passion for research translated into a full-time opportunity as a Sustainability Rating Analyst at EcoVadis, a recent Unicorn that provides supply chain solutions. The company is approached by businesses who want to know how sustainable their suppliers are. EcoVadis conducts analyses to generate an easily understandable score, so companies can take action to add or let go certain suppliers based on their goals.

Nicholas works specifically with private equity clients and has noticed a trend of increasing transparency within a company's portfolio. As sustainability continues to make its way to the forefront of business operations, he sees the rating industry growing very quickly. He also anticipates that companies will become far more focused on their sustainability reporting.

Combatting Greenwashing

Working in the sustainability field does not come without its challenges. Greenwashing is an increasingly prevalent issue that Nicholas’ work tries to combat. Greenwashing is explained as creating falsely positive views of an organization’s environmental performance. EcoVadis tackles this by constantly re-developing their ratings methodology to account for greenwashing. For example, Nicholas has observed how carbon offsets continues to be used in a misleading way. He recommends this entertaining John Oliver video to explain the phenomenon.

Nicholas’ advice for students is to leap at any opportunities to get involved in your dream sector during your time at Ivey. Being in the Ivey Community, it's very easy to make connections and get involved meaningfully, he shares. Nicholas also encourages students to reach out to sustainability alumni as he has seen firsthand how supportive the group is.

If you want to learn more about Nicholas’ journey or chat about all thing's sustainability, his email is