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Hi, I'm Brian! I studied International Relations before Ivey and I’m passionate about shifting money away from big bad corporations to community/local initiatives, social businesses, international development, etc. This path might take me into social enterprise, social finance, government, nonprofit/advocacy - it all sounds fun. Fun fact about me, I used to be in a sax quartet called saxual tension and we took 3rd place at our school talent show - not about saving the world but it’s fun to share!

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

Sustainability means supporting the planet and its beings. In Grade 9, I participated in a volunteering program to teach youth to recycle. We were sustainable by limiting landfill waste and diverting recyclable materials. However, I believe there is a need for smarter sustainability to address systemic issues in modern society, such as the implementation of Wellbeing Economies to realign our economic priorities to equally prioritize people, planet, and profit. Both recycling and Wellbeing Economies are examples of sustainability, but there is a need for solutions that address root causes, and I’d like to help discover them.

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

I see sustainability as the focus of my career. The South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH), my favourite community organization, taught me about sustainability. I volunteered with their childcare services, led a recycling program, spearheaded a youth literacy initiative, and eventually joined the Board of Directors. SVNH not only taught me how to be sustainable, but the value of doing so. I met my role models and best friends, learned appreciation for my privilege, and felt fulfillment from my responsibilities and impact.

I want to work in social finance or social enterprise to meet exceptional individuals, challenge myself, and learn, all while doing good. I love the people in the space; I want to get to know them to make friends and find role models, similar to SVNH. I want to develop experience in the space to understand the main issues, and eventually pivot to support governments and organizations developing policy to shift capital towards sustainability. I want to support ideas working to address root causes such as class and corporations. I believe this will create meaningful impact and improve the world.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

I have been engaged in sustainability projects over the past couple years, with an emphasis on supporting social enterprises.

Last summer, I started a social business to address unsustainable and unethical men’s fashion by replacing leather with cork; my first product was a cork cardholder. The raw materials come from tree bark, the manufacturing process is simple and sustainable, nothing is wasted, and the tree is left unharmed to regrow its bark. Furthermore, the cork workers are paid fair wages. I created the product by researching, talking to industry experts, brainstorming products, and designing prototypes.

Recently, I’ve supported a couple social businesses. One, Marlow, with a focus on innovating menstrual health products, and another, Fitness for all, working to provide accessible, virtual fitness options at affordable prices. For Marlow, I worked with a team to provide accessible education to fill in gaps of knowledge surrounding menstrual and sexual health. For Fitness for all, I conducted market research, built financial statements and projections, and a business plan encompassing key details and implications for the executive team.

I’ve loved all my experiences in sustainability, and I hope to work on sustainability projects for the rest of my life.

Brian Chang

Brian Chang

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