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I am an HBA student who grew up in the GTA after I moved to Canada when I was 3 years old. I spent my childhood playing outside surrounded by friends and reading the Magic Tree House past my bedtime. Not much has changed today, I am happiest when I’m outside with company and my taste in books has slightly shifted to classic English literature. I am very involved in my hometown’s cultural community events and am passionate about maximizing the social impact I can have through my career and as a citizen of the world.

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

Sustainability to me means harmony. How can we balance our needs of today with the needs of future generations? It’s about striving for qualitative growth measured by standard of living rather than on quantitative financial growth based on consumption. From a business standpoint sustainability means balancing stakeholder and profit interests with environmental and social priorities. Without implementing a circular economy and a sustainable supply chain, even businesses with abundant demand will fail. Social sustainability is a business issue because it’s concerned with managing business impacts, both negative and positive, on people.

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

I think sustainability will play a role in most future careers as it no longer is a choice for businesses. Only firms that prioritize environmental goals will be able to maintain their market position as governments introduce tighter regulations and consumers become more conscious of their environmental impact through consumption.

Making sustainability profitable is something I want to work towards in my professional career. Acting in the best interest of stakeholders should no longer just mean achieving the highest return on investment. It should mean earning record profits while being on track for carbon reduction goals and having equitable hiring practices.

Research shows that organizations that plan with sustainability in mind achieve higher ROI than those who don’t. These higher returns are secured through innovation inspired by sustainability related products/technologies that fulfill changing consumer preferences and cost savings thanks to better resource management and efficient value chains.

Making sustainability the better option will happen gradually, but business can be the vehicle for change. In my career, I want to implement these changes and inspire other business leaders to do the same.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

Over the summer of 2021, I worked at Fidelity Investments Canada as an intern within the Finance group. During my time there, the company launched the Fidelity Climate Leadership Fund–Fidelity’s first entry into the sustainable, investing space. I had the opportunity to give a presentation about the new fund to the rest of the intern cohort as a final project for the summer. Through my research I was first introduced to concepts such as sustainable investing and how quickly the world is moving towards sustainability in business. I had the opportunity to hear the fund manager explain the fund’s core principles and how it’s not only about investing in green companies but also in industries like oil and gas to further incentivize sustainable practices. Through this project I found my passion for sharing knowledge on how sustainability can be achieved through business practices that benefit the environment, the society, and the bottom line.

I am also currently a Vice President at a pro-bono consulting firm that works with start-ups and non-profits worldwide to provide guidance on strategic initiatives. I have worked with clients focused on alleviating homelessness, period poverty and a startup looking to enter the EVspace.

Jahnavi Sheth

Jahnavi  Sheth

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