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I grew up in a small rural community in western Jamaica. From as early as Grade 7, I was curious about large economic questions such as why poverty exists and why income inequality is so widespread. After moving to Canada in Grade 10 to complete high school, my interest in these topics grew even more. That motivated me to study economics and business at university. Since then, I have discovered that the need for stronger social foundations is interconnected with environmental sustainability, and the two have become subjects I am passionate about. Outside of school and work, I enjoy watching and playing soccer, making music, and traveling.

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

Sustainability, to me, means adopting practices that move us closer to a regenerative and distributive economy. In that sense, I view sustainability not only through an environmental lens but also a social one. When we adopt regenerative practices in our daily lives, in business, or the economy, we ensure that we are preserving the natural ecosystem that allows us to thrive as a society today, allowing future generations and other species to enjoy that same privilege. From the distributive perspective, the practices we adopt while building an economy should benefit all people and promote fairness. This makes social goals such as ending poverty and promoting access to education also sustainability goals.

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

I believe that sustainability won’t only play a role but rather be at the core of my future career. Although my occupational path is undetermined, I plan to either work for a Non-Profit that prioritizes social impact and sustainability or implement sustainable practices in any corporation looking to improve its current operations. Furthermore, I hope to take on a leadership position and provide businesses with educational tools to reduce their carbon footprints.  By completing my Sustainability Certificate, I hope to gain new perspectives from my peers and to share my own experiences. As more businesses begin to adopt sustainable practices, I am passionate about being a part of the shift. At the end of the day, I will not feel fulfilled in my professional career unless I am able to see a positive social and environmental impact.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

I see sustainability playing a central role in my professional career. While I have not decided on an exact career path, I view sustainability as a way of thinking that can apply to any specific position that I assume. For example, I have a strong interest in Economics and may enroll in academic programs beyond my undergraduate degree to become an economist. Thus far in my studies, I have been drawn to more sustainable schools of thought in the subject such as Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics. I have also worked in asset management, specifically in ESG investing, on projects that advocate for the flow of capital to more sustainable business. Pursuing entrepreneurship will also likely be a major part of my professional career, and I aspire to start a social enterprise that embeds environmental sustainability as a key part of its business model and advances the interests of the local communities it is a part of. My belief that I can embed sustainability in whatever role I assume is a direct product of my wider belief that as global citizens, we all have a responsibility to champion sustainability in our daily lives.

Orlando Scarlett

Orlando Scarlett

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