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I completed my first two years at Western pursuing a BSc with a major in ecosystem health. Prior to Ivey, I became passionate about sustainability through a Climate Change course I took. In the course I calculated my carbon footprint over a two-week period to be 13 tonnes of CO2. Over another two-week period, I reduced my emissions by going vegan, hang-drying my clothes, limiting water use, and not using motorized vehicles. The change in lifestyle effectively reduced my footprint to 3 tonnes of CO2.Since this project, I have been able to maintain most of my carbon reducing activities.

What is your personal definition of sustainability?

I believe that sustainability means ensuring that my actions do not have a negative impact on the environment or society. This definition of sustainability is based on the Indigenous “Seventh Generation Principle” which emphasizes that humans meet their own means without negatively impacting the ability for future generations to meet their needs. Since the industrial revolution, human shave been depleting the earth’s resources faster than its ability to re-generate them; that cannot continue. I feel that it is critical that we all consider sustainability in our daily lives.

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

I am passionate about sustainability, and intend to work for companies that share my values. I plan to bridge environmental science and business operations in a way that contributes to protecting and saving our planet, while also ensuring a healthy economy.

I believe that companies with a focus on sustainability will be the winners of the future. They will attract better employees; make better investment decisions; have better brands; and we will want to do business with them. We see this starting to happen. Companies are making pledges to initiatives like Net Zero and reporting under the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Yet, companies face challenges around sustainability. The first is embedding it in decision making. For example, the business impacts and costs in areas like climate and biodiversity cannot be known with certainty but we must consider them somehow. The second is that you need to embed it in your company culture. This is where I come in. I will use my passion about sustainability to show other employees why it is important. My combined background in ecosystem science and business will bring a unique perspective to companies trying to incorporate sustainability in their business.

What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?

It was integral to mysummer2022job search that I find a company focused on sustainability. I was offered an amazing opportunity to work at Sun Life Capital Management(SLCM)this summer as an Asset Management Intern with a focus on sustainable investments. SLCM manages $347 billion on behalf of institutional investors, including $150 billion for Sun Life Financial (SLF).

SLF has been named to the Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World for 13 consecutive years. It was the first global insurance company to issue a sustainability bond, with proceeds going toward renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, and access to essential services. SLF has committed $20 billion in sustainable investments over the next 5 years. Sustainability is central to how SLCM makes investment decisions. In my role at SLCM, I will be working with the private fixed income team on their sustainable investment platform. I will gain experience in how analysis is performed to determine when investment opportunities meet SLCM’s sustainability requirements. Since the investment opportunities are private, I’m particularly interested in learning how SLCM gets the data needed as part of their analysis.

Rebecca Lundrigan

Rebecca  Lundrigan

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