We truly are the Sustainability Change Makers

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60 years ago, a woman who was a marine biologist, Rachel Carson and her editorial piece from The New Yorker “Silent Spring” have started the ecological revolution. In that text, she has asked people to imagine how would a park and a city look like, if all life would be taken out of the picture: no children’ laughter, no birds tweeting, nothing but void and emptiness. It was a grim image of the future immediately contested by the big chemical companies, especially because Dr. Carson was speaking against the large spread of DDT’s usage which, in time, because it was so toxic, would wipe out the life from our planet. DDT has been removed from our daily life eventually, but the harm of human activities on the planet continued. To such extent that now we have both business people and politicians warning us that unless we change our behaviors, inovate and find new ways of feeding or transporting ourselves we will create such a climate disaster that in time we will threaten our own survival as species. Considering that all these opinion changes have happened in the last few years, one can conclude that the matter is deadly serious. And it is!

I did my PhD in 2012 with a thesis on Corporate Social Responsibility and as part of my research I have seen a lot of points of view related to the natural capital, the limits of growth, the circular economy as opposed to linear economic models – where instead of thinking that the most elevated state for a product’s end life is recycling, we know plan in terms of innovation by design (cradle to cradle). But my eyes have been really opened by a course I have taken at the Judge Business School from the Cambridge University, where I have studied Sustainability Strategies and Circular Economy. I found there a lot of expertise and an international “tribe” interested to change our economic practices and growth paradigm, towards a better green deal. And I have to say that their energy has inspired me. As a result, I came back to my colleagues from the Progress Foundation and we started working with some tools we have already discovered, but needed a push to make them a strategic part of our activity. With the support of my colleague Eliza Iacoboaia we have translated and adapted a tool measuring the attitude of people towards the climate change, based on the Global Warming’s Six Americas (Maibach et al, 2011), we have provided a training course in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Environment for the national media journalists on how to communicate effectively the climate change to different type of population. With the support of my colleagues Maria Baran, Ioana Avadanei and Matei Stanciugelu we started the translation of a game which trains the critical thinking about climate change. With Eliza and Maria we have trained two weeks ago the staff of an IT company so they understand how they can undertake small sustainability actions in their company. With our library team, Alin Pirosca, Claudia Serbanuta, Ioana and Matei we will coordinate the international conference Occupy Library, which will have as theme the way in which public libraries can support the circular economy locally, in their community. And last, but not least, with Eliza we have created a great tool called Social Return on Investment. It helps corporations understand and measure what is the social impact they create with their CSR project. Due to the SROI tool we know that in the CODE Kids program, for each 1 leu we invested the social return for the community has been of 8,49 lei.

All these actions, projects and initiatives have happened in our organization within 1 year after I have graduated from the course on Circular Economy and Sustainability Strategies. I know it may not be much, but it meant a lot to Progress Foundation, which in this way keeps the pace with the major changes our world sees and is trying to make our communities more resilient in front of the many challenges they are facing. And I personally am happy that 60 years after the alarm triggered by Rachel Carson we are all in agreement that we need to do more for our only known home, planet Earth. At least I know my team will do it, and this makes me really proud!

Should you want to support our sustainability initiatives, want to bring sustainability practices in your business or if you want to measure your company’s social impact in different communities and projects, get in contact with us:

#sustainability #climatechange #circulareconomy #greeneconomy #recycling

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