Future sustainability leaders: Charlotte Jackson
What will business look like in the future and who are our future leaders?
This is the final instalment (until next time) in our series speaking with a group of young people who are making waves in sustainability. All 12 are scholars on Forum for the Future’s renowned master’s course in leadership for sustainable development.
A trip to Borneo, where she saw a range of social and environmental issues first hand, fuelled Charlotte Jackson’s interest in sustainability and conservation. Here, she tells us about some of the key lessons she has picked up over the past year.
Tell us about your experience on the Forum for the Future master’s course. What have your placements involved?
Over the course of the programme, I have grappled with how M&S can reduce in store food waste, puzzled over the intricacies of Dulux’s sustainable paint and worked with a local authority energy team leading on district heat and power. I have just started working in the City, seeing how we can make money work better for society by breaking our current system which is reliant on debt and money creation.
Where does your interest in sustainability come from?
I have always had a passion for the environment and sustainability which led me to study Geography at university. After graduating, being part of a Raleigh International expedition to Borneo gave me the opportunity to see the issues first hand, understand the perspective of local people and get involved with development and conservation work.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given during your course?
Take every opportunity you can and make the most of it. Ask to get involved with things; the worse that can happen is people say no!
What’s most important business lesson you’ve learnt?
Understanding individual and company dynamics is a key lesson to learn. The culture of an organisation is crucial especially when trying to influence change.
What one idea do you think could change the world for the better?
Not so much an idea but an education – making every global citizen aware of the finite nature of planet Earth and make ‘one planet living’ a reality.
What do you see of the future in terms of sustainability, business and the environment?
The optimist in me would like to see reform taking place in our systems because it’s necessary to protect our planet. The realist in me says that until people’s lives are continually shaken through financial and environmental crises (that are becoming ever more frequent), the majority will ignore the issues.
Where will you be in 10 years’ time?
I have no idea where I’ll be in 10 years, but I’d like to think that I’ll be making positive change in the realm of sustainability no matter what company/organisation I am working for.
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