What is your occupation? Where do you work?
I am a consultant at an International investment bank and founder of Ecotiki Limited.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I graduated with an LLB Law degree and later studied Masters in Development in Finance at Reading University. The first professional job I had was at the European Bank for reconstruction and development (EBRD) where was an intern. It is during the internship that I expanded my knowledge on renewable energy. Although I work in corporate world, I continue to maintain an interest in the environment and social development issues. In fact, recently I founded a company called “Ecotiki”. At Ecotiki, we are looking to promote eco/sustainability life style selling materials that are alternatives to plastic. Also we give back to nature by supporting 1% for the planet. 1% for the plant allows us to give 1% of our profit to supporting environmental charities.
What is a fun fact about you?
I initiated recycling at my secondary school even though recycling was not very popular at the time.
What was your motivation to get into this industry?
As a young person I was always aware of the importance of looking after our environment through recycling. However, I recently did some research on the impact of plastic usage on marine animals and human health and I was shocked by the findings. From my perspective, I felt that as humans, it is possible for us take little actions that can improve our environment. For this reason, I want to take an active role in inspiring people to adopt an eco/sustainable lifestyle.
For me the general motivation is being part of a generation that wants to make a difference in protecting the environment for future generations and hopefully this will have positive impact on social development around the world.
Why do you think climate change/sustainability is such an important topic today?
If you turn on your TV today, there is always news about drastic change in the weather for example floods destroying local communities. Another key issue that has been floating around for many years is the issues concerning the production of over 311 millions tonnes of plastic every year. This is a big problem because only 9% are recycled and majority of these plastics are dumped into the seas, causing death to marine life and potential threat to human health. The fact that governments around the world are implementing policies at national and international level indicates the urgency on the need to take action on preserving our planet.
However, despite the implementation of these polices, there is more work that needs to be done to ensure that the polices are enforced globally and to ensure that the word “sustainability” is no longer a buzz word but part of our social life style. Furthermore, the fact that we have access to advance technology to pull statistic data to provide further evidence on the need to take global action, I believe has made climate/sustainability a topic that everyone is talking about now.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
I feel extremely positive that in 10 years the industry will continue to strive. For instance in London we have seen a lot of sustainability initiatives taken by local and global businesses. I strongly believe that when businesses take more responsibility for sustainability, their actions it will inevitably have a positive spill effect in local communities across the globe. And I believe some consumers are starting to become active participants in the movement of sustainable environment by choosing to purchase from brands/companies that promote eco friendly products and packaging.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
To be honest any small action will make a difference. Below are list of actions that we can all make to help preserve our beautiful environment.
- Be an active recycler
- Be conscience where buying products that are plastics. Always try and find alternative materials that are more sustainable
- Embrace re-usable items
- Cycle/Walk more and drive less to reduce pollution
- Write to your local government on your concerns about protecting the environment
- Be an inspirations to friends and family
What positive changes are you seeing?
When I walk around the office, I see more people using re-usable bottles instead of plastic, which is brilliant. Also in the local area that I work (Canary wharf, London, UK) there are more water fountains available to encourage people to embrace re-usable bottles. And there are plans to make Canary Wharf a more green location by building eco friendly sky-high buildings. On a more macro level, the government in the United Kingdom is implementing a 25 year environment plan. The UK is known to be influential internationally, so it is highly likely that other countries will be inspired to take similar approach. However, I must admit that other European countries such as Finland are far more advance in adopting a sustainability policies than the UK. As a result of these positive changes, I feel like we are going into the right direction.