I never pictured a sustainability degree leading me into the business world. However, I’m now currently employed at American Family Insurance where my sustainability degree has me helping their new zero waste initiative. The goal is to have less than 10% of their total waste going to a landfill.
When it comes to sustainability, I’m not actively involved in reducing the waste, but instead to measure their outcomes and show their results. My ability to map out waste reduction helped lead her into their zero waste initiative.
“We went to Pelliterri…they took two of our forty yard compactors and spread them out across their floor and used a huge front loader so we could see it [trash] and we walked around…From that day forward the project went from incorporating organics and recycling to ‘let’s see if we can get to zero waste.’
My sustainability degree helped me phrase specific arguments from a business perspective, while also impressing the social outcomes I hoped to achieve with the degree. In particular, the systems-thinking classes coupled with my background in project management created a combination of skills very applicable to my day job. I really learned how to manage my time because it was online and that was something that was an unexpected outcome for me. I didn’t expect to get as good at it as I did.
Whether it’s illustrating waste reduction or intelligently explaining the benefits of her sustainable plans, I walked away from the sustainable management course with a wealth of new knowledge.
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