Something big is happening within the walls of Sacred Heart University Luxembourg (SHULU). The university has made a firm commitment to developing leaders of tomorrow that will
drive the systemic change needed to create a circular economy with a more environmentally friendly approach to challenges.
SHULU has created its Sustainability in Action Leadership Program, with the program making changes in how we are educating future leaders. To foster the growth and development of this program, SHULU has partnered with international and local actors amongst which +ImpaKT, a Luxembourgish consulting firm. Working hard to make this partnership a success is a team of brilliant changemakers. We had the pleasure of learning more about one of them, Anne-Christine Ayed.
Anne-Christine is a proud mother of three grown-up children, who spends her free time, outside of changing the world, in her home in Paris listening to jazz and appreciating modern art and literature. She started her career as a chemist in Switzerland, but since then, has lived all around the world relentlessly working to prove that innovation and sustainability can both drive
business growth and human progress.
During the ten years of her career that she spent in Luxembourg, Anne-Christine was the Executive Vice President of Research, Innovation and Environment at Tarkett, a global leader in Flooring and Sports solutions. Anne-Christine said, “In that position, I led the launch of many innovative products and developed the environmental strategy which positioned the group as the industry leader in circular economy.” She continues to use her innovation and passion for change in her current position as an Associate at +ImpaKT.
What is +ImpaKT?
When asked about +ImpaKT, Anne-Christine replied, “At +ImpaKT, we believe that the circular transition is essential to solving the environmental crises we face in biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution.” +ImpaKT’s goal is to contribute to solving these issues because the price of not acting is far too high for humanity. With the combined efforts of partners, like SHULU, and its customers, +ImpaKT wants to be the vessel of change that brings us into a circular economy.
What is a Circular Economy?
Throughout this article, you’ll see many references to the circular economy. For those that aren’t familiar with the concept, Anne-Christine explains it the best:
“Contrary to the linear economy, which consists of the extraction of natural resources, their transformation, distribution, and consumption before throwing them away or forgetting them, the circular economy aims to maintain the stock of natural resources and to respect the living. If there is waste, it must systematically become inputs for other processes either as a component or recovered resource for another industrial process or as regenerative resources for nature.”
+ImpaKT strongly believes that education is key to making a circular economy possible. People, especially future leaders, need to learn and understand the environmental challenges that lie before us, the systemic approach to a circular economic model, how to eco-design products and services to thrive within the circular economy, and develop new business models to do the same.
Education is Key
This value placed on education by +ImpaKT is the reason why the partnership between SHULU and the consulting company is so cherished. SHULU’s program is extremely flexible and allows students to learn the content in a way that fits their needs. The goal of it is to provide a wide view of sustainability and its many facets while ensuring that the newly acquired competencies that the students gain are applicable to their careers and everyday life. Students in the program prepare an action plan that they put in motion outside of the classroom, whether that is at their jobs or in their private lives.
SHULU’s commitment to educating students to make a change at this pivotal point in history continues to strengthen the bond between the two organisations. “We are at the dawn of an environmental revolution, which will be at least as important as the digital revolution,” said Anne-Christine. She stated that it will be in strong synergy with the decade of the last chance for the climate to recover. Anne-Christine continued, “The transition back to the circular economy won’t just happen with some exemplary experiments. It won’t happen either with green marketing as we see so much these days. It will happen when young leaders will no longer be afraid of driving the change and develop the business models of the circular economy that create value and make businesses sustainable.”
That is why educating people about the economic opportunity of a circular economy within the limits of the planet is the key to success. A total shift of mindset and lifestyle is necessary and
is possible through education.
Ways You Can Get Involved
If you’re looking for ways that you can make an impact, educate yourself so you better understand what is at stake and what needs to be done to have a positive effect on the lives and health
of others, the environment, and the climate. Anne-Christine said that if you feel you can act and be part of the solution, it gives a purpose to your life.
Be sure to do your research and seek out companies that are embarking on the journey to create change, changing their business model to focus on things beyond profits, and attracting talents
to join the journey and continue the legacy and positive impact they hope to leave behind. Always keep the environment in mind when you influence and support governments to make circular economy and sustainability a priority; luckily, Luxembourg has put sustainable development as a priority to ensure an equitable and good life quality for the country’s citizens.
Women especially have demonstrated their concern for the environment throughout the decades; however, they are still underrepresented in the discussion of these serious matters. According to a Boston Consulting Group analysis, women are underrepresented in the green economy even though they have a strong sensitivity to environmental issues. With the gender inequality issues that are present in society, many women realise that they need to have a background in science, economics, or sustainability in order to have equal access to jobs or to do things like seek funding for green tech startups. Promoting women in STEM, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is the first step to opening the door for more women to get involved, but we must also ensure that there is gender equality across the board in academia. No matter who you are, what your profession, or where you’re from, sustainable development is everyone’s business
Written by Macayla Temple for Lux WMN