Sustainability professional, Alejandra Alonso, sat down with Green.Org to talk about the potential power we have to create positive change if we work together.
Hi Alejandra, it’s a pleasure to be able to chat with you. Can you tell us a bit about you and your background?
I grew up in Mexico City, and since I can remember I was always very passionate about the environment. When I was 18 years old, I had the opportunity to live and work in Tanzania as a volunteer, and it was then when my passion and desire to do something impactful for the world really ignited. I was the 3rd generation of students in my country who studied Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at Anahuac University. After working in different public and private organisations in Mexico in the sustainability area I decided to pursue a Masters of Science in Sustainability Management at prestigious institution, Columbia University in the City of New York. This program has close ties to the Earth Institute and the courses were taught by the world’s premier sustainability practitioners, academics and researchers. It gave me the tools and skills to contribute to transform how organisations do business by formulating and implementing sustainability strategies. I moved to London in 2019 to chase an opportunity at global tech firm, Greenstone, which pioneers ESG software solutions for corporates and investors. Last year I transitioned to work for renowned financial services company Moody’s Corporation under their ESG entity. In my role I help organisations to better understand their Environmental Social and Governance performance and provide data-driven tools to enable them to assess climate and environmental risk exposure, strengthen sustainability action plans, and communicate with key stakeholders.
What is a fun fact about you?
Something many people don’t know is that I have a Charity called ISOMA Children, which aims to bring education and help develop a Maasai Community in the north of Tanzania. I keep trying to learn Swahili and practice whenever I have the chance to go there.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
I think climate change and sustainability have always been an important topic but there were only very few people talking about it. Recently we have started to experience the impacts in our planet and our daily lives due to climate change and due to a broken system that doesn’t implement sustainability at its core. It is more important now than ever to make these topics a priority and invigorate governments, enterprises, educational institutions and other organisations to integrate a sustainability culture in the way they operate. There might be no turning back to how we have damaged the planet, but we can still mitigate the risks and give some hope to the future generations if we act now.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
The financial services industry is really progressing and trying to integrate ESG. (Environment, Social, Governance) into its operations. After so many years ignoring the issue it is not a simple task, and this didn’t rise merely because they care, but because there is a demand from people and governments to integrate this kind of practices to the industry. I think in 10 years the financial services will have ESG topics embedded in most of their products or services and will definitely have more transparency on their practices and more engagement with their customers to help steer the direction in which they go. Today there’s a huge growth opportunity for the industry leaders to evolve, and the players who don’t start integrating these kind of practices now will almost certainly go downhill and become outdated in 10 years.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
This is a question I get asked a lot. People are worried about the future and they want to do something but don’t know what. They key here is to start thinking as a collective and stop thinking as individuals. If one person makes changes in their lifestyle or their behaviour it will obviously have very little to no impact on our planet, but if everyone started making changes the world would be a different place. We need to change our habits, things like using trains instead of planes, opting in to offset your carbon footprint, turning off the lights and the tap, stopping or reducing meat consumption, being mindful of what you really need and of everything that’s involved to fulfil that need. Knowledge is power, have a look at how many resources it takes from our planet to have a cup of coffee, or 100g of steak or that new phone. If people knew what’s really behind their demands, they would be more mindful of their choices. Do I really need that package from Amazon? Do I really need to eat meat everyday? Can I bike to work instead of drive? If people ask themselves these questions and make these small changes, humans as a collective have the power to change the world.
Thank you so much for chatting with Green.Org, Alejandra. You really are an inspirational woman, working at the forefront of change.
To learn more about ISOMA Children and the amazing team behind the charity, click here!