Green.org sat down with Matthew Oh, the CEO & Founder of FOREFRONT Charity, to learn about how he is finding his passion in sustainability.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am a Chemical Engineer by trade having studied Alternative Energy Systems and Water Municipal Treatment. I started my career in Research & Development then moved into Sustainable Packaging within 3 different companies: Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, and Unilever. I was then fortunate to move into a marketing brand manager role for sustainability at Unilever. Following that, I joined the Corporate Sustainability Team at Unilever overseeing all corporate sustainability programs and initiatives and ranging from strategy to partnerships to program implementation. And now I am a product manager for ESG at American Express. Quite some moves but various functions and roles all within sustainability, my passion!
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
We may want to ignore it or focus on the now but we are all heading into the future. At this rate, unfortunately, the reality is that the future isn’t looking great. And I fear that for various reasons, it is not being prioritized enough. We will all eventually be part of the future so it is all our responsibilities to care for it now and take action. According to WEF, in ten years, the major risks to the world is environmental/climate change risks. We need smart and innovative solutions to combat this and unite all stakeholders together to hold hands, buckle down, and commit to whatever it takes to address this risk. It really does take every stakeholders’ buy-in because we are all interdependent just as we are dependent on this planet that we live in.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Actually, the everyday person is the MOST important in all of sustainability. Governments, companies, and organizations are all run and influenced by people/consumer behaviors and demands. Having been in the industry, if consumers are willing to purchase more sustainable products, the company will invest more into it. So continue to advocate for sustainability, take your everyday action now, influence your peers/spheres/friends, and make conscientious purchases and consumption. All of this matters and we can all build a more sustainable momentum!