Uncovering the synergy between business and sustainability

The LBS Sustainability Global Experience in Stockholm

By Chelsea Chunyu Yang, MFA Class 2023

My journey at LBS has revolved around sustainable investing, aligning with my goal of harnessing the power of capital to accelerate sustainable economic development. The Sustainability Global Experience (GE) in Stockholm was a pivotal aspect of my LBS experience, providing diverse perspectives through company visits, lectures, and discussions. Insights gained from the GE have informed my recent internships in equity investment at Brown Advisory and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as my current role as a research associate at the Sustainable and Green Finance Institute in Singapore.

What is the Sustainability-themed Global Experience in Stockholm?

Global Experience (GE) is a classic embodiment of LBS’s focus on international business and experiential learning. The Sustainability GE is a week-long course where teaching and learning are carried out through company visits, speaker series, lectures, classroom discussions, and final presentations in the form of debates. Renowned for its advanced achievements in transforming the economy for sustainable growth and building resilience against the impact of climate change, Sweden couldn’t be more suited for this learning journey.

What did I learn that will benefit me professionally and personally?

Sustainability’s Vital Role in Business: Companies adopt sustainability strategies for competitiveness, differentiation, or as a purpose-driven approach. Start-ups at KTH Innovation Centre were propelled by a vision of impacting a billion people rather than creating a billion-dollar company.

Businesses are Crucial for Sustainable Economic Development: Businesses play a vital role in driving economic growth and societal improvement. They implement technology, innovate, scale, and create social value and impact more efficiently than other types of organisations.

Insights into Sustainable Investing: A panel discussion on sustainable finance covered regulation, reporting, private capital’s role, and managing sustainability transformation and provided deep insights into the challenges and opportunities in sustainable investing.

Managing Sustainability Transformations: Implementing sustainability involves change and innovation. Emphasising action and resilience, the journey showcased the importance of leadership and data in sustainability transformations. I learnt that, rather than hanging too much on the “right” or “wrong” of certain approaches, it’s more important to experiment with sustainability strategies at the same time of building the economic bottom lines, trusting that failures lay foundations for success.

Stakeholder Collaboration: A thriving planet requires collective contributions from multiple stakeholders beyond the private sector. Insights from the municipal government and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, where the ‘planetary boundaries’ concept was coined, underscored the importance of collaboration across sectors and shared examples of initiatives to this aim.

The Unique Sense of Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship in Sweden: Sweden’s leadership in sustainability is attributed to a sense of personal responsibility and entrepreneurship fostered by strong institutions and a low power distance culture. Throughout the week’s visits, I was impressed with the genuine concern and actions demonstrated by the professionals we met.

Reflections on my sustainable investing journey at LBS:

Prioritise with Intention: Choosing the Sustainability GE from so many other exciting options, I was guided by intentional priority setting, alignment with my aims for the programme and a desire to learn directly from Professor Ioannis Ioannou and his expertise in the topic of sustainability in business and to experience the multitude of perspectives that he had curated for this course.

Authenticity Matters: Coming to LBS, I knew I wanted to pursue sustainable investing as a long-term career, but I wasn’t sure how. But after a few career coach conversations, I realised that I was already sufficiently prepared to pursue a career in sustainable investing; rather than over-thinking, I should act forward. Thereafter, embracing my authentic self and pursuing sustainable investing through all aspects of my studies at LBS has led to valuable connections and long-term friendships. I’m grateful to bring the extensive resources and support from LBS forward with me. They are important, because, sustainability, like many missions of mankind, needs collective efforts to achieve greater heights.

For more information about our experiential learning opportunities at LBS, please click here.

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