Interview with Lucia Garzaron, CSR analyst
Great to meet you! First of all, can you tell me about yourself – where are you from and what do you do?
I’m originally from Argentina and I grew up in this amazing country. After completing my university studies in economics and my full-time MBA, I moved abroad, and I have now been living in Luxembourg since 2008. I’m very happy to live in this beautiful country!
Five years ago, I decided to focus my professional work on sustainability, which is why I studied in 2020 the Business Sustainability Management and the Sustainable Finance courses with Cambridge University. I also obtained the GRI certification in 2022 – from the Global Reporting Initiative.
As you can see, in the last few years I was very focused on updating my sustainability knowledge.
Now I’m working at an energy and utilities company in Luxembourg called Encevo, where we are advancing on the energy transition.
Very interesting. What made you focus on sustainability in your studies and work?
It has been a dream to me since I was very young, as I always had a strong connection with nature. Getting to know about the environmental issues as I was growing up made me feel very sad, so I knew already at an early age that I wanted to work on something related to sustainability to help our planet.
At the time of choosing my career, sustainability programs in universities were still relatively new and risky, and sustainability was also less relevant to companies, which is why I initially chose something more traditional like economics. However, I already wrote my final thesis on a subject related to the environment, as I did an analysis of the regulatory environment of a very polluted river in Buenos Aires called Matanza Riachuelo.
I already knew from a very young age that I wanted to work on something linked to sustainability.
After working in other areas like brand strategy and corporate strategy for several years, I decided to focus on sustainability.
Was there something that intrigued you about the energy sector in particular?
My main interest has always been sustainability, so I’m quite open-minded towards the sectors. What is important to me is to contribute meaningfully. I also used to work in the food and agriculture industry, and I think that’s another interesting sector to have an impact on. Nowadays, you can find sustainability work in every sector.
In the energy industry, the focus today is on GHG emissions reductions and the journey towards net zero, while securing energy supply at affordable prices. Likewise, if you look at the broad food and agriculture industry, GHG emissions represent today around 25% of total global GHG emissions, and GHG emissions reduction is a material topic. Thus, climate change mitigation and the transition to sustainable farming is a very important theme to the food and agriculture industry while at the same time ensuring quality and affordable food for the global population.
The food and agriculture industry faces other relevant themes in the supply side, like climate change adaptation, land and water restoration and conservation, and the protection of biodiversity. On the demand side other themes stand out, like promoting healthier, more nutritious, and sustainable diets.
Indeed, these two industries are connected in multiple ways if you think about the use of crops and biomass streams to produce bio-energies, or the use of hydrocarbons to produce fertilizers. Moreover, both industries are very active in developing and investing in climate tech innovations that aim at contributing to climate change mitigation.
These are just some examples of how the sustainability imperative is transversal to all industries and how solutions can be found and implemented that contribute to different industries in synergistic ways.
How does your work and knowledge impact you to become more sustainable yourself?
I’m definitely conscious of my choices and want to make a better world for our children. I constantly try to improve my lifestyle, little by little, like trying out more sustainable brands and replacing different products, and I always check labels. It is also very important for me to try to consume less, to really reflect before a potential purchase and evaluate whether it’s necessary.
For instance, I don’t want to have a very large house. Also, I like to ride a bicycle and try to use it whenever possible instead of the car. Overall, I’m far from having a completely “sustainable” lifestyle, but I do try to make better choices.
At the same time, brands and products are evolving, so we have more sustainable options available which is helpful.
These choices need to match the quality and price of traditional products, which is not easy, but I like supporting these developments.
Speaking of products, what do you think consumers should pay attention to when evaluating the sustainability of businesses – for instance, to identify greenwashing?
I think the main issue is when companies make broad claims in their labels like “sustainable clothes”. I usually mistrust that because it’s near impossible to be 100% sustainable. Nowadays, companies are being more specific with their statements.
For instance, fashion labels are communicating the use of specific ingredients or processes used, and they make more transparent claims which is great progress, like the use of sustainable cotton, or the use of less water in the production process. Of course, it may still be imperfect because of the many tradeoffs.
I also think that sustainability education is very important, and I try to share that with my children.
For instance, we have decided that our children would take the bus to school as it is a more sustainable option, and actually, they became very conscious of that and were proud to make more sustainable choices.
Moreover, at school there is a person responsible of driving sustainability and I offered her different ideas and support. The school is now building a new gym for which they analyzed different heating options to make it more sustainable, and in 2021 they did a climate pledge with a net-zero commitment.
My daughter took this year the role of Eco Agent in her year 6 class and has been participating in very interesting eco-projects within the school, which also helped her grow, feel proud and gain confidence in herself.
All these things are very important and definitely have an impact.
That’s a great example! What advice would you have for others that want to get involved in sustainability and ultimately work in that field as you do?
Nowadays, there are many great options such as sustainability degrees, programs and certificates. In reality, sustainability touches every point in the organization, so it’s not only a CSR topic, but really relates to every role in an organization.
Everyone should take care of their work from a sustainable viewpoint, all across the company. But that’s still a work in progress.
Thank you for this advice! Do you have any last words for the Komoneed community?
Yes, I do.
For those who want to make changes in their lives, it’s advisable to do incremental changes, little by little.
That way, you can incorporate these changes and build new habits. Otherwise, you might feel overwhelmed and give up – so focus on one step at a time.