Sustainability in my eyes: Getting everyone on board to make win-win impacts

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Why sustainability? A shift of mindset from passive reaction to active prevention

As a student, I majored in environmental engineering and then environmental health. The knowledge I acquired at university enabled me to utilize engineering methods to treat pollution and explore the intricate relationship between environmental exposure and health effects. These are certainly important endeavors that we must painstakingly address, yet a question has always been lingering in my mind. Can we do something beforehand to avoid adversities rather than focusing on the remediation afterwards?  

I had the opportunity to learn about sustainable development. Several courses I took introduced me to the concept from different perspectives. Sustainability attaches significance on decoupling our growth from over-exploitation of resources, highlighting the harmony not only between humans and nature, but between ourselves and our future generations. Therefore, it hit me as a golden solution to my question. From then I had made up my mind to work in this field, proactively taking measures to ensure a sustainable future and ongoing prosperity for humans and this planet.  

Why Schneider Electric? It’s all about making an impact. 

To me, actions towards sustainability should be promoted within every entity and individual. Enterprises, as industrial practitioners, and products or service providers, play an essential role on the journey of sustainable development. With an increasing awareness of environmental and social impacts of business operations, I have witnessed the growing demand to integrate sustainability into corporate strategies. I believe that this would be a significant differentiator to make a company successful.

Then one day, I came across the Schneider Electric website. I was amazed that it places sustainability at such a strategically high level of the whole business. “If I can get into this company, I would definitely learn a lot about sustainable business practice!” I thought to myself. So I grasped the opportunity to apply for the job opening in 2022 spring. To my delight, I am now here! 

Working as a sustainability engineer at Schneider Electric for 2 years, I have had a great platform to learn and grow.

I embarked on my journey at Schneider by driving initiatives on resource efficiency and circular transformations in Global Supply Chain in China. To initiate circular business models, I have not only conducted cross-function coordination with colleagues from different parts of the business (for instance, our Services team, Eco-design, Finance, Legal, etc.), but also widely connected with upstream and downstream stakeholders.

During my work to promote circular transformations, it occurred to me that it is very important to think from others’ perspectives to get their support and drive actions. Sustainability requires everyone to work together and generates beneficial effects to multiple players.

The circular drive offer we just launched this March is a perfect example.

I am a core member to push forward the project, together with colleagues from Services Marketing, Supply Chain, Technical, Finance, etc. We focus on different domains and collaborate to make the very first circular offer go to market in China. Circular products themselves, from an environmental perspective, can avoid scrapping, reduce primary resource consumption and value-chain CO2 emissions. From a business perspective, circular offers will bring new opportunities for growth to our company. From customer’s perspective, circular products also enable them to react rapidly to downtimes due to their availability and fast delivery and provides them with multiple benefits on cost effectiveness and environmental propositions.

As you can see, true sustainability is bringing everyone on the table. Addressing each stakeholder’s pain points, and achieving win-win results.  

It is a pleasure to work in a great team of a great company. 

To me, a good working environment is very important. After joining Schneider Electric, I feel very lucky that I can work with such a group of people with open and inclusive minds. I can personally feel the great dynamics in the company whenever communicating with my teammates and other colleagues. Here in Schneider, people always welcome, listen to and value others’ opinions. I especially appreciate the team I work in (SERE (Safety, Environment, Real Estate) & Sustainability China). They are very passionate about their work and willing to share their experience. Not only have I gained in-depth professional knowledge by working with them, but also their attitude and spirits have profoundly inspired me. It is such a wonderful experience to work in this great team of this great company! 

As a new grad joining Schneider Electric, I am grateful for the skills and horizons I have acquired. From a complete novice entering workplace without any real-world industrial experience, I have grown into a proactive impact maker to promote sustainability throughout our supply chain, thanks to the amazing opportunities and exposure that Schneider Electric has offered me. 

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About the author

Author Profile

Yunfei Li

Yunfei Li is a Sustainability Engineer focusing on supply chain circular transformation for China region. She currently works in Beijing. She joined Schneider Electric starts in Aug 2022 after she got her master’s degree in environmental health. Yunfei endeavors to promote sustainable actions at every level, combine sustainability and business, and bring about multiple benefits to various stakeholders. 

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