• Publish Date: Mar 07, 2022

The official theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2022 (IWD 2022) is, 'Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow', recognising the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.

To commemorate IWD, the Unstereotype Alliance is celebrating the theme with our message, 'Driving a sustainable future through representation and visibility' by highlighting women across the Alliance who are contributing to a sustainable future through their work. Scroll on to explore.

     

Lisa Manley, VP, Thriving People, Global Sustainability, Mars, Incorporated

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

My team and I focus on putting people at the heart of business strategies. We listen to the most vulnerable across our value chain: from farmers in Cote d’Ivoire to factory workers in Thailand. By focusing on improving farmer incomes, advancing respect for human rights, and unlocking opportunities for women, we are enabling people to thrive today and into the future. We show that progress is possible through bold ambitions, collaborative actions, and a focus on delivering impacts that empower people.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

We know that women are leading the fight against climate change. Governments with better female representation have more progressive climate targets and more substantial action against those targets. Corporations with more gender diversity have better ESG performance and better business performance too. And in agricultural communities women are emerging as champions of climate-smart agriculture. The evidence is clear – when women are engaged in sustainability, we see better outcomes for people and the planet we share.

     
   

Payal Jain, Head of Sustainability, Global Production, H&M Group

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

We are proud of the fact that our industry contributes to needed and important job opportunities. The majority of workers in our supplier’s factories are women and we are in markets where legislation and culture can be barriers for women. It is a responsibility and an opportunity to address this, and we do that through our women’s empowerment strategy, focusing on health and safety, representation, career and development and equal pay. It is key that women are represented in relevant forums and that women are supported and equipped to progress in their career – and for example we see an increased share of women supervisors – one step on a continuous journey for gender equality.

     
   

Ryoko Kurokawa, Representative Director Trenders, Inc.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

In order to achieve SDGs, we are required to have more essential and flexible ideas.It is necessary that we incorporate more female voices in order to incorporate diverse perspectives.

     
   

Erika Schunk Vasconcellos, Global Environmental Programs Sr. Manager, Mondelēz International

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

My work supports the decarbonization of our manufacturing operations. My work avoids the emission of almost 200 thousand tons of CO2 per year through the replacement of carbon-intensive electricity for renewable energy. I am very proud of supporting the fight against climate change and helping the world breathe better.

Why do you believe it is important that women are represented across the sustainability sector?

The sustainability challenges are complex and interconnected. They require a different approach than the one that created them in the first place. We actually need everyone engaged, bringing ideas and love to create a more sustainable world. This is not only about women, we need all colors, genders, peoples, ages and  talents.

     
   

Kirsten Hund, Head of Carbon Neutrality, De Beers Group 

How is the work you are doing helping to create a more sustainable future?

A sustainable future has to be a low-carbon future. If we want to keep this world liveable for our children (and their children) we have to bring global emissions down. It is the only way to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. It is my job, and my mission, to bring the De Beers net emissions down to zero, and to do so in the most inclusive, sustainable way possible, through our ‘Reduce, Replace. Recover strategy, and in line with our Building Forever vision. Because it is not just about the emission numbers, it is about what we are doing to reduce them. Have we, for example, created jobs, and conserved biodiversity along the way.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Working on climate, I divide my time between working with the sustainability teams and the technical, engineering teams; and the first tend to be all women, and the second all men. We need a better mix. Above all, we need to strengthen the ‘sustainability angle’ in engineering; it is not just about the nuts and bolts, but about the impact engineering decisions have on people and the environment.

     
   

Fatou Ndiaye, Cocoa Sustainability Officer (Côte d’Ivoire), Mars, Incorporated

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

My role contributes to making my team confident that the Responsible Cocoa Program part of our cocoa sustainability strategy meets our requirements on the ground. I like to say that my role is about making cocoa farmer voices heard while ensuring that our programs are having the expected positive impact on their lives. I work closely with our implementing partners and Suppliers to create more opportunities for cocoa-growing communities with a focus on women’s economic and social empowerment, access to quality education, protecting children and financial inclusion.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Women play an essential role in agricultural farming. They are the backbone of sustainable livelihoods and food security in most cocoa-growing countries. That's why if we want to ensure a sustainable future for the coming generations and have a long-term impact, we need to look at things from a more gender inclusive perspective. Having more women working in the cocoa sustainability sector could help to design and deploy more effective sustainability strategies and build a pathway to create more impact at every level of the cocoa value chain.

     
 

Siobhan Toohill, Chief Sustainability Officer, Westpac

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Solving challenges like climate change, and tackling human rights abuses will be best addressed by inclusive approaches. And the people involved in solutions need to reflect the diversity of our communities – locally, regionally and globally.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future? 

Women can bring unique perspectives given the challenges they may have faced around societal expectations, access to education, personal security and abuse, and workforce participation. Through these collective experiences, the work led by women to tackle these challenges, women are well placed to advocate those who are vulnerable, even voiceless, around the risks of climate change and loss of biodiversity, and in advancing human rights.

     
      

Donna Henderson, Ph.D Principle Pathologist, Mars Wrigley Cacao

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

As Mars’ Principal Plant Pathologist in cacao, my work is focused on the sustainability of modern cocoa farming systems using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles. I look forward to impacting farmers by providing evidence-based methods shown to reduce costs, improve microbial and insect biodiversity of the farming ecosystem, and reduce any harmful impact of farming on the environment and human health. 

What stereotype have you overcome in your role?

Stereotypes of working women in Agricultural sciences and industries are very tough, and many women face career setbacks because of a lack of accountability for merit systems and promotions. Often women are openly denied credit and promotions for their work. I haven’t found that to be the case at Mars. Regardless, the stereotypes remain in our working society and affect upward mobility and career progression over time.


   

Hiroko Yamashita, Director, Corporate Affairs, MetLife Insurance K.K.

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

I believe that diversity, equity and inclusion is essential to build a more confident future for our stakeholders. 

     
   

Summer Zawacky Asset Retirement Advisor & Closure Technical Project Manager De Beers Group

How is the work you are doing helping to create a more sustainable future?

I am very lucky in that my job is literally to help plan and execute sustainable mine closure strategies (from the environmental perspective) and is embedded with ample opportunities for different approaches and new ways of thinking about what is really the most sustainable option for the long term.

     
   

Linda Leopold, Head of Responsible AI & Data, H&M Group

How is the work you are doing helping to create a more sustainable future?

Artificial intelligence is a powerful technology that can help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges. It can be an amazing tool for creating a more sustainable future. And to really reap the benefits of AI, a multitude of perspectives are needed in the development. That’s why it is crucial to encourage more women to enter the field of AI. More diversity leads to better AI!
     
 

Anna Tracey, Senior Marketing Manager Unilever

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

To overcome the monumental challenges we face as a planet, it’s quite simple, we need all hands on deck. We therefore need an equal playing field in which everyone can bring their best, diverse, contributions. By removing the energy and resource-draining barriers of gender inequality, we have the opportunity of unlocking the invaluable contributions that women can bring to the table.

     
   

Vandana C Tilwani, CHRO, Havas Group India

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Unfortunately, women are underrepresented in the processes of decision making in the areas of environment and sustainability at all levels, local or national. It is necessary that a diverse perspective is sought for the global environmental challenges that we face today. Women, especially in the rural parts of the world, are known to have an intimate relationship with nature due to the role they play as food growers and fuel collectors. Their innate respect for nature helps bring balance in the way natural resources are consumed.


     
   

Meltem Bakiler Sahin, Vodafone Turkey Consumer Business Unit Director

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

As Vodafone Turkey, we have a powerful vision for women’s empowerment. We believe that the sustainable development of a country is only possible through digitalization, as well as through the full participation of women in economic and social life. We are working with the aim of achieving equality of opportunity in social and economic life, starting from our business processes. For example, with our “Ben Varım” movement, we aim to show that women are also present in the areas generally identified with men and considered to be male-dominated, to break sexist perceptions, and to encourage women to say “Ben Varım” (I am in) in all those areas they see fit. With this understanding in mind, we have been supporting Beşiktaş Vodafone Women’s Football Team for 10 years. In addition, we are providing digital literacy and digital marketing trainings to women over the age of 18 within our Connected Women project, run by Vodafone Turkey Foundation. To date, we have reached more than 5 thousand women where our new goal is to reach out to a total of 12 thousand women. We believe this kind of projects are quite effective in achieving a sustainable future for our society.

 

     
 

Lebogang Mphaka, Corporate Affairs Manager, De Beers Group

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Globally many women were and are currently undervalued and under utilised. As a group, women and their potential contributions to economic advancements, social progress and environmental protection have been marginalised. I think it is imperative that more women are represented across the sustainability sector to help increase economic growth, reduce poverty, enhance social wellbeing and help ensure sustainable development in all countries.


   

Mahoko Hara, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Tokyo Century Corporation

How is the work you are doing helping to create a more sustainable future?

Tokyo Century is a company that grew on a foundation of a leasing business, which in itself is a recycle and reuse based business that has a high affinity with SDGs. We contribute toward a circular economy in many ways such as through life cycle management of assets and engagement in the renewable energy-related businesses.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Responding to a wide variety of social issues is a core mission for companies. In order to solve these issues, it is imperative to engage people with various viewpoints and backgrounds. In Japan, where the declining birthrate and aging population are leading the way, it is essential for women to play an active role in securing the workforce and achieving economic growth. At Tokyo Century, we are working to develop a variety of new framework, corporate environment, and a culture of inclusiveness, in which each individual can demonstrate his or her abilities to the fullest and realize his or her potential.

     
   

Cathy Pieters, VP Sustainable Ingredients & Cocoa Life, Mondelēz International

How does the work you do help create a more sustainable future?

In my role as the VP for sustainable ingredients, I have the opportunity to drive the strategies that transform MDLZ’ supply chains into sourcing our ingredients sustainably. Given the size of our company and the considerable volumes of ingredients we source every year, and the fact that our products are consumed in so many households across the globe, I believe this transformation can have a true impact on creating a sustainable future.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

From my Cocoa Life experience, where women’s empowerment has been a cross-cutting theme since day one because when women rise, the whole community rises, I have seen first-hand the change women can bring when they are included at decision making levels and benefit from the needed agency. When women’s voices are heard while developing the community action plans in the Cocoa Life communities, we see that education topics are prioritized, enabling more boys and girls to attend school which is excellent prevention to tackle child labour. When women are economically empowered and they earn their own income, they also have a say over how the household income is spent. I’ve seen how this again leads to households investing more in quality education for their children, the future generation of a sustainable future.

 

     
   

Ebru Şenel Erim, Communications & Corporate Affairs Director NAMETRUB, Board Member TUI, Unilever Turkey

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

Gender equality is a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, not only a fundamental human right. As Unilever, we’re transforming our workplaces, our value chain and society at large by applying a gender lens to everything we do in pursuit of our vision of 'no woman left behind'. We have a vision of a world in which every woman and girl can create the kind of life she wishes to lead, unconstrained by harmful norms and stereotypes. And a world, too, in which men and boys are also free from the confines of adverse social norms and stereotypes of manhood and masculinity, and in which economies are growing and creating opportunities for men and women alike. Better use of the world's female population could increase economic growth, reduce poverty, enhance societal well-being, and help ensure sustainable development in all countries.

     

 

Oriele Frank, CEW Board Member

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

CEW UK is an amazing organisation representing the British Beauty industry. We are driving collaboration across the industry with education on key topics such as biodiversity and the impact of sourcing and formulations, the climate crisis and how our industry’s can reduce greenhouse gas emission and reduce waste, as well as promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

I think it is important that women are represented across the sustainability sector, especially in manufacturing, packaging and operations, helping to drive change. We need to work as one on these critical topics and really help lead that in business not only is profit important but planet and people. Without pro-actively protecting our planet and people now, our businesses will struggle in the future.


   

Rumiko Nakata, Director of the Board, Managing Executive Officer, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

There are many issues and themes in realizing sustainability for people, society, and the planet. That is why I believe that bringing together diverse opinions and wisdom, regardless of attributes such as gender, will be an indispensable driving force.

  

     
   

Titilola Alabi, Head of Policy and Public Affairs Guinness Nigeria Plc.

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

One of the most reliable predictors of poverty reduction is the improvement of girls’ education outcomes. The simple act of providing clean water in places like Kebbi, Nasarawa means that young girls in those areas can get the opportunity to go to school rather than spend that time searching for clean water. And getting this education at any level increases their chances of succeeding in life. I have seen first-hand how something as basic as water can make a huge difference in underserved communities, there are fewer under-five deaths, more young girls can go to school thereby reducing the chances of them getting married off at an early age. On a personal note, there is nothing I find more fulfilling than knowing that my work makes a difference.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Having women fully represented in sustainability means that they can be part of making critical decisions that directly affect their wellbeing and this allows them to play an active role in designing the type of solutions that truly work.

     
   

Jemma Gould, VP, Sustainability & Communications, IPG

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

This year at IPG, we have made three major climate commitments that will help drive a more sustainable future. We’ve committed to net zero emissions by 2040, and to guide our achievement of this goal, we set science-based targets to reach by 2030, as well as committing to source 100% renewable electricity across our portfolio by 2030. We understand our impact on the environment for our generation, and those to come, and are committed to lessening our impact. We are also working with our clients on their sustainability programs, finding ways to partner with them, and design programs around sustainable consumption patterns.


Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

The value of gender diversity—particularly in the workplace—is widely acknowledged. Studies have shown that companies with more women leaders outperform those with fewer, across a range of performance metrics. Women bring different perspectives and approaches to business, and, importantly, structural and cultural differences that can lead to more creative and effective solutions. These lifts in outcomes are exactly what is required in the sustainability sector. We view our sustainability commitment broadly. So that it includes not only a commitment to the environment, but also a responsibility to operate an ethical and equitable workplace, where individuals are respected for their work, judged on merit, and where they are comfortable bringing their authentic selves to the workplace. So diversity, equity and inclusion are key elements of sustainability. In all areas of our business, we want to ensure that diverse voices are brought to the table when we make decisions on our business, and when we create solutions for our clients. This, of course, includes sustainability.

     
   

Sally Kahiu, Head of Corporate Communications & Marketing, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

I believe in changing perceptions and attitudes through stories. This is what we have been able to do for the Women In Manufacturing Programme. Being a non-traditional sector it is hard for people to imagine women thriving and succeeding in it. But through our narratives we can create spaces for these imaginations. As a communicator I create possibilities for young women and girls who have not seen themselves represented in images and words in this sector, to envision a place and a future for them in manufacturing.

Women have long been the champions of sustainability even before the world found a language for it! It is not only important for them to be represented but their ideas and vision should be central to sustainability to achieve a wholesome world for all.

   

 Jo Fenn, Project Director, AdGreen

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future? 

At AdGreen we really believe in empowering the advertising production community to reduce their emissions. We provide tools – like our carbon calculator, as well as resources and training to support production teams, helping them to create the same fantastic creative output but on a reduced carbon budget. 

AdGreen is part of a wider industry conversation, addressing the many facets of the sustainable transition, and it’s great to be a part of the bigger picture.

     
   

Hiroko Ohmura, Executive General Manager of Brand Development Unit, Yamaha Corporation

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Just as colorful melodies, harmonies, and rhythms make beautiful music, diverse backgrounds, values, and opinions can lead to better solutions to global issues. More women must be represented across the sustainability sector because it brings such diversity of ideas and innovations. At the same time, giving my voice as a female leader is also important as a role model to empower future women to take an active role to accelerate the changes.

 

     
   

Daniella Foster, Global Vice President and Head of Public Affairs, Science and Sustainability, Bayer Consumer Health

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future? 

A program that’s near and dear to my heart is The Nutrient Gap Initiative, which aims to expand access to vitamins and minerals for 50 million people in underserved communities by 2030. When you don’t have the right nutrition, this can have impact on all aspects of your life and can exacerbate the cycle of poverty because it can stop you from going to work, getting a job and enjoying a good quality of life. So far, we’ve impacted 20 million people in more than 40 countries.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Sustainability is a team sport – we can’t help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges without diversity of thought and skillsets, so it’s important women are well-represented. One of the most important skills needed in our industry are system integrators – people who can bring teams and ideas together. There’s lots of research that shows that women tend to be better at collaboration and having the emotional intelligence to foster team dynamics – these are talents that go a long way when it comes to embedding sustainability into organizations and driving impact.

     
 

Simone Waugh, Managing Director, Publicis Worldwide, Australia

What difference do you think women’s participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

A sustainable future is one where we have equality of voice regardless of age, gender or culture. The dominance and imbalance driven by one gender has created a workplace culture where abuse of power through bulling and sexual misconduct was normalised and largely accepted. And the society we live in has therefore created a culture living with a high incidence of domestic violence and child abuse.

     

 

Susan Josi, Managing Director, Havas Health and You, SEA & ME Region

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

Global studies at various levels have demonstrated that countries with higher female parliamentary representation are more likely to reserve protected land areas. In the corporate world where organisations have more women on its board environment friendly activities are much more integrated in their practices. These are ample proof points to encourage more women to lead initiatives that address environment and climate challenges.

     
   

Abbie Lennox, Head of Regulatory, Medical, Safety & Compliance (RMSC) Bayer Consumer Health

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future? 

We can’t truly have a sustainable future until everyone has what they need to live full, healthy lives. That is why we are working with governments, NGOs, and health industry partners to increase access to nutritional products and medicines in underserved areas for 100 million people, with a particular focus on women’s health and access to micronutrients for children.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

It is so important that more women are represented in sustainability because women are disproportionally affected by things like lack of health care. Having more women represented helps ensure we are developing solutions for women that address their particular needs.
     
 

Satoko Ubukata, Diversity Committee Chair, JAA

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?


As the majority of people who decide to purchase consumer goods and services are said to be women, without women on the advertising creation side, advertising cannot be what consumers want. It is essential for the sustainability of the entire industry to have women empowerment in the ad field.

 

     
   

Sanchita Roy, Head of Strategy, Havas Media Group India

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Communication planning can and should make a difference, not just for brands and businesses but also to our understanding of the world. At Havas, we understand the powerful role that media plays in people’s lives, and it’s potential as a growth driver for businesses. Our philosophy is known as ‘Meaningful Media’. Fundamentally, this means media that is not only trusted, engaging and influential but also ethical and this is where we focus for effective investment on behalf of our clients so that they can have the greatest impact and show up authentically with the right content and in the right context.

     
   

Karen Hackney, Head of External Innovation & Partnerships, Bayer Consumer Health

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future? 

Partnerships are so critical to sustainability because a more sustainable future is a shared benefit and requires contributions from many people working together. It is important to me that we seek out and prioritize creating partnerships that share our vision for furthering sustainability.
     
   

Trisa Ngo, Environmental Scientist, De Beers Group

How is the work you are doing helping to create a more sustainable future?

The management of environmental data, internal/external reporting, and project delivery that I oversee are responsibilities established within a set of critical regulatory requirements. These requirements are created to sustain regional environmental, social, and economic values with the goal of creating a sustainable future.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

I believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector because women bring to the table a perspective that is often overlooked. In the sustainability sector, we need more voices to be heard; we need more life experiences to be represented, and a greater worldview to be understood in order to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable livelihoods within our natural world. With a more nuanced understanding of the many different voices within our industry, we can only strive for a greater future for all.

     
   

Demet Ikiler, GroupM CEO EMEA, WPP Country Chair

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

At WPP we use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. Additionally our capabilities in media, public relations, data and technology – have never been more important. Marketing and communications have the power to shift opinion and change behaviour at the scale needed for a more sustainable and equitable future which of course includes gender equality.

 
     
 

Patricia Corsi, Global Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Bayer Consumer Health

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Representation is key to engaging people on the world’s most pressing issues – and that why it’s so important we make sure that women are represented in the sustainability sector. Doing so will have a positive impact on both our future, and the future of the planet.

 
     
   

Jeanny Franz, Ph.D. Research Fellow Mondelēz International

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Innovation programs delivered by R&D play a major role in minimizing our end-to-end environmental impact. By formulating with the right ingredients, and making our products the right way, we can reduce CO₂ emissions, water use, packaging waste and food waste. As a passionate R&D technical leader, I recently led the development of the MDLZ Eco-Design Tool with the help from MDLZ colleagues in R&D and other functions. The tool helps us assess the carbon and water footprints of our products, from raw materials to manufacturing and distribution. We now have a mechanism to help us calculate impact at brand and business unit level and identify the E2E carbon footprint value-chain hotspots. With this knowledge, we can make better, more climate-responsible portfolio decisions in the future.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

I have learned that women constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most. Therefore, I believe that it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector. Women are the pillars of a society, responsible for teaching new generations how to deal with economic threats and social development in their communities. Empowering women and girls to have a voice and be able to make decisions is important for a more sustainable future. In addition, women and girls are passionate leaders that can drive change!

     
   

Isabel Moreira de Almeida Principal Scientist, Crop Science Lead for Wheat & Grains, Mondelēz International

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

I work on the impact of agriculture on climate change and biodiversity. Agriculture is responsible for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions. So, agriculture is part of the problem but is also a big part of the solution as crops have the ability to naturally sequester carbon into the soil. I am working on solutions to grow wheat differently that could help us decrease our footprint, without impacting farmers livelihood. It is about using our current knowledge to build a different future. The latest results show that we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions related to fertilization by about 25%

     
   

Katie Fergusson, Senior Vice President, Sustainable Impact, De Beers Group

How is the work you are doing helping to create a more sustainable future?

My team work to engage, shape and integrate our Building Forever sustainability ambition across De Beers Group but this involves hundreds of people across the business all working towards our 2030 goals including being carbon neutral across our operations and achieving gender parity within our workforce, to name just two examples.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

As a planet, as a society and as a business we are facing serious and complex environmental and social challenges. The only way that we will find sustainable solutions will be to engage a wide range of diverse perspectives and collaborate with new diverse partners. Historically women have been under represented in leadership and decision making across all sectors - we need to change this fast in order to shape a more equal and sustainable future.

     
   

General Manager, Head of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations Dept., MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

Diversity makes our society strong. Diversified views and ideas will lead to innovation to cope with social issues. If the current challenges we are facing resulted from the society dominated by one gender, women’s presence will be the key for future sustainability of the society.

     
   

Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

A very significant difference. About 40% of the world's wealth is in the hands of women and recent research has shown that women are more likely to consider investing in sustainable investments. Women buy about 85% of everyday goods and as consumers they are more sensitive to things like 'fair trade' and sustainable sourcing. If a significant proportion of women choose to change their habits in a way that contributes to emissions reduction, it will have a massive impact on the planet.

What women inspire you in the sustainability sector / women who are contributing to a sustainable future?

Christiana Figueres is co-founder of Global Optimism and co-host of the Outrage & Optimism podcast, as well as co-author of The Future We Choose. Christiana has had a relentless focus on establishing an international climate agenda and her hard work as the Executive Secretary of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) led to the Paris Agreement of 2015. Greta Thunberg, now 18, is an inspiring young woman who is a very passionate and effective environmental activist. As a result of her role modelling, I have seen more and more young people and particularly girls step into this space.  Let's not forget that companies now have sustainability heads and interestingly there are more women in this role than men inside companies. Mastercard is no exception; our head of inclusive growth Shamina Singh sits on the management committee with me and our head of Sustainability Kristina Kloberdanz reports to her.

     
   

Alanna Turpin, Director, Sustainability & Culture, Omnicom Media Group MENA

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

I have been the sustainability lead at Omnicom Media Group MENA for 7 years and in that time, we have created a more environmentally friendly building to reduce our footprint on the planet. We have implemented initiatives such as optimizing our energy by installing a building energy management system reducing consumption by 6% and water consumption by 9% in the first year. We manage our waste and recycling and removed all plastic from the building saving 16 tonnes of carbon in year one. Alongside that, we have driven many awareness campaigns, often supporting these with community initiatives for our employees, such as beach, desert and mangrove clean ups, and building water filtration tanks in villages within countries that have no access to clean running water. We do this for them to see the real impact of their actions. Many employees have become ambassadors with local non profits, guided their children into youth programmes and even connected with us to ask for support when they’ve moved onto a new employer.

   

 

 

Monica Biagiotti, Executive VP, Consumer Marketing & Sponsorships, Mastercard

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

As marketers, we know that women hold the majority of consumer purchasing power, so they are a crucial target to reach. Women are especially critical in our sustainability efforts as, according to Kantar research, women are more likely to say they feel the personal effects of social and environmental issues and therefore take action to combat it and drive a more sustainable future. In our efforts towards communicating the importance of conscious consumption, women will play a pivotal role in bringing this movement to life.

 
   

Martine Jager, AANA member

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future? 

I am proud to say that last year BOQ was the first bank in Australia to make debit cards from recycled plastic which means that instead of tonnes of industrial waste ending up in landfill, it will be used to make more than half a million new debit cards. This is enough to sustainably serve our customers over the next three years. Last year we achieved carbon neutral certification and we are committed to achieving Financial Sector ESG targets and policy changes.  Our initiatives include digital including statements (paper zero), eco-friendly branch design, flexible working (reducing carbon footprint), and development of green products which reward environmentally friendly activities.  It’s great to be able to support our customers in their journey to live a more sustainable life.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

There are so many ways in which women’s participation can made a difference. Amazing activists such as Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, and Dian Fossey, have raised awareness, influenced accountability and provided fantastic role models. In the last couple of months, Jane Hunter (CEO of Brisbane based company, Tritium) together with President Joe Biden announced that the Australian electric vehicle charging company is planning to build its first U.S. manufacturing facility. But you don’t have to be an activist or a CEO to make a change. The majority of unpaid indoor housework, cooking and care still falls to women and while sub-optimal, this presents a huge opportunity for women to drive a sustainable future. Our daily decisions about household consumables and lifestyle options – for example, shopping bags, packaging, food wrappings, nappies, choosing environmentally friendly brands – can collectively have a massive effect on a sustainable future.


     

 

Sarah Jenkinson, Brand Manager, Elevit, Bayer Consumer Health Australia

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Women play a vital role in meeting and anticipating the needs of communities right across the world, often acting as agents of change for development. To respond to the challenges and opportunities facing the world’s people and planet today, our sustainability sector must reflect our world’s vast and diverse societies. The most innovative ideas and solutions can only be produced with diverse and inclusive thinking, which is why more equal representation in sustainability and other sectors is so important.

     
   

Preola Adam, Sustainability Manager, Unilever

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

I work at the intersection between livelihoods and climate change, helping to build partnerships that enable job creation while at the same time, protecting our environment. Job creation and poverty alleviation affects absolutely every sustainable development goal and to create jobs that ensure social and economic inclusion while at the same time protecting our environment creates so much compounded impact! 

One example of this is informal waste pickers - who play a vital role in the waste economy across Africa. Despite being the backbone of the recycling economy, they are sadly socially and economically excluded from the value chain. I have been working with partners and wastepickers - to test, prove and scale up models that enable increased collection of recyclables (which helps them to earn more money) and very importantly drive inclusion of wastepickers.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

We live in a society – or should I say – the society that has been created – is one is which women have it harder than men.  It is a statistical fact. Whether its an economic recession, the climate crisis, lack of water and sanitation, lack of proper healthcare or violence  - women are more affected by these problems.  And therefore women must play a pivotal role is solving them.  Women not only have the technical, strategic and leadership skills to solve these problems,  but also the empathy to truly understand these issues and build a better, more inclusive, sustainable future.

     
   

Linda Kirkpatrick, Executive Vice President North America Mastercard

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

Diversity boosts innovation and strengthens resilience. Companies with above-average diversity on their management teams reported 45% increase in total revenue, compared to 26% reported by companies with below-average leadership diversity. Together, we must continue to close the gender gap in education and business to help drive more equitable and sustainable growth.

 

     
   

Maeve Hall, SHE Water Stewardship Lead, Unilever 

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Water security is at the heart of the climate adaptation agenda, in preparing for a warmer climate. I work with hundreds of people across our global manufacturing network, to deliver our water programme, minimising Unilever’s water use whilst using our presence to create positive change for the communities where we operate. I led the programme which reduced the water footprint of our manufacturing facilities by nearly 50% over a 10-year period.

In 2020 Unilever built on this and we have begun our journey to implement water stewardship programmes in 100 of our most water stressed locations, working with communities and peers to increase resilience to shared water challenges and climate change.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

We know that Climate impacts disproportionately affect women and further exacerbate already existing inequalities in society. Women living on the front line have a huge insight into the policies and innovation needed to adapt to climate change. Despite this, today, less than 3% of venture capital funding goes to female led start-ups, and women represent around 26% of speaking time at UN Climate Conferences. Women’s voices and minds are essential in addressing the climate crisis and need to be represented in education, STEM, communications, policy making as part of the sustainability sector.

     
   

Lisa Ronson, Chief Marketing Officer, Coles Group Australia and AANA member

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

As one of Australia’s largest companies, we recognise that our sustainability ambitions can drive momentum and activate change. Our Sustainability Strategy has two focus areas — Together to Zero and Better Together. Together to Zero sets our ambitions of together to zero emissions, zero waste and zero hunger. Better Together recognises that when we work together, we can make a real difference to our team members, our suppliers, our customers and to the communities in which we live and work. By launching the Sustainability Strategy, and supporting it strongly across various marketing communication channels (in-store signage; TV, digital and print advertising; and social media), we are not only highlighting Coles ambitions but the role we all have to play in creating a sustainable future.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Everyone benefits from gender equity not just the sustainability sector. In gender equity at Coles, we are focussed on fairness for all genders and addressing historical imbalance in access to opportunities.

 
     
   

Lorna Ash, Head of Homecare, Unilever ANZ 

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

In leading the Unilever Homecare ANZ business I am responsible for making decisions in the short and long term that will help us reach our sustainability targets. In the last two years we have increased the PCR content in our bottles and moved to plant derived stain removers among many other projects within our clean futures agenda. However, I think the impact that motivates me is giving everyday Australian and Kiwi consumers products that do a terrific job on their laundry but also help them make an easy sustainable choice with no need for them to change anything but the brand they buy. I believe it is important for these choices to be easy for people and not a sacrifice if we are going to drive change.

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

I think with all diversity comes diverse thinking, having women included can only help this. I’m constantly amazed by my daughter's understanding and passion in wanting to be kinder to our planet and it gives me hope that these big sustainability changes needed are possible.

     
   

Miki Oikawa, President, Pola Inc.

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

All my work is linked to the creation of a sustainable future. The development of human resources (especially women) who are rooted in the local community and who will take the initiative to develop businesses; the development of a workplace environment where they can stay true to themselves and which does not view childbirth and childcare as a handicap; and the approach to the development of new products that move us toward the creation of a sustainable global environment. We are tackling the challenge of structuring all our corporate activities based on our vision of "a society full of connections that offers belief in the potential of oneself and society."

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

I think that this is important not only in the field of sustainability. Women make up half of society’s population, yet form the minority in the realm of decision-making, and tend to be left behind in the social structure. To that extent, they are more likely to become socially vulnerable persons who are exposed to poverty and various forms of discrimination. One of the first principles of the SDGs advocates “leaving no one behind.” Unless women, who make up half of humankind, are first included among the people who are not “left behind,” wouldn’t it be impossible to turn our focus onto successive groups of minorities (of which there are many)?

     
   

Başak Karaca, General Manager, Coca-Cola Turkey

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

We want to makes a positive difference in people’s lives, communities, and our planet, to create a more sustainable business and better shared future for all. We believe that the environmental, social and corporate governance goals we have set for ourselves are the building blocks of this sustainable future for long term business and the society. In this respect, we make a tremendous effort for a sustainable future and enable the change through the projects we create in the fields of Women’s Empowerment, A World Without Waste, Water Recovery and Community Contributions. We pull out all the stops in order to develop meaningful policies together with our stakeholders in the business world, the civil society and state institutions and organizations. Our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals and initiatives are anchored by our purpose and are core to our growth strategy.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

The empowerment and recognition of women in society holds an important place in Coca-Cola’s sustainability strategy. As in numerous issues the humanity has been struggling, women, along with children, are positioned as the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, as they represent the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most. Yet similarly, women are effective and powerful leaders and change-makers.


     
   

Emma Montgomery, CEO, Leo Burnett, Australia

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

It might sound counterintuitive to think of advertising playing a lead role in a more sustainable future, but for us, change making is where our superpowers truly lie. Creativity has a unique power to change human behaviour, and we are putting this into practice by inviting people to seek, adopt, and advocate for more sustainable practices across multiple areas of their lives.

At Leo Burnett, we are on a mission to make sustainability a populist notion for everyone and are proud to work with some of Australia’s leading brands to drive this change.  Whether it’s helping Suncorp develop One House to Save Many, an innovative approach to home building designed to build resilience in the face of climate change; or helping Diageo launch Reeftip, directly aiding coral conservation in their North Queensland backyard; we are building the future by shifting habits with mainstream Australia, one action at a time.

What difference do you think women’s participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

A sustainable future is one where we have equality of voice regardless of age, gender or culture. The dominance and imbalance driven by one gender has created a workplace culture where abuse of power through bulling and sexual misconduct was normalised and largely accepted. And the society we live in has therefore created a culture living with a high incidence of domestic violence and child abuse. Now is the time for change as we see women speaking up and refusing to be silenced, and it’s hard for them in the face of criticism and judgement. The benefit of enabling women’s voices to rise up for our future is they see the world and approach problems through a different lens.

And so when we hear more female voices in our top ASX boardrooms and in our Parliaments and if we really listen and respond we will then be enabled to tackle foundationally the toughest of today’s issues. And so in the marcomms industry we need more female creative thinkers to bring their insight and perspectives into creating real solutions. In the past we’ve lost our females in the industry due to the culture of impossible timelines and demands while also trying to manage a life outside of work. But this is changing. I’m proud to be part of the grassroots enabling and empowering the voices of women to create sustainable change in our society and culture.


     
   

Sue Oddie, Board Member, AANA 

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

As mothers, sisters and daughters we can have a significant impact on decisions that shape our future world. We can also do this as consumers, investors, leaders and decision makers in business. UN studies show that women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Roles as primary caregivers and providers of food and fuel make women more vulnerable when disasters occur. Globally women are more likely to experience poverty and to have less socioeconomic power than men. The UN has highlighted the need for gender sensitive responses to the impacts of climate change, yet the average representation of women in national and global climate negotiating bodies is below 30%. It's important women participate in all major decisions and are equally represented across the sustainability sector. This will enable better decisions - both in relation to resource allocation, and in harnessing the unique lens and impact women can make to create a more sustainable future.

     
   

Amy Lyden, CEO (Acting), Westpac Foundation & Westpac Scholars Trust

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

At Westpac Foundation and Westpac Scholars Trust, we award almost $7 million in grants and scholarships annually to organisations and individuals who are creating a better future. From investing in social enterprises to create jobs and opportunities for people overcoming barriers to work, to backing a new generation of leaders with the potential to make positive change, the work we do is fundamentally about helping build a stronger and more inclusive Australia.

Which women inspire you in the sustainability sector?

I’m inspired by the many women the Westpac Foundation supports. One in particular is Sally Quinn, co-founder of Green Collect, who is challenging traditional business models to create greater impact for her community. Green Collect is a social enterprise that is reducing waste – in fact they diverted 125 tonnes of waste from landfill last year alone. They are also providing jobs for people who struggle to secure work in the mainstream job market. Sally is addressing some of the most complex human and environmental challenges facing Australia. She’s one of the hundreds of leaders the Westpac Foundation proudly supports who are contributing to a sustainable future. 

     
   

Kiyoko Ikegami, Chair of the Board, Plan International Japan

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Plan International's top priority is to provide educational opportunities to the most vulnerable girls, who are subject to discrimination and unfair treatment in the face of growing crises such as climate change and rising inequality. This is because education promotes girls' independence and provides the basis for them to think and act on issues by mobilizing their own abilities. In other words, the knowledge and skills to solve problems that girls acquire through education are the key to making positive changes for a sustainable future.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

More than half of the population on the planet today are girls and women. Only by ensuring that the perspectives of these girls and women are considered, their voices are reflected, and only when they are included in the decision-making process, equity could be ensured and guaranteed. In addition, it is not only essential to promote and defend girls' rights and achieve gender equality, but also crucial to build a peaceful and inclusive society for a sustainable future.

     
   

Temitope Ayeni, Director, Brand Management, X3M Ideas Nigeria

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Working in the creativity industry, I have the opportunity to develop and get clients to back ideas that create awareness towards human and social issues with the ultimate aim of instigating change. This helps contribute to building a more sustainable future starting with our immediate locality. Some of such recent campaigns that I hold dear is the “Nirvana Premium Table Water - Headlines of innocence” for children’s day where we conducted a social experiment around a societal issue of child abuse and how children are really just innocent, have the right to live without fear of violence and that we should do everything within our means to protect them. This campaign gained a lot of awareness within the industry in Nigeria and outside the country.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

The importance of women’s representation across the sustainability sector cannot be questioned or overemphasized. In my view a woman’s perspective on all relevant pillars of sustainability such as human, social, environmental and economy is very crucial. We care, we manage large scale teams and programs, we nurture, we solve problems and we have great foresight. In summation, our risk-smart approach, people and leadership skills is crucial to attaining sustainability.
     
   

Inge Jacobs Sr Manager Human Rights & Social Impact Mars, International

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

My role focuses on developing strategies and programs that contribute to thriving cocoa farming households and communities to ensure a sustainable supply of cocoa for generations to come. This includes respecting human rights, advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality and improving farmer household income. Every country where we source from has a different context, so we aim to adjust our programs to the specific needs of the smallholder farmers we source from. One such program is the Village Savings and Loans program that is being implemented by our partner CARE and for which we committed $10M to scale it across Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Today, more than 43,000 beneficiaries (of whom 80% are women) have access to savings and loans to invest in their businesses and family needs, access to more formal financial services as well as access to training on topics ranging from leadership, to literacy and child wellbeing.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Today, in the cocoa sector (but also in other sectors), women are less represented in key financial, commercial, social and leadership roles. This is true at all levels of the cocoa supply chain, from farms to service providers to management teams to board rooms, and this also holds true for both the private and the public sector. Despite the significant increase in programs benefiting women and investments made towards those programs, today, we are still seeing that the aspirations and needs of women are still not considered, valued and favored equally. That is why we need to have more women in key decision making roles so they can promote decisions and strategies that will take into account these specific needs and we need more female role models for young girls in the sector so they can aspire to having the roles they’d like and dream of.

     
   

Mubina Ansari, Director, Marketing & Communications, Samhita Social Ventures

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

Women make all the difference! They have the knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt and come up with practical solutions. However, they are still a largely untapped resource. In my current role and throughout my profession experience, I’ve seen women being the drivers and backbone behind everything – from leading large corporates, to driving  cooperatives and being entrepreneurs – all in their quest to enhance their livelihoods and communities. Supporting women to reach their potential is a win-win for everyone.

     
   

Kumiko Shirai, Corporate Officer of Global Business, Nihon Unisys, Ltd.

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Our mission is to hand over the earth, which is our precious shared asset, to the next generation. From April 2022 when we will operate under our new company name BIPROGY Inc., we will work across organizations, cultures, and countries to build and grow the Digital Commons that unlocks the full potential of technology to create a society where everyone can live happily.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Empowerment, inclusion, and resilience are essential for better sustainability. I believe that having more representation by women, who are the majority of the minority, is the first step towards inclusion of the diversity of all individuals.

     
   

Gaye Sunerli, Board Member & Vice President Sales, P&G Turkey CCAR 

What difference do you think women's participation can make in driving a sustainable future?

Demanding an equal future is a basic human right, and there is a lot of research and data showing that women's participation in business and social life will greatly increase the welfare level of countries. Moreover, there is a fact that we see even when we leave all these numerical information aside.

     
   

Ashley Duval PhD, Scientist Genetics, VP Technology, Mars Wrigley

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

I am a member of the Plant Sciences Genetics and Breeding Team in Davis, where I manage our greenhouse research and study how we can apply the genetic diversity of cacao towards breeding more resilient trees under extreme and harsh conditions. We have assembled in our greenhouses hundreds of plants that represent the genetic diversity within the species. Many of these trees are cloned from plants that were collected in the wild nearly a century ago, in habitats that no longer exist. We are able to not only conserve the genetic diversity here but also use it to understand which plants may have special adaptations to extreme conditions, such as drought, cold, heat, flooding and high light. With conditions predicted to change and become more extreme throughout the growing region of cacao, our work here will help us adapt the crop to harsh conditions, grow it in regions that might not traditionally be suitable for growing cacao, and increase or stabilize yields for farmers.

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

According to the UN, women comprise 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, but receive only 5% of the extension services and training. Globally only 15% of extension service providers are women. If women had access to the same resources as men, it is estimated that farm yields could increase by 20-30% with direct ramifications on food security and household income. Representation of more women in agriculture to deliver trainings, extension, education and outreach is key to helping close that gender gap. 

     
     

Annie Wu, Global Lead for Inclusion & Diversity at H&M Group

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

With growing inequalities and unequal access to opportunities (exacerbated by the global pandemic) – by being inclusive through the course of our business – from H&M Group we can make a positive impact in peoples' lives. Increasingly, this is expected from businesses and goes in line with our values and direction of meaningful growth. We do this by increasing awareness of Inclusion & Diversity or enabling opportunities for people across our value chain through global and local partnerships, among other initiatives. More than 70.000 employees have received our inclusion and diversity trainings since 2018 and SEK 223.8 million is the total amount donated through Community investment initiatives only in 2021.
     
   

Laura Akunga, Chairperson, AWEP, Kenya

Why do you believe it is important that more women are represented across the sustainability sector?

Women are powerful, women are known to build, to nurture, to protect. Women are smart and driven. The sustainability of our economy is our collective responsibility. Especially now, the magic of women is greatly required.
     
 

Hiroe Inaba, Executive Officer, Unicharm Corporation

How does the work you do help to create a more sustainable future?

Unicharm's business activities are guided by the purpose (the reason for existence)  of "contributing to the achievement of the SDGs". Our activities cover not only people but also partner animals (pets), and we aim to help create a society where women around the world can shine through our business. To achieve this goal, we will continue to provide products and services that match the characteristics of each country and region, and keep creating workplaces.