Andrea Learned

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Notes from a Sustainability Change Agent: Interview 1

Since I’m starting to interview internal corporate sustainability change agents for several projects, I thought it’d be a good time to just launch a series of “initial insight” note posts.  I have a feeling, like this time, I’ll get off the phone or complete the interview and be really excited by what has filtered out of my conversations.  (I can’t wait for however long it might take me to be able to write a more “shaped” piece – so hopefully this preview will spark new thinking for some of you immediately.)

Interviewee #1: Female, late 40s, Mid-level Manager, Fortune 100 Corp, Non-marketing/communications position, a “green team” founder


  • Her sustainability drive comes from an efficiency “lens,” more than anything, which serves the corporation’s interests. There is usually a cost savings or cost neutral ROI to what she proposes.
  • It takes tenacity and a few like-inspired people to get any ball rolling among fellow employees and within the not atypical corporate bureaucracy, but it has been incredibly personally rewarding.
  • There’s a noticeable extra enthusiasm for “green thinking” among younger generation colleagues.
  • Having kids, AND owning pets and owning a home heightened her own existing interest in efficiency, health, simplicity and routine.
  • Her most rewarding “green team” event attracted colleagues who had NOT gotten involved before, but were immediately changed by the few hours of the work project – and helped build the team from there.
  • Corporations start to engage with sustainability more easily at a time of facility transition: as when they open new facilities/office spaces. (Her example: styrofoam cups in the various office kitchenettes were something that needed to be phased out in the building where she is located, while a newer site never started the styrofoam cup ordering habit to begin.)
  • Her involvement – and, again, tenacity – in this effort has been a way to become more known/recognized in this large corporation, beyond her regular position.


Your company should be noticing and rewarding employees who are doing similar things of their own accord.

(There will be more of what I learned from Change Agent #1, and others, as I begin to compile and sort my data.  Let me know if this was of interest!)