Sustainability day 2019 – a day focusing on the future

Lazarus Fotoh is lecturer at Karlstad Business School. Photo:_ Iselin Sundberg

The first thing I have to say regarding sustainability day is I feel a great honor to be a part of it. I am really glad to be a part of this historic moment. I got a clear vision of sustainable goal for 2030.

This year, our university is celebrating sustainability day in a row, where Samuel Sebhatu started with some highlighted area of sustainability by working with PRME, Principles for Responsible Management Education. In this discussion I got a clear view of the purpose of PRME.

After that, when Martin Löfgren, prefect for Karlstad Business School, went though his part, I understood the importance of sustainable plan in this destructive era. When Marie-Therese Christiansson, lecturer , came and describe about the activity to drive 2030 plan of sustainability, I found me in right hand.

Then I got to know about Marie Stenseke, professor of cultural geography, who told me what will be a global challenge that we are going to face in near future for a sustainable world. What will be the obstacles for the sustainable vision for 2030. We can make our self prepare for those obstacle to overcome. It makes me ready for facing those things boldly.

When the panel discussion took place, I found how everyone is working so hardly to achieve the goal of 2030. Some of it shook me from the inside, and I decided to learn some more of the topic. I managed some valuable time with Lazarus Fotoh, lecturer of Karlstad Business School., who thinks living the good habits in yourself is a starting point for a sustainable world.

What is sustainability mean to you?

– Well, to me sustainability, I’ll go with a traditional definition which is not only achieving the economical growth but also developing social environment as well environmental aspects. To me sustainability must be balanced in a social, an environmental and an economical aspect of growth. So, one aspect can not lack on the sack of profitability by overlapping social and environmental aspect. It should be balanced between these three items to ensure sustainability. If we can do so that what I call sustainability to me.

What are doing now regarding this issue?
– As a teacher, I am very much involved in discussing sustainable business and leadership. My goal is not just to conduct seminars or giving lectures on this issue. My goal is to impact this knowledge and take consent of students. Specially those students who are becoming business leaders within a near future. I want to make them to know the importance of sustainability business. I want they to carry it out as an asset to the business world. So, my main objective is to spread the message to my students and as well as to live sustainability in my daily life. Not just to speak and not just only in speaking. I want to live and practice what I teach to my students. I believe living is the best way of giving examples of sustainability.

Can you give me some examples what are you doing in your regular life for a sustainable future?
– First of all, I always take a walk to the university. I never drive to the university, even sometime when I need to go to the city center I push my self to have a long walk towards the city center rather then driving. I always give attention to consume the resources. So I always consume only what I need in my home. I always buy that much of food that I can consume. I also focus on some financial activities which is a part of social activities. I am doing that for the people of Africa as well as some other places. So basically, I focus on the socio-environmental aspects. I never consume so much electricity. I am also very conscious to my eco footprints. I always try to get only what I need.

Which sustainable goals are you supporting for the future?
– Personally, I do not work on any individual goal. But I think connective achieving all the goals will lead us to sustainability. Ok, personally if I look at all the goals, I found all of them are related to each other and important. So, I really do not focus on ant individual but have same focus on all. I think my goal is to teach my students and try to implement all of that in my personal life of this goals.

How much did you enjoy the sustainability day 2019 held at our university?
– Yeah, I was quite enjoyable when they talked so inspirational. I also learned a lot too, especially from the companies like IKEA and from the guest lecturer we had from Gothenburg. It was quite inspirational, I must say that. Nowadays, corporations are giving attention to this and they are taking steps to mitigate the impact on environment, as well as the academic part was quite interesting. The number of publication and research work are taking place regarding sustainable development.

Do you really think the sustainable plan of IKEA is truly applicable?
– Well, to a greater extend I have to say that they are a champion in sustainability. But if I consider them for 100 per cent, I’ll say no. Obviously, they have taken good steps which can be followed by other big corporations. Well, others could argued that it is legitimating to use this sustainable plan as a part of their business. If they practice this plan, I must say something good will be brought by them in near future. So, in my opinion they are not perfect but what they are doing is good step forward.

If I urge you to give feedback in YES or NO regarding IKEA plan what would you choose?
– Yes, I think they are doing sustainable business.

What is your opinion regarding the profitability of a sustainable business? Is it always profitable?
– In an academic perspective there are mixed result regarding this issue. I think in current contemporary studies highlighted that most business of those who switch to sustainability generally tend to have a higher profit because it is kind of a trend nowadays. So, a lot of customers and investors wants to engage in businesses sustainable activities. Therefore, corporations which intends to sustainable business are rewarded by higher margin subsequently higher profit. I think although now it is somewhat costly but in the long run it is profitable for corporations enormously.

I want know about the sustainability day program’s speakers. How far do you get from them? As per mary. Are everyone is on it?
– Yeah, I agreed. Sustainability is not only an issue for Europe and America. It is also important for the third world countries too. So, if you ask me that question I’ll say that no one is not performing 100% for achieving the sustainable goals. I must say every issue is not completely sustainable but we have look at the steps what they are taking for a sustainable world. That is a thing that interests me a lot. I always give focus to the steps that big corporations, one individual or Karlstad University, is taking for sustainability. That really matter for me. It is a continuously process. We need to continue the development of this sustainable plans. We can not really quantify the results now. We are learning every day from scientific research, so we would continue to implement and it is very important for current sustainable development practices.

Do you think sustainable goals for 2030 is not up to the mark?
– No, I do not agree. The plan is not up to the mark. I think more have to be done. One important thing I must mention is that many people are not yet aware about this goal. Many big corporations are neither aware regarding this issue. It is really important to raise more awareness among people and big corporations, who is to do everything. So I think we are not up to mark.

Do you think only seminars, advertisement and celebrating a special say will bring a sustainable world?
– Well, not quite. But that can educate and enlighten us what we can do. Our main factor is sustainable development we have to WALK and TALK. So, the seminars and talks are good because they enlighten us. They give us new perspective and insights.

Do you love that song our beloved DJ Samuel (Associate Professor, Program Manager) played in the program? And what do you think that the sustainable day 2019 can bring something new for the upcoming world?
– Yeah that song was good. I think that was quite thoughtful. About the sustainability day, in my opinion what students are going to do for sustainability after attending the program is important. I think they learned a lot. Because they heard a lot of positive things regarding sustainability on that program. I hope that they implement it in the upcoming time. I think the objective of sustainability day was achieved.

Any special message for students?
– First you must be conscious about the threats we are posing to our environment and you must be a creator to any destruction. Do a little but do with by showing some respect to the development of sustainability. So just do a little thing but do it for making an impact for a sustainable development.

That was an amazing time Lazarus Fotoh. I got a clear vision regarding sustainability and its opportunity and future. Lastly I want to tell something about the four focused goals of the 2030 vision.

Yes, we are focusing on four particular goals. I think one of them attracts me more, which is no poverty. There are many countries who are fighting to get rid of it. After coming here, I have seen how developed countries are concerned about this issue. As said before, I feel proud to be a part of it. I started believing this sustainable issue. Now I started thinking how we can it to work? Yes, there might be some obstacles, but no race can be won without obstacles and using of right ethics. I think we have a sustainable plan towards 2030 for a sustainable world.

This is a news article. Read more about the journalistic work in Karlstads studenttidning here.