Let’s Talk: Sustainability Creating A Community Of Change Leaders
In North America, employees at NTT DATA have been keen to join a sustainability action group led by Fernanda Gallardo. What started out as a small group of friends has now become the fastest growing employee resource group within the organization and it’s a topic about which people are passionate. For Fernanda the desire to bring about change started from when she was just eight years old.
Why do you feel so passionately about sustainability and when did it all begin?
When I was a little girl aged eight years old, I watched a documentary about global warming. I remember thinking, well, I won’t have to worry about that. I won’t be alive when those problems hit us. It made me start to think more about our planet though. Over the years, I started to see things change. Living in Mexico, I felt the change in seasons, and the ones we experienced when I was an adult were very different to the seasons I lived through as a child.
How did that lead to you becoming a sustainability champion?
I joined Dell Services in 2014 and a colleague invited a family member to come and talk about the food industry. She spoke about her daughter who had developed a rare allergy to all processed foods. In despair, she had been forced to quit her job and make every item of food from scratch from bread to yoghurt for every meal, every day. When she started researching what the grocery store foods contained she uncovered how many chemicals are put into our food and how these impact our health.
“Sustainability is a broad topic, and the area that many businesses are prioritizing is energy usage. In order to begin the sustainability journey, companies need to be able to track and manage their energy data so they can measure progress against corporate goals and commitments. Here are some simple steps businesses of all sizes can take to start their own journey.
Wow, that sounded amazing, how could you follow that??!
You are right, it was tricky! We wanted to think of an exciting way to follow up from this and continue to help people understand the challenges we face and how their actions can really make a difference. NTT DATA is sponsoring Robert Swan’s Undaunted expedition to walk across Antarctica to raise awareness of climate change so we decided to launch a new game called the Undaunted Countdown Challenge. In this we asked each participant to complete one of our suggested daily activities and comment about it on our internal channel. You get points for each activity completed and the winner gets a prize. In return, we have promised to plant a tree for every action completed and across more locations. This time we have provided more information to explain why this activity benefits the planet, and also included some fun facts to help people learn about the environment we’re trying to protect. We are trying to combine education and information sharing together with positive actions.
What does sustainability mean to you / why does it matter?
Sustainability for me is in everything I do. It even affects my political opinions because this planet is all we have so I want someone who will take care of protecting what we have. It’s become my North. Now I want to help people understand more about the challenges we face but also highlight the solutions. One of our guiding principles to NEST is that we always provide a solution and steps to change. All of us at NEST do all this as an extra responsibility, it’s not part of our job, but for me it’s a cause that’s worth the investment of time and I’m excited to see it grow.
As support for NEST grows, other passionate and talented sustainability advocates have joined to help, including Corie Pierce who leads sustainability for NTT DATA Services, Catalina Villarreal who creates all the magic in NEST visuals, Hannah Noah who inserts creativity and solutions to our strategy, Marisa Zdroik who leads our regional leads to expand our reach, and James Perry who influences what we can do internally as a more sustainable organization.