Rise of a New Age warrior
> For Renard Siew, championing sustainability for the betterment of others is a full-time passion
THE word ‘sustainability’ is a buzzword currently used by governments, corporations and celebrities. But what exactly does sustainability encompass? To be sustainable is more than going green. It involves eradicating poverty, improving the education system, building resilient and innovative infrastructures, and a whole lot more. In summary, developing sustainability is about improving society’s quality of life, thus enabling a country to function more efficiently. At the front line of Malaysia’s sustainability development is 29-yearold Renard Siew. He has an extensive and impressive portfolio that includes working in the sustainability department for a multinational conglomerate, where he is in charge of exploring different mechanisms to enhance environmental management across multiple sectors. Furthermore, he is a part of multiple other sustainability committees in the country.
“I’ve always wanted a career that would be impactful and purposeful. While sustainability development is definitely making progress here in Malaysia, we aren’t quite at that level of Western countries just yet. There has been a lot of talk about sustainability, but at the same time I realised that there isn’t any projects at The beach.
Swimming, playing the piano, reading.
The entire Harry Potter series.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Carpe diem (making the most of the present). grass-roots level. This is one of the many reasons why I choose to be proactive and involved in civil society
movements,” explained Siew.
What are some of the ways you use to spread awareness on championing sustainability? I participate in a lot of talks and conferences. While many of these take place during the weekends, I actually like attending them as I get to meet and network with people, and also share my thoughts with the younger generation. Also, seeing as how sustainability is still a growing segment here and the younger crowd generally has a lot of questions about it; being at these events allows me to share the various career opportunities that are available to them in this field.
I also write a column for a magazine based in India called CSR Life, which gives me the chance to explore new ideas or solutions that are being used in other countries, and figure out how we can use them in Malaysia.
Which organisation or event would you recommend to someone who’s interested to join the sustainability movement? Without a doubt, I’d say Global Shapers Kuala Lumpur – that’s because I am a part of it (laughs). Jokes aside, Global Shapers KL tends to attract a lot of individuals under the age of 30. When participants are first inducted into a project, they get paired up with a mentor so they get to learn from some of the best minds in the organisation.
We have very interesting programmes such as the age-friendly cities project, of which I am the adviser; then there’s the Food for All project that is like a soup kitchen which reaches out to underprivileged communities, and also the After Five project where we run a career advisory programme with schools. The idea behind is to let the younger generation know that there is a myriad of career options.
Name us your proudest moment so far. Though I’ve won multiple awards and accolades, the proudest moment for me was actually a remark I received from a senior citizen while I was working on the age-friendly cities project: “We need more young blood like you to help change and improve this country into something we can all be proud of.”
Knowing that someone appreciates the things you do has always been the best gratification for me.
What’s next for you? One of my main goals is to bring sustainable development to a more achievable and realistic level as there are 17 goals and 169 targets, which involve ending poverty, improving quality of education, climate change, etc.
I hope to make it more manageable and action-oriented within the Malaysian community. I think a lot of people aren’t aware that these goals exist so I’d like to communicate these to the grass-roots community, and get them to support and think of ways to champion sustainable development and meet the goals by year 2030.
Renard Siew, a catalyst for change who wants to see Malaysia reach its fullest potential.
He actively attends and speaks at conferences and forums as they allow him to network and exchange ideas.