Rise of a New Age war­rior

> For Renard Siew, cham­pi­oning sus­tain­abil­ity for the bet­ter­ment of others is a full-time pas­sion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - YOUTH - JEREMY CHEONG

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.

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