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  • Writer's pictureInge Westerink

A Sustainable Career: How I went from Musical Theatre Performer to Sustainability Professional.

It took one online course in Fashion & Sustainability with the University of London to change my view on consumption, business, and the regulatory environment for good. Understanding how people on the other side of the world are being treated, and the damage we are doing to our planet motivated me to do something about it. I just to figure out how one person can make a difference.


Many of you might not know, but I am a trained Musical Theatre performer. Even though I always loved being on stage and was very passional about dance, singing, and acting, I've always felt like I couldn't contribute enough with my work. When I learned more about sustainability it all made sense. I just hadn't found the story I was supposed to tell yet. And much has changed in addition to my hairstyle.



The course mentioned above interestingly came to me via an Instagram ad. Little did I know at the time how powerful Instagram is and how much it would bring me. We had the assignment to start a creative project as part of the course. Given the fact that at the time I was working freelance in communications and marketing, and considering my performance background, I chose to start an Instagram account. This is when 'Sustainable Style with Inge' was created. At the time only focused on sustainable fashion, but soon I learned there were even bigger ways for me to have an impact.


My manager at the time picked up on my activity on Instagram and decided to pull me into the company's housing project. In a way, Instagram brought this into my life again. As the company was planning to move to a new location, they needed to get several sustainability-related certifications. This is how I learned more about sustainability in the built environment and important certification like BREEAM, WELL, and EcoVadis which help drive change within organisations and build environments. Additionally, the company was also at a stage where they were facing some important sustainability-related reporting requirements (like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, or CSRD). Quickly I understood that driving change in organisations is a place where I can provoke even more change. From that moment it clicked, I was ready to focus my full career on sustainability.


I decided to make a shift and start working for a scale-up that was focused on driving sustainable change through its services and products. Soon I learned that there was space for me to support the business in driving its internal sustainability management. I got assigned to take additional training in Business Sustainability Management and Environmental Management Systems and learned about another important certification: B Corp.


Sustainable suit by Capsule Studio


The above training and experiences have taught me how to implement a sustainability focussed strategy and tailor this to the needs of a business. It also led me to a place where I can now advise many different stakeholders because my work has helped me understand the different perspectives and opposing interests. I am so happy that I can now say that I have a sustainable career.


Recently I changed my platform to 'Sustainability with Inge'. Because I simply want to share more with you now based on my training and working experience. My new focus will be on informing you as a consumer about important developments. This can be sustainability innovations (like products or interesting businesses), changes to the regulatory environment, and tips on small steps you can take to be more sustainable.


The fact that within this field of work, there is so much room for improvement and you can continue to learn really excites me. I am looking forward to seeing how I can drive more change within businesses and via my platform.


I hope this story will let you know that one person can drive change. You just need to find out what motivates you (e.g. climate change, human rights, etc.), in which area you can utilise your skills and talents, and share your story with the people around you (in-person and/or online). Your network (including me) will support you in taking steps toward sustainability.


Let me know more about your story in the comments and if you are facing any challenges. Perhaps we can overcome them together. Let's make this place a more sustainable world!


Yours in sustainability,


Inge








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