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Quick Focus: What Drives Sustainability?

by Nisha K and Su Aziz

Sustainability is key for not only a healthy environment but also longevity of businesses and stability of the economy. Nisha K and Su Aziz ask individuals from varied backgrounds just what drives sustainability. This article first appeared in In Focus issue 4 magazine.

Sustainability brings about different meanings: from ensuring business resilience, building sustainably so we have healthier places to live and work, to living a sustainable life through recycling and eating locally grown vegetables. In other words, being sustainable basically brings about longevity and wellbeing.

The topic of sustainability is slowly changing the landscape of many industries. For instance, in the sports industry which is an industry with a global worth of more than USD500 billion, there’s a growing need to change the collective perceptions by shifting the industry to become more sustainable. Hence, major sports venues of today are the pioneers of promoting sustainability. A classic example is the home of the football club Ajax Amsterdam, The Johan Cruyff Arena. The stadium has been in operation since 1996, but has undergone major renovation between 2010 and 2015 to accommodate several sustainable initiatives such as the 4,200 solar panels on the roof which uses Dutch wind energy to provide its remaining electricity needs.

So, what drives sustainability? Here, several individuals from various backgrounds and ages, share their thoughts on what drives sustainability:

Redza Shahid Ridzuan
31 years old, CEO
Grub Cycle
For me, the main thing that drives sustainability is people. Anyone can set policies, rules and regulations but if the people don’t change their behaviour in making a habit to create sustainability for themselves, their company or ecosystem, nothing will change. Hence, it’s important to have the right people around you – they either inspire you or drain you – and this is key towards sustainability. It took me a while to get the right fit of people in the company but when I finally found it, the company just grows naturally.


Melati Wijsen
18 years old, Co-founder
Bye Bye Plastic Bags
Personally, I feel, people drive sustainability. Our everyday actions, the choices we make can lead to a more sustainable world. We often forget this though. Individual action can drive sustainability, governments should drive sustainability, companies, projects and the private sector should drive sustainability. Only when we collaborate among all of us, we’ll achieve a higher goal of sustainability. We as consumers, producers, we have all the power to decide how we shape our lives. We get to choose how we embody sustainability.


Dato’ Hafiz Ibrahim,
38 years old, CEO
Peranmas Sdn Bhd
In order to achieve sustainability, we need to master the art of ‘learn, unlearn and relearn’. We need to foster a mentality in both the government and public sectors, by adopting an impact measurement framework and identifying sustainable goals – it’ll eventually reveal opportunities for replicating successful solutions across untapped areas. In the end, the mission of sustainable development is to equalise economic growth together with the protection of our natural ecosystems and conservation of our resources.

Vinashal Pillai
38 years old, Content Editor
Asian Football Confederation
Sustainability habits start at home and to cultivate healthy conservation habits, parents must empower children with the idea from the very beginning. Switching off the faucet when brushing the teeth, turning the shower off in the bathroom and takeaway bags when we go to the supermarket. By watching us, they learn because a parent is a child’s first teacher and the best teacher throughout their life.

Iskandar Zaffa
40 years old, Executive Director
Agrosky Sdn Bhd
In this era, sustainability in business is about ensuring long-term business success while contributing towards economic and social development, a healthy environment and a stable society. As part of the fundamental principles, companies that are committed to sustainable business adopt high standards in areas that can include environmental protection, gender equity, working conditions, employee benefits, capacity as well as community development, and transparent relationships between the company’s management, board, shareholders and stakeholders, that fall under the term of corporate governance.

Susan Thomas
35 years old, Teacher
Fukuoka International School Japan
In school, we try to eliminate paper wastage as much as possible. We communicate with the parents via e-mails and we try to use natural materials for arts and crafts. I like to use leafs, flowers and vegetables as stencils and through this, they learn how to be creative and also identify what’s in their surroundings. When there’s support from the school, parents and teachers, the drive for sustainability becomes integral to ensure our next generation has a holistic education.

Jeya Kumarappan
62 years old, Retiree
To me, knowledge drives sustainability. Once you are informed, you become more aware of what goes on. In my case, I now opt for organic, toxic-free products and recycle the bottles by giving them back to the recycling centre.




15 Aug 2019
Last modified: 15 Aug 2019
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