These Sustainable Women: book presents women’s views of ESG￼
Organized by Velma Gregório, an independent collection brings reflections from the members of the Sustainable Women group in technical and inspiring texts
When 200 professionals come together in a discussion group, it is expected, and even desirable, that innovative solutions will emerge. When the professionals in question are women who work in sustainability and who support other women, this capacity can be enhanced by a million. Opportunities, partnerships, knowledge sharing and joint initiatives that contribute to building a better society abound. In the face of all this abundance of experiences, I felt the potential of compiling this knowledge into a book, capable of engaging and mobilizing the business sector for sustainability.
However, nothing happens overnight. And not just one person. It is a construction that begins with the idea of creating the group itself, which was by Karen Tanaka, another sustainability professional who has been engaged for a long time. She mobilized several women from her network for face-to-face meetings, back in 2017. I was lucky to be one of the guests. At the very beginning, there were few women in São Paulo, still functioning in a mental model of the need for physical presence. Not that we give it up now, but it was a different moment then. It was always wonderful and we left wanting more. At each meeting, a woman brought another. We talk about the pains and loves of our daily life as a sustainability activist, before the recent ESG tsunami of the 2020s. We celebrated victories, sought solutions and laughed (a lot) at the unusual situations of our day. Then came the pandemic, the isolation and strength of whatsapp groups and online meetings. What could have been the end of the group ended up becoming the opportunity for more and more women, now from all over Brazil, to participate and interact. From the time of the first face-to-face meetings, we brought lightness and unpretentiousness. Today we are 250.
Unlike the standard virtual groups, this was really a support and help group, reference, exchange of ideas, materials, job opportunities, real empowerment. The more the group grew, the more I saw an infinity of opportunities for joint action in the world. We launched a training course for sustainability writers that formed two groups of 50 students, we brought together consultants in a work opportunity exchange group, we held thematic meetings for common challenges, we promoted individual mentorships for the most personal issues and in this vibrant context, I launched the idea of gathering knowledge and knowledge of each one in a collaborative publication. Thus, the book “These Sustainable Women” was born.
This publication was the result of the life experience and corporate and academic knowledge of 40 Sustainability and ESG professionals, including the author of the foreword, Regina Magalhães, Ph.D. in Sustainability invited especially by us for the occasion. It seeks to inspire and strengthen the work of sustainability professionals and bring the ESG management perspective to all areas of Brazilian companies.
Collaboratively produced, from conception to distribution, each decision was made together. We put into the world not only ideas, but a concept of collective work different from the traditional one, which took into account the opinions of all those involved in the process. It takes work, but all – each participant really owns the project.
With strong CVs and a lot of experience, the authors present texts that range from actionable and strategic technical content, practical suggestions, chronicles, affective and comic cases, in addition to a lot of inspiration, either in poems or in texts that ask us for a sense of urgency. ESG, human rights, circular economy, engagement, stakeholders, systemic thinking, impermanence, profitability, institutional culture, biodiversity, regeneration, development and local consumption, indices and certifications, carbon market, risks and impact, all Sustainability topics are there in simple, direct and accessible language. The essays are presented in four categories: Essential, Experience, Inevitable and Inspiration The arrangement of the articles follows the alphabetical order of the author’s name, making explicit, once again, the equity in the treatment.
As highlighted in the preface “there is strong evidence published in several renowned scientific journals that companies with a greater presence of women in executive leadership and on the Board of Directors have better performance in sustainability, are more diverse and create environments less prone to corruption and harassment”. In this book, we understand why. When building the book, the challenges that emerged from the collaborative process and remote work were overcome with a lot of dialogue, the use of technology and the involvement of people with a new ethos, a new way of being in the world.
Staying true to the collaborative, sustainable and uncomplicated origins of the project, we launched the book virtually on this last World Environment Day. The book “These Sustainable Women: Collection of reflections from the members of the Sustainable Women group” can be accessed free of charge at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C3pV3H6KPN-6BZvOxFZvdMfFWrLg-DrE/view and on Kindle.