|Date||April 7, 2020|
My wife and I are from South Asia and have been Interserve Partners for more than 15 years. We supported a university student movement, encouraging students to engage with the mission of God in and through their fields of studies. Alongside that, I’m a mechanical engineer with more than 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. There, I promoted the manufacturing of lightweight automotive components that help to reduce emissions. I’ve always been interested in how a Christian care for the environment can be expressed in the workplace.
Several years ago, I decided to take a year off from my engineering career in order to invest more time in a governance role in student mission, and three strands providentially came together to set me in a new direction.
The first strand was a series of intriguing conversations I had with my friend Ruben, an Interserver who served as a professor in Economics in Central Asia. He was writing a book on sustainable development. During our conversations I shared my passion about the importance of stewarding technology, keeping in mind the needy South Asian context. While university students boast of new technologies and discoveries in research, it is sad that these are not reaching rural and underdeveloped areas. If stewarded well, the benefits of these new technologies can percolate deeply into society.
Ruben added another dimension: “Those technologies should be GREEN—for the sustainability of the planet”. Together we also engaged in discussions on this subject with local pastors and church leaders.
The second strand was the work of my wife Beck in our own home. In the hustle of the city, can there be green homes? Yes! Beck, who is a creative and industrious homemaker, has established a rather interesting vegetable garden on our ninth-floor apartment terrace. Our household waste is organically composted and used as manure for our garden, which has produced greens, chillies, capsicum, tomatoes, eggplant, and ginger. Such a welcome variety of fresh vegetables grown in our terrace oasis! Beck has instituted a strict regime of reducing use of plastics at home. She has also ventured into home production of organic washing options to reduce grey water waste—not just dishwashing soap but also organic beauty products.
The third strand was an interesting invitation from a secular financial institution to lead their sustainable banking department. The group already had a deep sustainability-oriented culture but wanted someone from a non-financial background to further grow the sustainability culture and to promote green initiatives among colleagues and clients. This was a department specifically created to harness environmental sustainability through core business functions. What a ministry opportunity!
I prayerfully took up the role and over the last three years God has enabled me to establish a strong creation care policy. This policy mandates that the products and services of our financial institution must create easy access to clean energy, green enterprise for rural development, and climate change risk mitigation technologies throughout all 700 branches across the country. The policy mandates a work culture of environmental stewardship. Meticulous green protocols must be strictly adhered to by each branch, and branches that achieve successful green audits may qualify for green awards.These audits even check whether there are taps leaking in the toilets, not just how much access to clean energy they create. At a micro and macro level, we can see the difference made for communities across the country.
I’m now working on linking our financial institution’s performance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. I have a strong conviction that these goals can be a solid foundation for a thriving regenerative economy.
Dee and Beck are South Asian and are long-term Interserve workers. Dee is a vice-president of a government-regulated financial institution in his country, where he leads the sustainable banking department.
Names have been changed.