Ame Igharo Prepares Herself for a Career in Corporate Sustainability

Ame Igharo is a current M.S. in Sustainability Management student. In an interview for The Earth Institute's State of the Planet blog, she spoke about what prompted her to enroll in the sustainability program at Columbia: "I was working in the beauty industry and got asked to work on creating a green brand....I came across the M.S. program. In an effort to avoid greenwashing, I wanted to apply to the program to learn more about the correct approach to sustainability."

Thanks to the program, Igharo has deepened her understanding of sustainability issues. "The biggest sustainability challenge that I see," she said, "is the impact on emerging markets. In the coming years, [they] will eventually be responsible for 50 percent of the emissions that contribute climate change. What happened in the Philippines is only one part of the equation," she said, referring to 2013 super storm Typhoon Haiyan.

She predicted, "There has been a heavy focus on the environmental side of sustainability, but the economic and social [sides] are going to play a much bigger part."

So how does she plan to apply her degree in her career? Igharo said that she is open to returning to the corporate world: "I feel better equipped to go into a corporation and navigate the process of integrating sustainability into business." She added, "I really loved working in the private sector before I made my decision to go back to school. In the private sector, you are dealing with huge problems and usually have amazing resources to help you solve those challenges."