The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022: #RedefiningPower - Leyla Acaroglu, CEO & Founder, The UnSchool and Disrupt Design, United Kingdom
"All leadership needs to be more in tune with the natural systems and services that sustain life on earth. If women are more adept at doing so, then it is vital to have female representation in leadership positions, thus empowering people in senior organizational and governmental roles to understand, respect, and work within the systems of nature." - Leyla Acaroglu, CEO & Founder, The UnSchool and Disrupt Design
Leyla Acaroglu (PhD) is a leading sustainability strategist and provocateur – an expert on life cycle and systems thinking in design, production and consumption. Named Champion of the Earth by the UNEP in 2016, she is a designer, sociologist, educator and passionate proponent of sustainability in and through design. Leyla is also a well-respected international speaker, with over 1 million views on her TED talk. She developed the Disruptive Design Method for activating change, founded the UnSchool of Disruptive Design* as well as the creative agency Disrupt Design**, and created the rural regeneration, CO Project Farm in Portugal. Her award-winning designs and cerebrally-activating experiences, gamified toolkits, and unique educational experiences help people around the world to challenge the status quo and make positive social and environmental change.
Q: What is the importance of women's leadership in today's society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, Climate, and Conflict, and their deadly consequences?
All leadership needs to be more in tune with the natural systems and services that sustain life on earth. If women are more adept at doing so, then it is vital to have female representation in leadership positions, thus empowering people in senior organizational and governmental roles to understand, respect, and work within the systems of nature.
Q: What role do you believe women in leadership positions have to play in helping companies and brands transition towards sustainability and circularity, and why is this important?
If we look to nature, we see that diversity is one of the key elements to successes in any system. So we need diversity in leadership when addressing the challenging sustainability issues that we face. By having more women in positions of leadership, it provides more diverse perspectives and approaches, which enables a more robust and healthy company-wide ecosystem.
Q: What can be done to improve women’s participation in corporate and leadership positions? How do we achieve this?
Like any diversity challenge, it requires a combination of allies, particularly of those people who are already in positions of leadership willing to open pathways and clear structural and cultural barriers. By ensuring that the general biases are overcome, and obstacles removed, as well as showcasing organizations that have found great success with women in leadership positions, we will improve participation at a much higher success rate.
Q: What does this award mean to you and what significance does it hold to you personally and/or professionally, and your company?
It’s always very humbling and exciting to have my work and commitment to sustainability acknowledged. I’m grateful to be able to reinforce the positive potential that sustainability as a career can offer to our future leaders.
*The UnSchool is an experimental knowledge lab for adults, designed to help activate agency and contribute to designing a future that works better for us all. The organization works with established and aspiring creative rebels, change pioneers, activators, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between who has a deep-seated passion to make a positive and meaningful impact. Learn more.
**Creative agency Disrupt Design guides organizations and individuals to make change through our workshops, online training packages, and creative tools with the mission to build the knowledge, intervention opportunities, and tools that help activate a global community focused on purpose-driven change for positive impact on the planet. Learn more.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
The SustainabilityX® Magazine proudly announced the release of The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s inaugural Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ 2022 on Oct 4th, 2022, an inaugural annual list celebrating the powerful work of women in sustainability leadership around the world.
The non-profit digital magazine’s Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ high-level, invite-only program graciously sponsored by the award-winning Canadian construction and engineering firm Belnor Engineering Inc., recognizes achievements of the world’s powerful, groundbreaking female sustainability leaders who’re bridging the gender gap by breaking barriers, shattering traditional stereotypes, and taking the world of sustainability by storm. This campaign is in line with the magazine’s third pillar of sustainability upon which SustainabilityX® is based: social inclusion, which involves marginalized populations and vulnerable communities such as women, persons with disabilities, unemployed youth, LGBTQ+, the elderly, and BIPOC minorities.
“As both a female and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 In Sustainability Leadership myself, I know how important this is,” says Supriya Verma, founder of The SustainabilityX® Magazine. “The number of women in positions of leadership – from business to politics – are relatively few. With society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, climate, conflict, and their deadly consequences, how can the world advance and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals without having women in decision-making positions at major organizations, political parties, and academic institutions?”
In The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s quest to ‘redefine power’, this is the first international power-list bringing together women around the world involved in sustainability celebrating the power of their work – not their position. This list brings together a diverse group of accomplished women across business, entertainment, academia, law, politics, and beyond ranging from some of the world's leading companies, to independent unsung heroes with one thing in common: using their power with purpose –the power to create change and influence lives to make the world a better place. After all, that's what sustainability is all about. The meaning, or ‘the power’ of one’s work matters, not one’s position in a corporate hierarchy, particularly during this crucial era.
View the full list: The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
About The SustainabilityX® Magazine
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Founded on May 8, 2016 and inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership awardee, Supriya Verma, the digital media initiative focuses on approaching the world’s most pressing challenges with a holistic, integrated, systems-based perspective as opposed to the traditional and ineffective siloed approach with a single lens on interdisciplinary topics like climate and energy. This initiative ultimately seeks to explore how to effectively bring the environment and economy together through intellectual, insightful dialogue and thought-provoking discussion amongst individuals across sectors taking an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to untangling the intricate web of sustainability.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is based upon the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship which emphasizes improved environmental health, Economic Prosperity which emphasizes economic growth without the element of capitalism, Social Inclusion which emphasizes EDI for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and marginalized, vulnerable populations, and Just Governance which emphasizes the equal rule of law via responsible political leadership to create fair systems for all. Identifying the diverse factors involved in sustainability, how they interact and how the disciplines are interconnected will help accelerate local, national, and international sustainability goals – in simpler words, aligning with The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s mission of bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue for a sustainable future. Whether you have a background in science, engineering, business, law, politics, media and entertainment, or beyond, your voice matters.
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The SustainabilityX® Magazine is a proud member of the Sustainable Journalism Partnership, serves as a cause-based media partner for various events such as Circular City Week New York, and officially delivers remarks at international conferences such as UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day Conference. SustainabilityX® is a brand of the non-profit social business SPSX Group.
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