Behind the Scenes with David Kuhn, Lead, Corporate Resilience, Climate
In our Behind the Scenes series we speak to WWF staff to learn more about their work and what makes them tick. For today’s post, we caught up with David Kuhn, WWF's Lead of Corporate Resilience on the Climate team.
What is your position at WWF and what does it entail?
Lead, Corporate Resilience. In my role, I work with companies to build resilience for people and nature. I analyze risk, put together plans and strategies, and work with our teams on the ground to implement projects that meet WWF's goals in partnership with some of the world's largest corporations.
Describe your favorite moment in nature.
Just top of mind, I was recently in Torres del Paine in Patagonia on a hike. I had never been to Patagonia before, and the experience brought me back to that big, awe-inspiring nature that I hadn’t seen in a while and was becoming buried under the pandemic and other stresses of life. It was sorely needed.
What has drawn your attention the most, in regard to sustainability or conservation?
Climate change. Climate change is threatening every facet of society, including work on sustainability and conservation. We’ve seen some of the gains we’ve made over the past years in sustainability erased because some unexpected event or shift wasn’t part of the planning. But there’s also opportunity in climate change, and it has created an awareness by governments, companies, and communities of the importance of nature as a part of the solution. The challenge is planning and implementing in the right way that minimizes tradeoffs, and benefits the most, the most equitably. The urgency, complexity, and scale of the climate change challenge makes my job all the more interesting and challenging.
What are you currently reading or watching on TV?
I’m reading The Ministry for the Future and Dune. The Ministry for the Future is a book about climate change. Apparently, I can’t get enough. And I wanted to read Dune before I saw the movie. Don’t ruin it for me.
What advice would you give a young professional who is interested in sustainability?
There’s always something to learn and there are so many smart people in the field, that there’s always an opportunity to grow. Embrace those opportunities and ask questions. Reach out and collaborate. The world is a complex space, and the work needs to reflect that. The most successful people in sustainability, that I’ve seen, embrace learning and collaboration.
What do you see as the future of sustainable business?
The future of sustainable business is part of a bigger picture. Business can no longer operate in bubbles or within their own fencelines. There’s too much risk and impact from the broader systems, and too much uncertainty considering climate change. Businesses are now required to be sustainable and resilient if they want to thrive but can take steps to do so at the cost of others. So, business will have to rely on partnerships and science to make the right decisions that make their business resilient by making communities and nature resilient.