Rising Stars in Sustainability: Lindsay Petelinkar
- Date: 06 April 2023
- Author: Lindsay Petelinkar, Senior Corporate Sustainability Analyst for Lowe’s
Taking a moment to stop and reflect on my career journey has been uplifting. How did I get here?
As a Senior Corporate Sustainability Analyst for Lowe’s, the majority of my daily focus pertains to forestry and responsible wood sourcing. Within my role, I am also able to work collaboratively on other sustainability-focused projects. This job is a dream come true for me as a passionate environmentalist and it’s also an incredible learning opportunity for an early-career professional. In my role, I’m able to harness my passion for the environment to execute projects that support our mission to help Lowe’s customers live more sustainably at home and that inspire tangible change in a corporate setting.
When I embarked on my sustainability journey, I didn’t even know what the term “corporate sustainability” meant. Throughout my life I have always cared about the environment. Growing up, I was the kid that forced my mom to stop the car so I could quickly move a turtle off the road and to safety. This love for Mother Nature persisted into high school and grew deeper during my college career at American University, where I focused my international studies degree on environmental sustainability and global health and thus first heard the term “corporate sustainability.” It was fascinating to learn how the health of the environment ultimately impacts the health of humanity.
As my education progressed, I quickly understood how businesses are an untapped resource when it comes to protecting our planet, investing in new technologies and truly using their impact for the better. I decided during my college experience that I wanted to tap into that resource and help businesses spark positive change for the planet and our communities.
Now that I am working in this field, there are so many things I am excited about for the future. The amount of cultural change I have seen develop in just four years of working in the sustainability space has been awe-inspiring. More and more companies are prioritizing sustainability, and this influx of passion for the topic is only increasing the positive momentum. I am looking forward to continuing my career in sustainability at Lowe’s and cannot wait to see what we will be able to accomplish.
For those just starting out and/or are interested in joining this space, I have two pieces of advice:
- Don’t give up. Corporate sustainability is a valuable and evolving field. As businesses continue to prioritize their impact on the environment, there will be an increased focus on the social and governance aspects to sustainability. It is important to remember that each organization is at a different point in their sustainability journey. Some may have robust teams looking for immediate hire, and others may only have one point of contact for all things under the umbrella of “sustainability”. It is common for businesses to start with smaller teams and slowly expand with time. With this being said, show your passion and be persistent – and don’t be afraid to network with us!
- Diversify your strengths. Differentiate your skillsets and bring something in addition to passion to the table. There are many aspects of sustainability (supply chain management, auditing and compliance, product circularity, net zero and carbon, forestry and wood sourcing, data analysis and management, reporting and communication, etc.). Identify your interests and strengths and pair them with aspects of corporate sustainability. You will not only make yourself more marketable, but you will also have a better idea on how to improve on some of your weaker areas of expertise.
Regardless of whether you are looking to join this field or are just intrigued by the topic, I thank you for your passion and interest in protecting people and the planet.
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of WWF.