Creating a better world as Sustainability Expert cum Life Coach
Young and suave Anuj Saush has no qualms about being referred to as a ‘Sustainability Maverick’. Entering the field in its nascent stage, today he is an internationally acknowledged Sustainability Leader and heads the ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) Centre, Europe at The Conference Board. His passion for improving the world also sees him use behavioural insights as a Life Coach to help people grow and make a difference.
“My professional journey has been far from linear, as I have held a variety of roles across different industries,” he begins. “My father was in the Indian Army and growing up meant there was always a new adventure as we followed him to different locations and changed schools every three years or so. This prepared me to embrace change and be adaptable to new situations and environments.”
Anuj completed his Civil Engineering from North Maharashtra University, India, and moved to the UK to pursue a Master’s in Environmental Policy & Economics from the London School of Economics. Through the years, he has remained committed to expanding his knowledge and skill set through executive professional programs at various European universities. He studied Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cambridge, and Behavioural Psychology at Henley Business School.
He always wanted to work in an environmental consulting firm to develop innovative solutions for complex environmental challenges. That’s how his career in Sustainability began. “For me, the ideal approach is to innovate and create or set up something new, and then hand it off to someone who can ensure it continues to run smoothly while I move on to my next project. This approach has allowed me to constantly grow and evolve, while also making a lasting impact in my various roles.”
His career to date includes roles at Center for Environment – a boutique environmental consulting firm; London South Bank University – one of London’s oldest universities; EDF – a French multinational energy company; PwC – International professional services firm; and The Conference Board – a global think tank that focuses on providing insights, research, and expertise to help large businesses understand the present and shape their strategies for the future.
“As the Leader of the ESG Center, Europe, I work with business leaders across Europe, Asia and North America in their efforts to embed and enhance sustainable business strategies. We facilitate conversations and collaboration between businesses from diverse sectors to drive sustainable business transformation. This contributes to a more resilient economy in the long-term, as companies that prioritize ESG factors are often better positioned to weather economic downturns and social upheaval.”
Over the years, Anuj has stood out with his ability to be comfortable with who he is and bring his true self to work. “I am motivated by a sense of purpose and meaning that goes beyond traditional career goals or financial success. This has allowed me to take risks and become something of a maverick.”
It has also helped him overcome challenges. For instance, losing a job during the 2009 global financial crisis. “When I lost my job, it was like a shock to my system, but it taught me the value of maintaining perspective in challenging times. While it was a setback, it also provided me with an opportunity to learn and grow, and to become a stronger, more resilient person as a result. It also reinforced the importance of having financial independence and a strong family support network, who I leaned heavily on for emotional support.”
It also gave him one big clarity – family comes first. “A handful of individuals form my core. 2-3 times a week I finish work early to collect my son from school and cherish the 30 minutes walk back with him. When he’s asleep, I log back on to get ahead for the next day.”
Having a purpose that is larger than himself has helped Anuj evolve and develop his strengths, which are – adaptability, the ability to engage and build relationships, charisma, an action-oriented mind-set, and a strong work-ethic. He has also put in conscious effort to build emotional resilience and ‘self’ awareness, which has helped him become who he is today.
“I often say that I am not a finished product (and might never be). I have many weaknesses or areas where I would like to improve. One is to overcome occasional selfdoubt and the other is that I set high standards and can be quite harsh on myself when I feel I have fallen short until the voice of reason comes to the rescue.”
For Anuj, the greatest reward is the satisfaction of a job well done, and the knowledge that he gave it his all. “For me what matters most is that I continue to strive for excellence and make a positive impact in my work and life.”