A Business and Environmental Science course has taught JCU graduate Annie Yeow that sustainability means more than just being environmentally sound
By Audrey Ng
October 21, 2020
Doing good for the environment may have an adverse impact on finances or resources, Ms Annie Yeow learned at the Singapore campus of James Cook University (JCU).
The 26-year-old, who graduated in 2016, now works in Sweden as a manufacturing technician for Northvolt, a battery manufacturer and developer. She says her studies helped shape her perspective on understanding sustainability in a business context.
“My knowledge from JCU helps me understand what areas the company can improve on, how to reduce wastage and make the business more sustainable in the manufacturing process,” says Ms Yeow.
A strong passion for the environment led her to pursue a diploma in Environmental Science at Republic Polytechnic.
After graduation, she wanted to pursue a degree that would further her understanding of the subject, and research led her to discover that JCU offered a Bachelor of Business and Environmental Science programme.
Pursuing a degree that focuses on both business and environmental science has allowed Ms Yeow to see issues from different, sometimes opposing perspectives.
“Understanding how businesses work is important as there cannot be sustainability without first knowing how they can progress and improve,” she says.
As a young undergraduate, she had the impression that anything with a negative impact on the environment was unacceptable — until a module on Environmental Economics changed her view.
“It really made me think about the impact of decisions holistically — whether an action taken to improve the environment would unintentionally harm another part of it,” she recalls.
From then on, she gained a new appreciation for the need to make well-balanced and thought-out decisions.
Another huge part of her university days that prepared her for work was her interaction with students from different countries, as JCU is an Australian university. A module on Cross-Cultural Management also helped her immensely when she started work at Northvolt, which has more than 600 employees from nearly 70 countries.
And while she did not participate in JCU’s Inter-campus Mobility Program, which allows students to study for two semesters in the Australian campuses, Ms Yeow believes it’s beneficial for students to experience studying in another country.
To future students, considering the same course, she has this piece of advice: “When trying to better the environment, it’s also important to look at other areas such as cost, to see how everything is interrelated.
“It’s all about sustainability. We should not only aim to be environmentally sound, but sustainable, so that we have a longer
and better future.”