Jeremiah Brenner, manager, corporate responsibility, LoyaltyOne
Q: Describe your educational background and work history?
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo, an honours degree in arts and business with a sociology major. I then joined the City of Mississauga as a service value analyst reviewing city services. After nearly two years, I returned to school to complete a master’s degree. I’ve always been passionate about the environment and was accepted into the University of Western’s masters of environment & sustainability program. I completed a work term with a Toronto-based environmental consulting firm before joining LoyaltyOne, the owners and operators of the AIR MILES® Reward Program, as manager of corporate responsibility.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your position?
LoyaltyOne fosters innovation and experimentation. This allows me the flexibility to pilot new and innovative programs and initiatives. LoyaltyOne is a recognized leader in corporate responsibility, including environmental sustainability. The culture of the company is another reason I enjoy my role. The associates are supportive of all the work the corporate responsibility team does to create a healthier and more sustainable work environment.
Q: Why did you choose sustainability as a field?
Sustainability allows individuals from numerous backgrounds and sectors to identify, address and propose solutions to complex problems. These problems have an effect on a global scale. Being part of the sustainability sector allows me to drive these discussions and contribute to the solutions that foster positive change.
Q: Why is sustainability important for companies to address?
All organizations, regardless of sector or industry, are consumers and producers of goods and services. As such, there are resources that are used to create and distribute these products and services. When you look at the scale of this consumption, you get a clear sense of the possible impacts, positive or negative, that this can have. Organizations have the power to make positive changes by being good corporate citizens.
Q: What’s your proudest professional moment?
My proudest professional moment was working with LoyaltyOne’s property management company to complete a LEED® EB: O&M (Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance) submission. The process was intensive and a lot of effort went into this project. When we receive this certification, we will have over 1,000 LoyaltyOne associates in a LEED certified space.
Q: What are your future plans?
Sustainability is constantly in flux, so you have to keep current. I get involved with committees, conferences and workshops to ensure I benefit from the knowledge and experience of leaders within this field.
Q: What advice would you give organizations looking to bolster their sustainability programs?
Have a vision and plan that outlines your organization’s sustainable goals and objectives. Sustainability is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Setting targets and goals will allow you to focus on achieving the objectives that are the right fit for your company. Sustainability programs also provide accountability and transparency to your organization and customers. Get involved. Participate on boards and committees. Attend workshops and conferences. Join webinars and education sessions. Sustainability is a field where creativity, innovation and collaboration are essential. What a great opportunity for us to rise to the occasion.