Schneider Electric is sharing the voices of its stakeholders on sustainability, partnerships and impact in Vietnam on the Sustainable Vietnam platform. CSR Manager Felicitas Huong shares her thoughts on these topics and her journey in aligning her purpose with her work.
I started as CSR Manager at Schneider Electric Vietnam and just after a short time a whole new world opened up to me which included all CSR and Sustainable Development topics.
Over the course of the last year, I had the chance to be part of change and to meet incredible people who shape my idea of how I can contribute.
For Schneider Electric, sustainability extends far beyond a vague hope for a cleaner planet. We believe that access to energy is a fundamental right, and therefore a truly relevant vision for sustainability must be seen holistically.
This is reflected in our Schneider Sustainability Impact (SSI) where our sustainability goals (21) are grouped under 5 megatrends, namely Climate Change, Circular Economy, Health & Equity, Ethics and Development. We use the SSI to share and measure our progress toward our sustainability goals which is externally audited and our progress is published quarterly (https://sdreport.se.com/en).
I am responsible for the megatrend “development” where I am working closely with the Schneider Electric Foundation, which supports future generations and forward-looking initiatives to give as many people as possible the energy they need to succeed (https://www.se.com/ww/en/aboutus/sustainability/foundation/).
Our main social and environmental program is called Access to Energy and focuses on 3 pillars:
- Solar Offers:Providing low cost solar solutions for off-grid communities (different electrification solutions from solar lamp to microgrids).
- Impact Investments: Investment funds for local innovative energy entrepreneurship.
- Vocational Training Program:We provide didactic solutions and Training, both technical and business, to address local skill shortages in the electricity sector for underprivileged communities.
A Childhood Dream
“In the future I’ll be working in development aid in Vietnam” I said firmly. I remember clearly this answer to the question when asked in primary school – what do I want to do in the future?
I did not know when and how this was going to happen but had key influences around me to ensure that it did.
My childhood friends’ parents worked in development. She was a nurse and he was an engineer in Africa and their engagement inspired me from the get-go.
In addition, being around family members who made sure how privileged we were in our day-to-day. My mother was constantly and as a child I thought, annoyingly, reminding me and my brother about children living in poverty if we did not finish our meals or appreciate school. This played an unconscious part in ensuring we still live in gratitude for what we have and work at making a positive change.
I also remember how a classmate during high school gave me a copy of a satire article of failed development aid in Africa. I was perplexed – how could good intentions fail so badly?
20 years later in Vietnam
Fast forward a couple of years… B.A International culture Business with focus on Southeast Asia – this title sounded promising and would open doors to a variety of position in any field.
Well, that’s what the university brochure said.
After 3 years abroad and 4 years of university I arrived in October 2013 in Saigon. I felt anything but ready.
After being an intern in a logistic company, I moved to Hanoi to to become an intern for a German political foundation focused climate change. I was full of hope to find a position later and join the German development agency who is based in Hanoi.
How little did I know about this industry, about Vietnam and how challenging it can be to find a position which gives you purpose. I took me a while, several jobs, industries and 4 years until I actually did something which gave me purpose.
It was a journey but here I am at Schneider Electric
The Chase for Purpose
My journey and my current role have opened my eyes in many ways. My key takeaway is how I continue to find it very interesting and exciting to see how countries, corporates, start-ups and single persons come up with innovative solutions. I really do enjoy being surrounded by the “can-do” attitude of like-minded-people.
On the other hand, it’s strange to find joy in fixing things – in the ideal world these should not be fixed in the first place.
I would rather prefer that my position was not necessary because we would all live a sustainable life in balance with nature and environment.
As this is still not the case, I continue my journey to find ‘purpose’, to also contribute to ‘purpose’ and to impact positively in my role now and the future together with all.
To read the full series –
- SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC ON SUSTAINABLE VIETNAM: BEING PART OF THE COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY – By Felicitas Huong, CSR Manager, Schneider Electric Vietnam
- SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC ON SUSTAINABLE VIETNAM: BEING ‘GREEN’ PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY – By Nhi Nguyen Bach Yen, Sales & Business Intelligence, Schneider Electric Vietnam
SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC ON SUSTAINABLE VIETNAM: PARTNERING FOR A NEXT GENERATION OF SKILLED WORKERS – By Mihaela Chirca, Project Manager, Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement (IECD)
SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC ON SUSTAINABLE VIETNAM: RUNNING FOR A GREENER PLANET – By Ly LE Nguyen Van, Retail Channel Marketing Manager, Schneider Electric Vietnam
To read about Schneider Electric on Sustainable Vietnam – THE ENERGY PARADOX: SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC ON BRINGING LIGHT – By Christina Ameln, Sustainability Strategist, Purple IVY
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