Aniko Knopp: A Sustainability Associate on Navigating a Career in CSR

Aniko Knopp is an Associate at Sustainable Business Consulting. Aniko wrote her first sustainability report in 2012 for the University of Luxembourg and ever since has been deepening her expertise in the corporate sustainability reporting field. As a consultant in Luxembourg, she worked for companies in transportation, manufacturing, mining, energy and finance sectors. She has particularly enjoyed working with companies embracing cutting-edge climate science and committing to the Paris accord. Below, she discusses the importance of self-confidence, knowing when to say no, and her love for acro-yoga.

1. Why are you passionate about sustainability?

It all started during my Bachelor’s program in economics when things like air pollution and emissions were treated as externalities and often neglected by our theories. I felt like this one-dimensional view of our economy could not produce optimal outcomes for our society. Hence, I started to complement my studies with environmental and social courses trying to understand how an economist in the 21st century could think about and analyze the world. I found the framework that I believe will help us set on the right path and recommend everyone to watch this Ted Talk and read Kate Raworth’s work!

2. What is your favorite project you’ve worked on for SBC?

I only recently joined the team, so it’s hard for me to single out a project. However, I must say that I am extremely excited about the work that the company is doing around GHG emissions. SBC has had a tangible impact in terms of raising awareness and implementing groundbreaking programs to reduce our clients’ emissions. Way to go!

3. If you could make one change to help women advance at work, what would it be?

From a young age ensure that they have ample self-confidence. I feel like most women are holding themselves back instead of pushing their limits and embracing the uncertainty that comes with it.

4. What do you wish you had known when you were first starting your career?

How to say NO. It’s one of the hardest things to say in a work environment, especially if one is not experienced yet. I, unfortunately, early on in my career felt the consequences of lacking work-life balance and ever since have been striving to deliver excellence in a more sustainable way.

5. What can men do to support women at work?

Acknowledge and build upon our differences as humans.

6. How do you work to uplift other women, personally and professionally?

Honestly, I have never specifically focused on uplifting women in my career but rather focus on uplifting humans by providing honest and constructive feedback any time I can and making sure that I share best practices within our field.

In my personal life though, I definitely lifting up a woman or two… at acro-yoga 🙂

7. What is the best advice you’ve received?

“Deliver excellent work and it will come to you.”

My mentor meant that, especially at the beginning of a career, it’s extremely important to first put something down on paper and have valuable experience, and then people interested in the same topics will reach out to you. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I do not do any networking at all, but I consciously focus on enlarging and deepening my knowledge instead of attending numerous networking events.

8. What is something someone would never guess about you?

I have a deeply rooted passion for Brazilian culture. When I was 14 a group of capoeira practitioners came to perform in my school – I can still recall the images of the show! Ever since, I’ve explored capoeira, Brazilian music, traditional dances, the Portuguese language and the country as well, during a trip in 2015.

9. What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

I am looking forward to fully establishing myself in Seattle as a sustainability professional and being a trusted member of the SBC team.

10. If you could say one thing to young women today, what would it be?

Don’t question yourself all the time. Try, fail, try again 🙂