Sustainability is at the heart of Dassault Systèmes’ corporate purpose, which is to provide business and people with 3DEXPERIENCE universes to imagine sustainable innovations capable of harmonizing product, nature and life. Since 2020, Dassault Systèmes has committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative, a global initiative that helps companies establish science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform business operations to fit the future low-carbon economy.
Inspired by the company’s dedication to sustainability, our “Great Place to Work” committee in Dassault Systèmes’ Malaysia office launched a range of ‘green’ initiatives to engage employees in corporate volunteerism programs that help to raise awareness of beneficial sustainability practices, such as recycling.
In the second part of Dassault Systèmes Volunteer series, we speak to Libby Lee, DELMIA Operations Research Scientist, on some of these ‘green’ initiatives to drive employee volunteerism, notably the collection of plastic bread tags, used to seal bags of bread loaves sold on supermarket shelves, for the “Bread Tag Upcycling Program” of Malaysian social enterprise, Hara Makers. The program highlights how plastic bread tags often end up in landfills that pollute land and marine ecosystems. Through Hara Makers’ “Reimagine Plastic” project, recycled bread tags are repurposed into a wide variety of useful products, such as trays, picture frames and coat hangers.
1. What inspired you to do volunteer work?
I started off initiating charity work when the pandemic hit. One can imagine how hard it is for places like orphanages, shelters, and the minimal income groups to pull through the pandemic. I was approached by another colleague, Haris Phang, who introduced me to Hara Makers’ “Bread Tag Upcycling Program”, and I was hooked. By taking common recyclable items, like bread tags, and transforming them into something for the social good is what I call a ‘win-win’ situation.
2. Why did you choose to volunteer for sustainability causes?
A sustainability cause is very much like a charitable cause, in the sense that they both aim to make the world a better place. In some of the charitable programs I took part in, I felt touched by people’s struggles, having gone through certain struggles in life myself. Likewise, having learned about the damaging impact of plastic waste and landfills on the environment, I know that volunteer work doesn’t stop at just helping people. We need to join together as a community with a singular vision to save the planet. Every contribution counts, even something as small as recycling a bread tag can go a long way.
3. What have you learned from your volunteer experiences?
I realise that the success of any charitable or sustainability program depends strongly on awareness. Most people have a heart of gold and wouldn’t think twice about contributing their share, be it in terms of time, volunteer effort or donations. But without adequate awareness about the social cause, contributing may not be at the top of their minds. Another important lesson that I’ve learned, is that ‘One is infinitely more than zero’ – this means that each and every effort made, however small, is much better than doing nothing at all.
4. What advice would you give to people looking to start a volunteer project?
Do research in the social cause, get to know the people involved and their stories, and communicate these stories through the right channels. Building awareness of the social cause is key to the long-term success of any volunteer project.