The Sustainability Coach – A Personal Reflection by Tove Andersson


I am Tove Andersson, a 22-year-old student studying a bachelor of Global Studies in Gothenburg. The news about the pilot project for sustainability coaches for SDSN Youth caught my interest –

for a long time I have felt a need to get out of my “academic bubble” and meet other people that want to create sustainable solutions not only theoretically, but also practically.

Thus, I became one of the sustainability coaches, and was matched with a technician class at Mikael Elias Highschool. My role as a sustainability coach is to inspire them to integrate sustainability into their Junior Achievement Program, or more specifically into their business ideas.

A couple of weeks later I was standing, quite nervous, in front of a class of 26 students and three teachers, but the 90-minute class swiftly went by.

I started by introducing me, why I was there, and the Sustainable Development Goals of which only one in my class had heard of.

Thankfully, they were very interested and active during the “Global Goal quiz” that was held and especially discussed how they could solve some of the challenges of sustainable consumption and production, which is one of the most demanding Global Goal in Sweden. A topic that came up from almost all the groups in the class, including the teachers, was the importance of sustainable and recycled material.

This is probably the main challenge for me as a sustainability coach – their business ideas had been decided for a while, and the possibilities for changing them with a holistic approach were limited.

However, their interest in choice of sustainable material compose a possibility to integrate sustainability to their business ideas, so the teacher and I therefore decided that the next class will focus more on this aspect.

The Global Goals will also continue to be a central approach to integrate sustainability. In the next class, students will also use a “SDG Impact Assessment” to examine the potential impact of their business ideas to the Global Goals, not to lose sight of the holistic perspective.

To conclude, I have found that sustainability coaching is a demanding and inspiring challenge – in the intersection of different stakeholders and viewpoints, I do not only teach, but I also learn.

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