Meet edie's 30 Under 30 Class of 2020: Amali Bunter, Lidl GB
This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Up next: Lidl GB's senior responsible sourcing manager Amali Bunter.
The future of business leadership starts right here. Earlier this year, edie unveiled the second cohort of members of its 30 Under 30 initiative – a group of bright and ambitious rising sustainability and energy stars from across the UK.
After being nominated by their colleagues and impressing judges from Global Action Plan and the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS), this cohort of youthful visionaries now benefit from an unrivalled opportunity to connect with one another and co-develop solutions to some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges of our time.
In this weekly series, we will be sharing their stories and successes beyond the group, giving edie readers insight into the minds of those who will be leading the charge in creating the low-carbon, resource-efficient economies of the future.
This week, it's the turn of Amali Bunter, who plays a key role in supermarket Lidl GB's responsible sourcing work.
How I got to where I am now:
“When I was studying German and English literature for my undergraduate degree, at Edinburgh University, I was heavily involved in a student-led organisation supporting sustainable development around the world. That sparked my interest and my passion for sustainable development and I knew it was what I wanted to do full-time.
“After graduating, I started an internship at a sustainability consultancy, where I used my German to help with translations and media reviews on the sustainability sector in Germany. Waitrose started advertising for an entry-level role in responsible sourcing and ethical trade while I was interning and I jumped at the chance to apply.
“That role was super interesting – it was great to combine learnings about development and business, and to travel internationally to work with suppliers. I was with Waitrose for four years and over that time helped to develop the Fairtrade strategy and the strategy for the Waitrose Foundation, focusing on how investing in social impacts could support overall supply chain resilience.
“The opportunity at Lidl came up just as I was thinking about taking on a new challenge and, at the time, it was a new role for the business, sitting within the buying department and focussing on responsible sourcing with a chance to also use my German language. I’ve been here for around four years now and the agenda has evolved rapidly over that time. Lidl has given me a lot of freedom to make suggestions and drive progress, and it’s very motivating to be working for a company that is so focussed on improving its approach to sustainability."
My biggest career achievement to date has been:
“Developing and embedding Lidl’s first responsible sourcing strategy at a time when sustainability was moving to the core of Lidl’s overall business strategy.
"Undertaking this process meant I had to get not only buy-in from our board in the UK but our international board too, particularly on topics such as human rights due diligence, the circular economy and climate change.
“It also meant growing our team of specialists to deliver on the key elements of the strategy and move the business’ approach forward.
"I’m most interested in getting things done and am pleased by how much we’ve been able to implement at Lidl in the last four years”
The biggest challenge I have encountered along the way is:
“Learning to accept the things that aren’t within my control and focusing on what you can achieve – and have achieved.
“It’s very easy to focus on what’s still to be done at a global scale. But it’s important to celebrate successes and stay focused on where you can make a big difference.”
If I had to describe my generation in one word or phrase, I would say:
A successful 2020-21 for me looks like:
“Adapting to the new normal of working from home while staying connected to my colleagues and to the business. Everything’s been turned on its head this year but we have to adapt, and if we can end the year feeling like we’ve made progress, that will be massive for me.”
Outside of my career, I enjoy:
“On days when I’m feeling healthy, I love open water swimming, running and yoga. But on other days, I’m more likely to be chilling out with friends and enjoying a glass of prosecco or two.”
My ‘Mission Possible’ message for business is:
“Try not to feel overwhelmed and defeated by the scale of what we have to do. Categorise key topics, set strong targets and deliver progress there.”
My key piece of advice for any young professionals entering my industry today is:
“There are no right or wrong ways to enter the industry, so take opportunities and learn as much as possible.
“Also, don’t be afraid to challenge things within your role and to build a network of people who bring different perspectives to the table, helping you to critically assess your thinking and providing motivation when you’re feeling like a little fish in a big pond.”
The full Class of 2020 membership is detailed here.
To stay in the loop for 2021 nominations for the 30 Under 30, email firstname.lastname@example.org.