Meet edie’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2023: Kinga Kosmider, Burberry

This 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, Kinga Kosmider, climate and nature manager at Burberry.

Meet edie’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2023: Kinga Kosmider, Burberry

More than just a list, edie’s annual 30 Under 30 initiative shines a spotlight on talented sustainability and net-zero professionals – aged under 30 – who are delivering on efforts to build a better future and showing fantastic promise for their future potential.

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19, the initiative has returned for 2023-4, with the new class having been announced last September.

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.

Our next profile interview is with Kinga Kosmider, climate and nature manager at British luxury brand Burberry.

How I got to where I am now…

“I moved from Warsaw to London to study Economics and then International Business at Greenwich University. I’ve always been good at maths and interested in things like supply chain management, which guided my choice. Living abroad was always appealing because I’m independent and love fast-paced settings – and a challenge! In London, I got to experience a new city and dive into various fascinating cultures, and that’s something that kept me here for ten years.

“During my studies, I came across Jane Goodall’s work, which inspired me to find my true purpose: environmentalism. Her incredible research with chimpanzees in Tanzania showed me the importance of protecting ecosystems and the deep connection between humans and nature. Her approach, blending scientific research, public education and grassroots activitm, really resonated with me. Goodall’s work motivated me to get involved in environmental protection and sustainability.

“This realisation led me to pursue a career in sustainability, perfectly aligning with my passion for the environment, and I don’t think I would be as successful (or happy!) working in any other field.

“While working at Burberry, I’ve had the privilege of contributing to numerous sustainability initiatives, covering packaging, waste management, circularity, and climate and nature projects. This experience has been incredibly valuable, with each day bringing new challenges and opportunities.”

My biggest career achievement to date has been…

“Working on Burberry’s Nature Strategy, which has involved meetings with the company’s leaders. This makes me feel accomplished and appreciated, which is a massive motivator to keep pushing harder on this important topic of nature.

“In general, though, this role lets me learn new things every day (thanks to the alphabet soup keeping me on my toes) and be super creative, which is a great combination.”

The biggest challenge I have encountered has been…

“Simply being a young professional. Despite almost a decade of experience in business, I still often find myself in situations where I have to prove myself, whether it’s in meetings, at conferences, or while networking.

“Overcoming biases and earning respect can be tough, but it’s a challenge I’m more than willing to take on. After all, Nature can’t speak up for itself, so it’s up to us to be its advocates.

“There’s also the fact that sustainability is a rapidly evolving field, so there’s something new to learn every day.

“That said, I refuse to let imposter syndrome hold me back. It’s important to reflect on the serious progress you make and to thank the mentors who have guided you along the way – so I’d like to extend a huge shoutout!”

If I had to describe my generation in a word or phrase, I would say…

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

A successful 2024 for me looks like…

“My primary objective for the next 12 months is to advance our Nature strategy, which is focused on how Burberry manages its most significant nature-related impacts, dependencies, risks, and opportunities within our value chain and beyond.

“A key aspect of this will be conducting comprehensive risk assessments to identify how we can positively influence the environment. Additionally, I will work on supporting our commitment to sustainable management of natural forests and promoting zero deforestation. This is crucial for a fashion brand like Burberry.

“Furthermore, this work will be aligned with relevant policies, disclosure standards and frameworks, which involves a significant amount of technical work. There’s a lot of work ahead of me but I’m excited about tackling these important challenges.”

Outside of my career, I enjoy…

“A lot of different things! My long-standing passions are snowboarding and sailing, which I’ve loved since I was a child and hold a special place in my heart. I even named my dog Sailor! Nothing shapes your character quite like being responsible for others on a boat journey from London to Amsterdam or navigating a storm in the Fjords. I highly recommend these experiences to everyone.

“That said, as likely as I am to be planning a sailing or ski trip in my free time, I’m easily captivated by new things. One evening, I might be reading a book about Buddhism, the next, researching how to organise a trip to Antarctica, and then binge-watching The Sopranos.

“I also love spending time with family and friends, enjoying wholesome London activities like eating a Sunday roast.”

My ‘Mission Possible’ message for business leaders is…

“Integrate sustainability into the core of your business strategy. This means going beyond compliance and making proactive efforts to understand and mitigate negative environmental and social impacts. Setting ambitious goals aligned with global standards ensures transparency and accountability is absolutely crucial.

“I recognise this isn’t an easy task—it requires significant effort and resources. However, if every business commits to this, we’ll be in a strong position to protect our beautiful planet. There’s real power in numbers!

Also, education is key. Stay informed about new sustainability developments, and educate your colleagues, customers, and partners. Leaders should ensure their teams are well-equipped to work prioritising sustainability in all aspects of their responsibilities, regardless of whether they work in a corporate responsibility function.”

My key piece of advice for young people entering my profession today would be…

“First off, find a job in a company that cares about sustainability. They should either have ambitious goals or be working towards them. This is the key starting point.

“Next, get to know all the key sustainability-related policies, disclosure frameworks and regulations, especially the ones relevant to the job you want. This is super important.

“Also, find a mentor! They’re there to help and guide you with their experience. I can’t stress enough how much my mentors have helped me. They make navigating your career easier, and you’ll see that people in higher positions aren’t so intimidating after all. Plus, mentoring is great for mentors too because it gives them fresh perspectives.

“Lastly, there are some great documentaries out there that I strongly recommend, like Kiss the Ground. You easily can find them on various platforms, and I find a good documentary to be so motivating to inspire you to make a positive change.”

The full 30 Under 30 Class of 2023 membership is detailed here

Nominations for the next edie 30 Under 30 class will open in July 2024. Subscribe to our daily email newsletters to make sure you don’t miss your chance to apply.

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