Sustainable in Singapore

In Singapore, many businesses are required to report on their environmental and social impact. As a Senior Consultant at EY, Athena Thomas, Class of 2020 not only guides her clients through the process, she helps them see why it matters.

NYUAD: How does your work contribute to a more sustainable society?

I’ve been with EY for two years on the Climate Change and Sustainability Services team. My work involves preparing sustainability reports for our clients and understanding the challenges businesses face with making credible disclosures. Singapore has a carbon tax regime for certain industries and regulations around sustainability reporting. Clients come to us because they don’t know how to meet these requirements. There are many disclosure gaps, and we know the reported data is not always credible.

NYUAD: What does your job involve?

There’s so much about it that I like. We’ll have storyboarding workshops with clients. I present ideas on how they could effectively report their sustainability information and make suggested improvements. On the assurance side, my role is to check data, review calculations, visit their facilities, and make sure everything is aligned with the government requirements.

I want to convince people to be more optimistic about sustainability. We should invest time in shifting how we consume and produce.

Athena Thomas, Class of 2020

NYUAD: While doing this work, what changes have you noticed?

Progress can feel slow, but what keeps me going is seeing a gradual shift in recognizing that many ways we do business are unsustainable. To be honest, some companies complain that they’re only doing sustainability reporting because they have to. Even though some businesses I work with may not be the most excited about sustainability, others are leaders in this space. Advocating for these changes does help.

NYUAD: What do you want your impact to be?

That's a big question! I want to convince people to be more optimistic about sustainability. We should invest time in shifting how we consume and produce. It’s not going to blow over in a few years. Even though your impact isn’t always obvious in a corporate setting, I’m learning a lot in my role through different projects and enjoying it. It may seem small, but when a client thanks me for sharing and explaining the real benefits of sustainability, I feel that’s a positive impact.

NYUAD: How did your time at NYUAD shape you?

NYU Abu Dhabi was a life-changing experience. Global education was a big part of what I took away: learning about different cultures by being fully immersed. I did a J-Term in Ghana on economic development and semesters abroad in New York and London. Being able to immerse myself in those places was really beneficial, beyond eye-opening.