Amy Hargroves, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability for Sprint, picked 5 questions to answer. Sprint was recently honored as a goal achievers, for reaching 36 percent energy savings through the Better Buildings Challenge.
If you could invent one energy-saving solution, what would it be?
It would really be about self-energy creation, where you as an individual create the energy. So the vibrations that you create while walking can be used as a power source. As we’re thinking about how we can do more 100 percent renewable sources, we should see ourselves as the source of energy. To me it’s much more interesting to look at our movement, and how we can tap that as an energy source.
What’s surprised you the most in your work?
How much fun you can have in your job. For the most part, people who work in sustainability are among the special few who can combine personal passion with their work, so it’s a gift. For me there is nothing better, I can’t imagine a better job than the one I have.
What do you think the energy landscape will look like in 2020?
I think it’s highly dependent on the next round of elections. I hope that there will be greater emphasis on renewable energy and energy independence, but I’m pessimistic given the current friction between our political parties and how central the energy issue is. In a way I hope that climate change impacts will become more real to people, that they will recognize it and take actions. I’m worried that it will take some major catastrophes in order to get us more focused on it. It really depends on the political landscape and the will of the leaders and the will of the people. And the will of the people usually doesn’t move until they’re forced to move.
What’s one thing you wish was easier in your job?
I wish that people would just stay in their jobs, because people are always coming in and you always have to be out there, getting new people on board. The most significant challenge in the corporate world is the CEO change, because it drives the direction of the entire company, and a big influx of new leaders. So no matter what you’re going to be in a hold pattern for about a year until we get everyone level set.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to anyone going into sustainability?
Be careful of the language you use when you are trying to get people on board. Don’t use your language, use their language in values that they care about. For example, don’t talk about greenhouse gas reductions, talk about cost savings. There are real business benefits in this work and that’s what you need to focus on.