S01 E07 Leaders in sustainability - Meet Camille Callens

Updated: 3 days ago

In our series of interviews with leaders in sustainability, we were fortunate to meet some shining examples of sustainable leadership.

Today we are interviewing Camille Callens, environmental advisor at the Brussels Chamber of Commerce. In portraying her, we will explore the seven traits that make her a leader in sustainability in particular what makes her a leader for change.

Camille Callens

Trait 1: A systematic interdisciplinary understanding

From a young age, Mrs. Callens understood that sustainable development consists of three components: environmental, social, and economic, and she has been working on all three of them.

In her work, Camille never forgets that climate change actions are not just that, they are there to protect the population of this earth.

Trait 2: Emotional intelligence and a caring attitude

Five years ago, Camille was in Berlin when Angela Merkel decided to open Germany’s borders to more than one million migrants.

She was working for a NGO, helping the migrants to be welcomed and integrated into the city, by offering them second-hand bikes to ease their mobility.

At the same time, she was advocating for greener mobility in Berlin by promoting more environmentally benign solutions to the population, to improve air quality: bicycles, shared mobility, etc.

Trait 3: Values orientation that shapes culture

Camille is sure that sustainable development challenges will find solutions thanks to collective intelligence.

As she pointed out during the interview time and time again, we need to stop working in silos.

She values teamwork and empowering every one to make a difference.

Trait 4: A vision for making a difference

Camille has been telling us her compelling narrative on how her organisation can contribute to creating a better world with lots of conviction.

In Brussels, she is leading a program that aims at reducing the CO2 emissions in Brussels by 30% by 2030. [1]

The lead of this project is the private sector (with BECI acting as its spokesman).

For once, she wants people to see that the private sector is not opposed to change.

Instead, it is the private sector who is leading the change.

More often than not companies find themselves stopped in their drive because of legislative and infrastructural obstacles.

Trait 5: An inclusive style that engenders trust

Acting as an intermediary between the public and the private sector, Camille makes sure that everyone's voice is heard.

From very small enterprises, which right now face difficulties to step up their sustainable development because of Covid-19 and the consequent decrease of their resources to the big, more resourceful, corporations, which have understood that the post-Covid world will be driven by sustainability.

Trait 6: A willingness to innovate

Camille recognises that complex problems require creative solutions.

She thrives on making sure that concrete actions are proposed, and are implemented.

Try, monitor, improve…

This is what will reduce carbon emissions in the city.

In Brussels, the carbon emissions are mostly due to Energy in building (60%) and mobility (28%).

She is been key in helping the private sector implementing:

  • E-mobility (more electric charge power available)

  • Green mobility (shared cars, electric cars, Hydrogen cars, etc.)

  • Greener energy (Replace oil-fueled heating from the city)

Camille believes in incremental changes, for her radical changes are too difficult to implement to have a real impact within the next 10 years.

Trait 7: A long term perspective on impacts

While Camille is an agent of change, she also carries the responsibility to share her knowledge with a wider audience.

[1] https://www.beci.be/2019/09/02/projet-30-30-30%E2%80%AF-reduire-limpact-co2-dici-2030/ (Last accessed on December 13th, 2020)



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