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Monsanto's Gabriela Burian: A Better World It's a Family Affair

Monsanto is No. 39 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list


(Originally published: LinkedIn on July 21, 2017)

Gabriela Burian

Earlier this week, an important meeting took place at the United Nations headquarters that is sure to profoundly impact our collective futures. The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened to review progress against the Global Goals for Sustainable Development at the global level.

In the Burian family living room, another important meeting was held.

My daughter, husband, son and I gathered to review our own progress against the Global Goals at an individual and community level. As a mom, a critical part of my life is to convey to my children what’s truly important. And what’s more important than living in a just, environmentally sustainable world that’s prosperous for all

That’s the aim of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 Goals, which were adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit.

The 2030 Agenda stresses collective action, and the Burians emphasize personal accountability. As a family, we support all 17 of the Global Goals, but each of us has a few that we hold most near and dear to our hearts. And we’re each working to make them a reality.

Alice, my 16-year-old daughter, is particularly fond of Goal 4: Quality Education (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all). She recognizes that achieving inclusive and equitable education requires strong efforts, especially for vulnerable populations. That’s why she’s part of the Ladue Schools Helping Students club, which supports students at her school, among other important activities. Alice’s actions also support another one of her favorites, Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all).

My 12-year-old son, Artur, has fully embraced Goal 15: Life on Land (Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss). Artur has been planting trees in our backyard for years, and he’s recently begun participating in community efforts to do the same. Since trees absorb and store atmospheric carbon, a potent greenhouse gas, his efforts also support Goal 13: Climate Action (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).

Eric, my husband, is the tinkerer of the family. He has applied his professional skills as an energy automation expert to bring home Goal 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure (Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation). Eric automated our home heating and cooling system so that it kicks on when it detects motion, signaling that someone is home. That saves us money and conserves precious energy. He’s now evaluating powering our household with solar panels, supporting Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy(Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).

For my part, I adore Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development). In my job, I’ve been working with collaborations to deliver SDGs with Monsanto, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the UN CEO Water MandateSteering Committee and many more. But collaboration is not just what I do for a living, it’s how I live. I’m a member of our local public school foundation board (Ladue Education Foundation) and active in many other community initiatives such as the Business and Community Partnerships.

Although we are all busy, we still find time for family. Coming together around the Global Goals has been an amazing family experience and has dramatically increased both the quantity and quality of the time we spend with each other.

In an age when young people are so often facedown toward their mobile devices, making the Global Goals a family matter is a great way to get them to look up and see what they can do to make the world around them a better place for everyone.

I would love to hear from you how you and your family are supporting the Global Goals here on the Linkedin or on the twitter at @gpburian

Gabriela Burian is senior director of sustainable agriculture at Monsanto

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