Chicago Associate Consultant Skyler Bercini is a member of L.E.K. Consulting’s internal sustainability team, which aims to make L.E.K. even more sustainable through strategy and operations. Read more about Skyler’s passion for sustainability and L.E.K.’s commitment to sustainable practices and responsibilities.
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you joined L.E.K.
I am currently an associate consultant and have been at L.E.K. for a little over a year and a half. I grew up in Los Angeles and went to university in Berkeley, California. I ended up in Chicago just to get a change of pace and maybe experience some seasons. The reason I got into consulting at L.E.K. is because I want to make an impact; a lot of big, important decisions flow through consulting. You also get a wide array of experiences at L.E.K. I recently joined the industrials sector because that’s where most of our sustainability work falls and sustainability is a huge passion of mine.
Why is sustainability a passion for you, and how do you bring this to your work at L.E.K.?
I have always had an appreciation for nature and our wild spaces, especially growing up in California where there are iconic ecosystems like Yosemite, the redwood forests and all of our marine ecosystems along the coast. I have a passion to make sure these ecosystems are taken care of, both in my backyard and in every place around the world that is threatened and needs our help. These important spaces need people to fight for them. Going to Berkeley stoked more of my interest in other aspects of sustainability too, such as the social, human rights and labor aspects. At L.E.K., I expressed my interest in sustainability to my mentors and staffing team, and they offered me the opportunity to work with the internal sustainability team. I didn’t hesitate; I jumped right in. It’s been amazing hearing about all the things that L.E.K. has in the pipeline and what we’ve already accomplished in the sustainability space, both externally through our Sustainability Centre of Excellence and internally with our GoingGreener groups and the internal sustainability team. It’s been an awesome opportunity to work on what I’m most passionate about.
What types of projects is the internal sustainability team working on right now?
The biggest thing we’re working on right now is our first sustainability report. This is a holistic reflection on how we did as a firm in 2022 across all the different sustainability categories. We are looking into what the gold standards are and how we can meet sustainable development goals that organizations like the Science Based Targets Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures have published. We are seeing where we stack up in hundreds of different categories and identifying seeing what we do now and how we can improve. We are also designing our Scope 1, 2 and 3 decarbonization strategy and finding ways to produce less carbon dioxide in our day-to-day operations, such as cutting back on travel, which is a Scope 3 emission, and finding what strategies we need to use to reduce those emissions.
How do you try to be sustainable in your life?
Climate change gets center stage in most conversations about sustainability, but I’ve always had a personal passion for reducing waste. For me, using a plastic fork once and then having that piece of plastic exist for a thousand years has always bothered me. While it’s difficult to live a completely zero-waste life, I try to reduce my consumption of single-use items and leverage reusable or compostable options whenever I can. I’ll bring reusable utensils with me when I go out, I opt for plastic-free shampoo bars, and I keep a compost bin for any food waste I create.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to make a sustainable impact in their personal or professional lives?
There are things I mentioned, such as limiting your consumption of single-use items, and the conventional wisdom of cycling or walking instead of driving or taking an Uber. I also think one of the best things anybody can do is talk about it. Environmentally impactful companies feel momentum when they hear the buzz of people speaking up, and that’s when they’re hopefully going to end up making changes. The same goes for personal relationships. I always try to talk about these issues with my friends and family. Internally, at a firm like L.E.K., people should voice their passion for sustainability-related issues. More voices elevate the conversation to leadership, which helps ensure we take action as a firm and look for ways to support our clients on their own journeys toward sustainability.