Promoting children's rights in the Global Pension Fund's investments
Although former NHH student Jens Aas has yet to turn 30, he has already worked on sustainability on three different continents.
Jens Aas (29) says that his interest in economics came about when he was an exchange student in Guatemala through a NOREC programme.
‘It opened my eyes to the big questions. Why are some people rich and others poor? And where does global inequality actually stem from?’ asks Aas.
REJECTED HIGH SALARIES
Aas is currently employed at Unicef Norway and works on sustainable investments. The project is a cooperation with the Global Pension Fund and will secure children’s rights in the companies the Global Pension Fund invests in.
‘I’m coordinating a project working on children's rights in the textile industry. The Global Pension Fund has invested in several big companies that operate in the textile industry. We create a network for investor dialogue to promote sustainable value chains and secure children's rights in the industry,’ he says.
It is no accident that he now works for Unicef.
‘I could probably have ended up with a higher salary if I had chosen to go in another direction, but I have chosen Unicef based on a personal interest. I want to be involved in making business sustainable,’ says Aas.
‘IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT TO CHOOSE’
Aas graduated with a degree in business economics from NHH in 2017. He took a double master’s degree. A master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration specialising in energy, natural resources and environment from NHH, and a master's degree in social entrepreneurship, business and sustainability from HEC Paris.
‘I decided to take this double master’s degree because it gave me the opportunity to specialise in sustainability. It has been a good choice, and I'm very grateful for this opportunity,’ he says.
STARTED HIS CAREER IN GERMANY
A double degree from NHH and HEC Paris opened up several doors. Aas was hired as a global sustainability trainee at Adidas, and worked at their main office in Germany.
‘It was very exciting and educational. I gained insight into what they do to ensure sustainability in the value chains, and how Adidas works on sustainability in their marketing,’ he says.
Aas worked for Adidas for two years, and spent six months in Shanghai. There, he got to work directly with the value chains and manufacturers.
‘It was by accident that I started my career abroad. There are many good opportunities to work on the environment and sustainability in Norway too. Norway is a pioneering country in this field. But my eyes were opened to the international opportunities abroad.’
‘TAKE THE CHANCE!’
‘My advice to today's students is that they mustn't hesitate to take the opportunities that arise. Even when it seems daunting,’ says Aas.
After completing his bachelor's degree at NHH, he worked for six months as a trainee at the Norwegian Embassy in Argentina. From Argentina, he moved on to the UN Headquarters in New York. As a trainee in the UN, he got to be part of the negotiations that decided the UN's sustainable development goals.
‘Although I found it daunting to try new things, in my experience it's best to just take the plunge. Have the courage to push yourself,’ he says.