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Global sustainability goals are more than a number for UL’s Khoi Do; it’s a common language for companies to operate sustainably.
Khoi Do’s blood runs blue, Michigan blue. A 2005 graduate of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, Do, the director of advisory services and strategy with UL’s Environmental Health and Safety Software (EHSS) group, grew up in western Michigan as the son of Vietnamese immigrants.
It is Michigan, with its Midwestern values of integrity, hard work, neighborliness and a passion for all things automotive, that shaped Do’s commitment to stewardship and global sustainability, eventually leading him to work for a safety company also grounded in Midwestern tradition.
“We are mission-driven, so every morning that I wake up, I don’t have to think about how I’m going to defend what I do,” said Do who had previously worked in Washington, D.C., as part of UL’s Global Government Affairs office. “I don’t have to spin what I do or what the company I work for does.”
According to DO, EHSS plays a significant role in supporting the health, safety and sustainability of workers and the enterprises who hire them. “Having safer employees and more sustainable operations makes it a lot easier for companies to thrive in the long run,” he said. “And, it allows UL to fulfill its mission across the board.”
Mission, of course, refers to UL’s published creed “Working for a Safer World.” Do believes safety refers to more than just reducing workplace injuries or immunizing employees against the flu. It’s also about harmonizing standards and creating a common language so that companies of all sizes understand what is needed to operate sustainably rather than simply trying to comply with regulations.
By making it easier for companies to understand the value of more sustainable operations, they can focus on making the operational changes that reduce carbon emissions, remove environmentally dangerous chemicals from the supply chain and improve the quality of life for workers.
“One of the things that UL does is it helps bring scientific rigor and objectivity to the sustainability movement,” said Do. “If we can help push our findings into emerging markets, maybe we can help them leap into sustainable innovation without having to go through the growing pains of the Western world.
“I think the biggest thing for me is that we not only help companies avoid potentially harmful situations, but we also help make a better living or working situation for people around the world,” he said. “And, that’s a huge thing for me, because I get a lot of gratification out of having a higher purpose.”
Do believes that through UL’s support, companies are becoming more sustainable and positively affecting their surrounding communities. Additionally, with data collected via UL’s software offerings, companies are finding it easier to relate reductions in workplace injuries and sustainable business practices to quantifiable return on investment.
“The more we can relate health, safety and sustainability to the bottom line and good business practices, the faster we can drive the adoption of these practices around the world.” said Do.
With this in mind, Do believes that global sustainability will truly accelerate when companies of all sizes, in all markets, see the value of health, safety and sustainability.
“Being able to help leading Fortune 500 companies all the way down to small companies just starting their sustainability journey is really rewarding,” said Do.
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