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Clara Bütow

YOUNG & AMBITIOUS MINDS

Finalist of the EPIC Awards 2020

"There is no day you're alive, no project you are involved, and no business you can found that will not have an impact on the world we live in. Thus, each decision you take is also a powerful tool to transform our world. Realise that incredible power, use it wisely, and start making the world the just and sustainable place it can become!"

Founder and President of Impact Revolution, Co-Founder of B Impact IE and Speaker of Soulbottles. Dual Degree BBA/BIR 2018.

I’m Clara, and my I’m on a mission to scale impact wherever I can. I care deeply about the environment and love to discover ways and models in which we can transform our society, politics and economy to a more just and sustainable system.
Today, I manage my own environmental NGO, work as campaign lead in the company that scored the world’s highest score in the economy for the common good – soulbottles – and am involved in the strategy of organisations like Entrepreneurs for Future and B Corp Germany. I love all areas where social progress, climate protection and business solutions meet, and love to bring young teams further in their business model, just like I am currently doing as a coach in the soulincubator program.
How I got there? Well, I guess I’ve always been a bit stubborn, curious and very passionate about concepts with the potential to change our world for the better. Growing up in Germany, I believe my exchange year in Brazil, where I cofounded an educational project for kids with experiences of rape, domestic violence and drug abuse, was sort of the kickoff. I discovered the concept of social entrepreneurship as member of the ie junior advisory board one year later, and knew: this is exactly what I want to do with my life! While pursuing a dual degree in Business and International Relation, I started some clubs at ie, and in 2017 also my own project impact revolution. What was first a podcast featuring inspiring activists, artists, CEOs and founders in the impact sphere quickly turned into real life events, too. After graduating first in my class, I decided to ditch some job offers, and went for a crazy journey instead – traveling 2000km by bike with a self-built flamingo made from plastic waste. “What the….” you might think, and I don’t blame you for it, this was exactly the reaction I wanted to provoke! My traveling trash tour led me through 4 countries, hosting 27 events with dozens of organisations and opened me countless doors to talk about plastic pollution and solutions to ordinary people on the street, but also CEOs, activists and political leaders. Over media coverage, my campaign reached more than 1.000.000 people, the scarily big goal I had set for myself in the beginning.
I continued to roll out impact revolution as NGO, today we are already present in 4 cities and looking forward to making activism for the planet more accessible for all while developing more campaigns like my trash tour. Through soulbottles, I’ve gained the best possible intro in what social business really means in day-to-day life and understood the power of corporate activism. In the future, I am looking to apply this knowledge more on the macro level – the immediate pressure of our climate crisis demands it – so I want to find my way back into politics and economics of bigger organizations.

How did IE help you get to where you are today?

IE has opened countless doors for me, but most importantly it has shown me where my real passion lays. It’s crazy to think back to that one workshop I had as JAB member 9 years ago and realize: this truly changed my life! The dual degree in international relations and business gave me the tools I needed to understand the world I have dreamt of changing, and the freedom to develop my own passions further. I founded, managed and joined a variety of clubs that were not just fun, but also broadened my horizon. I learned how (not) to work in teams and experienced when so many different cultures and bright minds meet in one classroom, not to forget what happens when they meet again on the sports field or at the bar and lifelong friendships form.

I am grateful not only for the demanding academia that has pushed me one step further in learning, critical analysis and research, but also for the way teaching happened: personal and very much based on real cases, presentations and skill-building for the worklife. I also apprechiate the support and openness that I have perceived throughout all years of my study, and the great mentors I have found within the ie faculty. Although always feeling a bit different with my strong conviction to always place impact over profits, ie has been a wonderful school for me to debate and defend that viewpoint, and a place where I’ve always felt my voice was heard and mattered. I learned so much being a delegate of my class for five years and starting initiatives like B Impact IE with the department of social innvoation. Thank you for the challenging, adventurous and enriching time!

What is the best advice you can give to a young individual starting his/her professional career?

Follow your passions – you’ll be best at what you do if you truly care about it. Don’t be scared of unconventional ways, they often are the ones that open most doors. And lastly, realise the incredible potential you have to make a true difference in the world!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

The unprecedented challenges of climate change are already shaping the world we live in today, and require imminent systemic transformations that I want to actively shape using the power of business and sustainable development. I am thrilled to continue my academic journey with a MSc in Environmental Change and Management at Oxford, and look forward to developing entrepreneurial solutions for an effectful circular economy, broaden my capabilities in environmental modeling and advance the research on necessary socio-political and economic transformation for a planet kept below 1.5°C of warming. In ten years, I hope to provide a meaningful voice to making Europe a place where business, politics and society work together in a way that is just for all humans and maintains our home planet for future generations.

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