Indira Kartallozi is director at Kaleidoscope Futures, lecturer and evaluator of courses at the Institute for Sustainable Governance in Cambridge. Indira’s experience ranges from sustainability and social enterprise to human rights and transformational leadership. Indira is the founder of Sustainability Leadership Kosovo and is recognized as one of the Top 100 CSR leaders. She will also be one of the participants in the third edition of the ESG&FRIENDS forum, which will be held under the motto “RE-POSITION, RE-THING, RE-GROW” on February 27, 2024 at the Hilton Sofia hotel.
Indira, can you tell us more about your work as a director at Kaleidoscope Futures. What is the purpose of the organization?
Kaleidoscope Futures Lab is a think-tank and media company established in Cambridge, UK. Through our work we are dedicated to the co-creation of a future where both humanity and nature thrive. Our research, collaborative workshops, and media projects, helps us create a network of sustainability innovators, industry leaders, policymakers, and community activists. We apply a holistic approach that addresses the complex challenges of our time, recognizing that regeneration of nature, society, and the economy are interconnected goals that require integrated solutions.
Could you share some of your greatest successes and challenges in your work in sustainable management and leadership?
It’s challenging to single out one example of success, as I’ve had the privilege of working in various countries alongside some remarkable people. To me, success is less about specific achievements and more about the enduring impact I have on those I collaborate with. Through my holistic approach — whether I’m conducting workshops, offering consultancy, or teaching — my focus is on nurturing leadership that catalysis change. My measure of success is reflected in the transformative impact I impart on the leaders I engage with—those who move forward to create inspiring work and drive significant impact. Recently, I have collaborated with FRONT, a premier exterior and interior design company in Kosovo. This experience highlighted the opportunity to meet exceptional leaders within the company and to co-create a roadmap toward a prosperous future. It has been immensely gratifying to guide and influence this strategic vision.
You are a tutor and assessor at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Management. What role does education and training play and how does it help students and professionals develop their skills in sustainable management and leadership?
Fundamentally, I agree that education and training are the foundation of proficiency in sustainable management, nurturing not just competence but also a deep-seated commitment to sustainability as a crucial value. These tools are important for cultivation of leadership skills and providing a comprehensive understanding of sustainability’s principles and challenges. But, theoretical knowledge alone needs to be complemented by practical application. Directly into the context that leaders represent. This approach is crucial to enrich a generation of sustainability leaders who can essentially implement it in their decision-making processes.
Can you tell us more about the work of Sustainability Leadership Kosovo?
Sustainability Leadership Kosovo, an NGO founded in 2018, advances a comprehensive approach to sustainable development through Education, Consultancy, and Movement Building. We are committed in our duty to long-term impact and follow the guiding principles of thriving ecosystems and communities.
At our heart ethos is the pursuit of systemic change—critical for fostering lasting benefits that are in harmony with the shared values of the economy, society, and the environment. We strive to empower organizations and individuals to integrate sustainability into their fundamental practices, mentoring them to lead the transformation towards a zero-waste, carbon-neutral, and socially equitable economy. Moreover, we ground our initiatives in scientific understanding and support grassroots movements for tangible action. One such initiative is our anti-deforestation campaign in Kosovo, #MoseMerrMalin, which unites young leaders and activists in a stand for environmental restoration and change.
Your name appears in the list of Top 100 Leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). What is the importance of CSR and how do you think we can encourage more leaders to take part in this type of initiative?
We can encourage more leaders by focusing on the potentials that people bring in. Utilizing expertise and the understanding of the importance of responsibility – and acting for the common good. So sustainability and regenerative practices becomes more than just a mandate; it becomes an integral part of a company’s DNA. The essence of ‘CSR’ lies in acknowledging this interconnectedness of businesses with society and the environment. It goes beyond philanthropy and compliance; it’s about creating sustainable value and fostering a culture of ethical business practice.
Therefore, more leaders, need to embrace sustainability and regeneration strategies. And we need to empower and emphasize this strategic importance in driving innovation. Because this attracts and retains talent, but also builds loyalty and trust.
What are the biggest challenges facing today’s leaders in achieving sustainability in business and society?
Today’s leaders face a complex of challenges in achieving sustainable business practices and societal impact. This journey requires a smart balance between immediate business objectives and the long-term health of our environment and communities. Among everything else the leaders must navigate evolving regulations, sustainable innovation, and redefining impact metrics to include environment and social outcomes. Efficient resource management and the reduction of waste are also critical components of these strategies, demanding both creativity and rigorous analysis.
Therefore, collaboration stands at the forefront of this approach, we need to leverage collective intelligence and technological advancements for sustainable solutions that align with robust economic growth. Ensuring a prosperous, equitable, and sustainable legacy for future generations.
What is your vision for the future of sustainable management and what advice would you give to young professionals who want to work in this field?
In my career, I have worked and engaged with some of the most marginalised communities. These are the experiences that have shaped my core values and guided my personal career vision. And these values are deeply embedded in three key elements: resilience, growth, and regeneration. More focusing of creating disruption for long term positive impact. At SLK, I lead a dynamic team of young people. They constantly inspire me with their creativity, innovative wisdom, and passion for change. And sometimes, they challenge my perceptions. However, we all have a common goal that leads our work. Change is not just necessary but must be directed towards creating a lasting positive impact for the generations to come. That application of ‘good ancestor’ principles.
I believe it is important to emphasize that my key message to young professionals is that the true value of success is not only in the positive impact you create but also in how that makes you feel, whatever the context you work in. Being a leader for change is a rewarding and fulfilling journey!