ChemE alumnus John Lo founds first-of-its-kind non-profit, voluntary carbon credit standard organization

Headshot of John LoJohn Lo (ChemE 9T1 + PEY) began his career in the energy sector after graduating from ChemE before transitioning to focus on sustainability. He recently founded the Asia Carbon Institute (ACI), a non-profit organization that focuses on certifying and registering carbon credits, particularly in technology-based and urban projects. His shift from energy to sustainability was driven by his strong commitment to combat climate change and to align his skills and expertise with his values. As an engineer, Lo believes in practical solutions and is dedicated to creating a high-quality carbon credit standard that promotes a sustainable balance between economic development and environmental preservation.

Can you tell us about your role and company? Feel free to talk about big projects you have worked on, career milestones and achievements, etc.

Last year I founded an NGO called Asia Carbon Institute (ACI).  ACI is the first voluntary carbon credit standard organization of its kind – a non-profit organization that provides certification and registration of carbon credits with a focus on technology-based and urban-based projects. ACI was established to address the gaps in the Asia voluntary carbon market and to accelerate the development of more greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation projects across the region and beyond.

By dedicating my efforts on creating a high quality carbon credit standard, I am actively working towards a future where we can achieve a sustainable balance between economic development and environmental preservation

What motivated you to pursue a career in your current field/industry, and how has your experience been working in this field/industry so far?

I started working in the energy industry after graduation. I was very thankful that I’ve the chance to practice what I’ve learned. The decision to branch out from the energy industry to the sustainability field stems from a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact on the environment. Recognizing the urgent need to address climate change, I felt compelled to redirect my skills and expertise towards sustainable solutions. Working in the energy industry provided me with valuable insights into the challenges and complexities of our current energy systems.

What skills or qualifications do you believe are crucial for success as a chemical engineer in your industry, and how did your education at ChemE contribute to your development in these areas?

Trained as an Engineer, I believe in finding a solution rather than entering into an endless debate about who is responsible for global warming.  The journey of setting-up this NGO allows me to work closely with businesses, governments, and communities to develop and implement strategies that not only address climate change but also create long-term environmental and social benefits. This transition represents a personal and professional alignment with my values and aspirations. It enables me to combine my industry experience with a passion for environmental stewardship, driving meaningful change at a systemic level.

How do you stay connected with the ChemE community as an alum, and are there any opportunities for current students or recent graduates to engage with your company? 

Attend alumni events, lectures, and reunions to reconnect with former classmates, professors, and industry professionals.  Active participation is key to maintaining connections.  By staying connected, you can continue to learn, grow, and give back to the ChemE community while fostering professional relationships that can benefit your career.

What advice would you give to current students or recent graduates who are starting their careers?

Continuously learn and stay curious – Engineering is a rapidly evolving field, so it’s crucial to keep learning and stay updated with the latest advancements.  Pursue professional development opportunities and engage in lifelong learning to enhance your skills and knowledge.

Embrace a problem-solving mindset – Engineering is about finding innovative solutions to challenges.  Develop a problem-solving mindset, be adaptable, and embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.  This is one of the reasons why I started my NGO Asia Carbon Institute.

Remember, every career path is unique.  Be open to different opportunities and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks.