Ex-staff Perspective On 10 Years Of CWR: Feng Hu
By Feng Hu 26 October, 2021
On the 10th anniversary, CWR's former water valuation lead Feng reflects his time with us in journey of 'distilling' the water conversation
Read more from Feng Hu →
CWR: Tell us about your time at CWR…
When and why did you join?
Feng Hu (FH): January 2014. After working a few years on “carbon”, I wanted to re-connect with “water”, which was my research area in the university. Actually, in the beginning, I just wanted to volunteer and email the team a few times.
But after meeting Debra – thanks to Sophie – I got offered a job. I was responsible for CWR’s development and projects in mainland China, connecting with NGOs, academics and government agencies.
How long did you spend at CWR?
FH: Full-time for over four years and then part-time for a year.
What did you do?
FH: I was responsible for CWR’s development and projects in mainland China, connecting with NGOs, academics and government agencies. During my last one to two years, I focused on water-nomics research to map climate and water risks beyond the Hindu Kush Himalayas mountain ranges along major Asian rivers.
CWR: Looking back to your time there, what do you consider as your biggest achievement? Part of the job included public speaking, any memorable firsts? Were you nervous, any tips?
FH: The biggest achievement, I feel, is that we as a team grew the CWR brand together and had some really memorable moments (e.g. Stockholm, Daegu, Beijing….). We were not afraid of being small and we were a bit idealistic.
Positive feedback on first public presentation to professors made me believe the value of CWR’s work
A few months into my first year, I did my first public presentation for CWR in front of a room of professors at an international water law forum in Xiamen. I never would have imagined presenting to such a knowledgeable audience, but the positive feedback made me believe the value of CWR’s work.
Later in the summer, I got invited to present to a group of foreign correspondents in Beijing. Hubert, then studying at Tsinghua, reached out to me when I was there, and we met up at a bookish cafe. He moved to Hong Kong a few months later and became an important member of the CWR team – just like how I met Debra and ended up joining CWR.
I was always nervous about public speaking and still am. I slowly learned my way of dealing with stress by getting prepared early and focusing on what I want to share.
CWR: Is your current work related to water? If so, how? If not, do you still keep tabs on water challenges?
FH: Not always. My current work is related to sustainable finance in Asia.
Given the importance of water issues for the region, the water conversation still often comes up. I still regularly follow research and studies from the water community, and most importantly, read CWR’s monthly newsletter.
CWR: Has CWR changed your career aspirations?
FH: CWR taught me not to box myself – focus on what I’m passionate about and where I can contribute the most.
CWR: Do you think CWR has made a difference over the last decade? What is the biggest challenge you see today regarding water and climate risks?
FH: CWR helped “distil” the water conversation from the traditional NGO and academic space and dummied it down for corporates and investors. It created this open platform full of sparkling information for everyone to tap in.
The challenge is how to re-imagine our economy & new ways of life
The biggest challenge may be how to re-imagine our economy and new ways of life in the face of intensifying climate and water risks, even after adaptation measures. Humans are very adaptable, but the world as a whole need to do more to leave fewer behind, and also make sure future generations have the opportunity to appreciate this planet and explore the rich diversity of natures and cultures.
CWR: Three words/bullets on what makes CWR unique …
• Whiteboard strategy mindmaps
• The team
• CWR newsletter
CWR: Any comments, advice to CWR on its 10th anniversary?
Looking forward to what CWR will bring in the next ten years!
CWR: Any advice to those who want to join work in the water/climate space?
Congratulations that you have chosen one of the biggest challenges of this century. Find where you can make the most contribution, work hard and enjoy the journey.
More on CWR 10-year anniversary
- Ex-staff Perspective On 10 Years Of CWR: Hubert Thieriot – Former Head of Water Risk Valuation Hubert Thieriot shares his collaboration with PBOC & how CWR helped him to find his interest in solving environmental challenges with data
- Ex-staff Perspective On 10 Years Of CWR: Hongqiao Liu – Former principal researcher Hongqiao Liu reflects on how CWR has helped her see the value of cultivating knowledge & thinking strategically. Now she feels empowered to influence real changes
- Ex-staff Perspective On 10 Years Of CWR: Mark Harper – Former Project Manager Mark Harper shares how a water risk assessment project in CWR sparked his interest in ESG & corporate sustainability
- Ex-staff Perspective On 10 Years Of CWR: Woody Chan – Formerly in charge of CWR’s Project & Network, Woody Chan explains how rewarding & impactful time in CWR convinced him to continue working in the environmental space
- 10 Years Of CWR: McGregor Reflects on The Last 8 Years – Business Unusual Lead Dawn McGregor recounts how joining CWR helped find her mission and why she is looking forward to more adventures and challenges ahead
- 10 Years Of CWR: Mirando Reflects On The Last 4 Years – Investor Engagement & Water Risk Valuation Lead Dharisha Mirando shares how a drink in LKF has turned into 4 surprising & rewarding years at CWR
- 10 Years Of CWR: Tan Reflects On The Last Decade – Debra Tan shares with us the highs and lows of aiming high since the founding of CWR. From surreal wins to eco-depression If you want a behind-the-scenes tour of CWR – read this!
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