Social and environmental issues have never been separate for Robin Barr. As the global director of TFT (The Forest Trust), she’s now helping companies gain that perspective, as well, so they can use their leverage in supply chains to address those issues.
Growing up in Eastern Washington, near the Colville Indian Reservation, Barr says her worldview was largely influenced from a young age by her best friend and her best friend’s father – a Native American storyteller.
“I grew up with an understanding that indigenous culture is very much tied to place, land and ecology,” Barr said. “[That] framed my thinking so that the environment and social issues are always one and the same.”
Her experiences over the years have only confirmed the notion that poverty is inextricably linked to the environment. Even at 15 years old, while volunteering with a traveling women’s health group in India, Barr found that the women they worked with mostly wanted to talk about deforestation, which was forcing them to walk further and work longer for less firewood.
After her initial experience abroad, Barr knew she wanted to do international work, but didn’t have an exact field in mind. She enrolled at Washington State University and took classes that interested her, until she graduated four years later with a degree in environmental science and regional planning.
Read more about Robin Barr, Global Director of TFT by Joanne Lu at Global Washington.