Stern Receives $1 Million to Launch Center for Sustainable Business


Jake Quan

NYU Stern has just received a $1 million donation from Citi Foundation.

Ludovica Grieco, Staff Writer

Citi Foundation recently donated $1 million to NYU Stern in the hopes of turning business practices green through the new Center For Sustainable Business.

Alongside faculty members at Stern, the Center for Sustainable Business board is working to design new courses that will educate students on eco-friendly business that develops ways in which profit coexists with sustainability principles.

Stern and Citi Foundation have collaborated on sustainability issues for more than a decade and this donation allows the launch of a research center dedicated to educate students on environmentally conscientious business approaches.

The Center for Sustainable Business is being launched under the leadership of Director Tensie Whelan, who was the former president of the Rainforest Alliance in 2015 and has been a key advocate of environmental activism. Whelan joined the Stern faculty as Clinical Professor of Business and Society this year.

“The Center for Sustainable Business aims to help current and future business leaders develop the skills and knowledge they need to manage organizations in a resource constrained world,” Whelan said.

The research center plans to launch a number of undergraduate and graduate courses to be offered at Stern, the first of which will be introduced this coming fall.

“The aim of these will be to teach students how to manage environmental and social risk as well as find opportunities for innovation and competitive advantage through mainstreaming sustainability,” Whelan said.

The center will be supported by an advisory board set up by Professor Whelan and will include leading figures from a variety of departments in the corporate world. Some of these members include David Chubak, global head of productivity at Citi and Guillaume Le Cunff, president of Nespresso USA.

Members of the Stern community have been involved in environmental topics through the student group Sustainability@Stern, which has been working closely with Neil Rader, COO of NYU Stern. The group’s accomplishments include reducing energy usage, increasing recycling engagement and promoting health and wellness by encouraging stairwell usage.

Stern alumnus and member of Sustainability@Stern Daniel Wang said Citi has been a long supporter of NYU Stern’s Social Enterprise Associate and Sustainability@Stern.

“Currently, the SEA and S@S team is closely partnering with Tensie Whelan to further promote S@S sustainability initiatives around campus in addition to strengthening NYU Stern’s MBA academic programming in the Social Impact and Innovation specialization,” Wang said.

One of the advisors on the board is Lee Ballin, head of Sustainable Business Programs at Bloomberg, where sustainable business practices have been successfully integrated.

“We need to provide students with the tools that will allow them to maximize the business opportunities that exists when you incorporate environmental and social considerations along with economic growth,” Ballin said.

Email Ludovica Grieco at [email protected].

A previous version of this article has been corrected to reflect that Tensie Whelan is no longer the president of the Rainforest Alliance.