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LETTER FROM OUR LEADERSHIP In seven short years, our success in educating “the Ray C. Andersons of tomorrow” has grown by leaps and bounds. According to the Positive Impact Rating unveiled at the World Economic Forum in January 2020, Scheller College is one of only three business schools in the U.S. and nine in the world rated as a “transforming” school on the basis of excellence in preparing students to be changemakers. We credit our dedicated Center-affiliated faculty and our inspiring “action-learning” partners from industry and the civic sector for this achievement. Their leadership and engagement make it possible for us to provide a uniquely rich educational experience for our students. Please read on to learn more about what was new and exciting in 2019-20! As we look to the future, our team is setting its sights on being transformative not only at Georgia Tech but also in the region—through collaborative research, educational partnerships, and engagement with our Advisory Board. In this spirit, we became a key academic partner on Drawdown Georgia, an ambitious climate mitigation initiative that launched in 2019, and we co-lead the business engagement activities of RCE Greater Atlanta, a regional sustainability network acknowledged by the UN. In the past few months, we have faced both a devastating pandemic and the painful consequences of long-standing systemic inequities. These events have underscored how important it is for the institution of business to lean into its role in building a strong social fabric. For our part, we will lean into our Center’s social performance and human rights theme ever more strongly and work to infuse it across all our activities. We invite you to join us on our sustainable business journey.

Beril Toktay

Michael Oxman

Faculty Director

Managing Director


ABOUT OUR CENTER MISSION & VISION Our Center is named in honor of sustainable business visionary and Georgia Tech alumnus Ray C. Anderson. The Center launched at Scheller College in 2013 with support from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, and Scheller College leadership. It was founded with the vision to empower the leaders of tomorrow to create sustainable businesses and communities. The Center works towards this vision by drawing upon the diverse strengths of our faculty, staff, students, and partners. The Center’s mission is to enable sustainability-driven innovation and sustainability integration in business and education. We create and share the knowledge that current and future leaders depend on to integrate sustainability into their organizations and beyond, and to drive innovation in business models, products, technologies, and governance. We lead by example with the educational content and experiences we develop for our students and partners. Finally, we catalyze and participate in multi-stakeholder networks to amplify our regional and national impact.

We advance our mission by working across four core themes:

Circular Economy

Sustainability Innovation & ESG Leadership

Social Performance & Human Rights


Carbon-Conscious Business

ABOUT RAY C. ANDERSON (1934-2011) Ray C. Anderson (IE ’56, Honorary Ph.D. ’11), after graduating from Georgia Tech in industrial engineering, started a career in textiles. In 1973, he founded his own company, later called “Interface.” It would eventually become the world’s largest manufacturer of modular floorcovering.

By 1994, Interface was successful by every business metric. However, when

asked what Interface was doing for the environment, Ray was unsatisfied

with a response limited to regulation and compliance. He sought inspiration

and guidance from The Ecology of Commerce, where he encountered Paul

Hawken’s assertion that industry is both the sector responsible for the

greatest amount of environmental harm as well as the only sector with the necessary size and capital to turn things around. Hawken’s words led to a “spear in the chest” moment for Ray. From that moment, he committed the rest of his life to making Interface a breakthrough leader in corporate sustainability and to advocating for a paradigm shift in business thinking. Ray believed fundamentally that when done right, business can be a force for good in the world. We are honored to continue his legacy by educating “the Ray C. Andersons of tomorrow.”


Left to right: Jennifer Lux, writer/editor

Bob Lax, lecturer

Kjersti Lukens, program support coordinator

Arianna Robinson, assistant director – business operations

Michael Oxman, managing director

David Eady, industry engagement manager

Beril Toktay, faculty director

Brandi Thompson, communications officer


A YEAR OF INNOVATION AND IMPACT The past year has ushered in a number of exciting changes. We built upon the Center’s solid foundation in education and industry outreach, expanding our activities that positively impact future business leaders, partnering organizations, and our region. With the Center at the helm of Scheller College’s sustainability leadership, the College has risen to prominence in ratings for business schools building a better world. We are pleased to share several highlights that illustrate the wide reach of our engagement across diverse stakeholders.

INTRODUCING THE NEW CERTIFICATE IN SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS In the fall, the Center launched a certificate that gives undergraduates from any major the opportunity to learn the skills to help them become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow. Students pursuing the certificate learn how to evaluate and tackle critical sustainability issues for companies, government, and civil society. Coursework may be selected from classes in business as well as other disciplines.

MEET OUR INAUGURAL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT Jenny Choi, a business administration major, is the first recipient of the Vivian Nora Lukens Memorial Scholarship, which supports students pursuing the Certificate in Sustainable Business. Though Jenny was on track to graduate in May 2020, she enrolled for an additional semester in order to pursue the Certificate.

“Thanks to my courses and experiences at Georgia Tech, I clearly see the intersection between communities, businesses, and sustainability.” —Jenny Choi


CARBON REDUCTION CHALLENGE In the third annual Challenge, a record 45 interns and co-op participants identified opportunities for scalable energy-saving projects for employers, including AT&T, Boeing, Georgia Tech, Michaud Cooley Erickson, SunTrust Banks, and more. Students demonstrated their passion for sustainability by volunteering to work on projects on top of their regular duties in a variety of positions. They proved that you don’t need “sustainability” in your title in order to make a difference!

DRAWDOWN GEORGIA INITIATIVE LAUNCHES Inspired by Project Drawdown and funded by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, the Drawdown Georgia project aims to identify a set of solutions to help Georgia achieve “drawdown,” or the point at which greenhouse gas concentrations begin to steadily decline. Center leadership serves on the core team and steers the “beyond carbon” working group that incorporates dimensions of equity, economic development, environment, and public health.


TOMORROW’S CHANGE AGENTS With guidance from faculty and staff, our students are trained to become the world’s leading problem solvers. In the classroom, students learn to apply a sustainability lens to all business functions. Many students also deepen their engagement in sustainability by participating in extracurricular and co-curricular activities. The Center supports opportunities for hands-on experience in businesses and the community, small grants for conference participation and professional development, organizations that serve students wishing to make a positive change in their careers, and more. Our students enter the workforce armed with a toolkit to help companies lower carbon emissions, build a circular economy, and be mindful of their impact on communities. Here, we proudly recognize some 2019-20 student accomplishments.

INNOVATIONS FROM FELLOWS AND AMBASSADORS What do a new sustainability education website and a microgrid feasibility study have in common? They are just two of the 12 special projects over which Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors took ownership in 2019-20. In the Fellows and Ambassadors programs (in their fourth and second years, respectively), students deepened their engagement in environmental and social issues for business through year-long projects aligned with their interests.

Undergraduate Ambassadors

Graduate Fellows

William Abdallah

Sabrina Huang

Clotilde Bignard

Isabella Sanders

Angelica Acevedo

Hanka Kirby

Maddy Bodiford

Valentina Sanmiguel

Achintya Arora

Manuel Regalado

Rachel Firstman

Jennifer Telling

Sol Haroon

Anne Webb

Peter Nguyen

Junxiang Zhang

Thiago Esslinger

Shrinka Roy


NET IMPACT CLUBS REACH NEW HEIGHTS Outside the classroom, students connect with like-minded peers in Net Impact, an organization for those dedicated to encouraging environmentally and socially responsible business practices. We are proud to support undergraduate and MBA chapters that boldly engage with critical issues of our times.

80+ MEMBERS The MBA chapter reached an all-time-high number of members, making it one of the largest MBA organizations in Scheller College. For the second year, the MBA chapter cohosted a racial equity The undergraduate chapter, which officially launched in the fall, sent four representatives to the Net

workshop; this year’s cosponsors were Blacks in Business and Women in Business.

Impact National Conference in Detroit.

SMALL GRANT, BIG IMPACT As soon as Stephen Spicher (IE ’10, MSOR ’19, MBA ’20) heard about the Atlanta BeltLine, he knew he wanted to be a part of the transformative “rails to trails” project. He applied for a small grant from the Center to support his participation on the BeltLine’s young professionals board. In his role, Stephen has focused on equity, leading workshops to empower residents with resources as they face rising property values in neighborhoods along the BeltLine.


FACULTY LEADERSHIP Our affiliated faculty members represent an impressive depth of expertise and activity in sustainability. We support our faculty’s efforts to infuse business sustainability in their courses. We also promote their cuttingedge research through our research brief series for practitioners, Sustainable Business Insights. In 2019-20, faculty received awards for research, service, and teaching excellence from the Academy of Legal Studies, the Academy of Management, the Atlanta Metro Chamber, INFORMS, and Scheller College.

SUSTAINABILITY IN THE CLASSROOM: SPOTLIGHT ON “REPORTS FROM THE FUTURE” Professor Eric Overby’s undergraduate- and graduate-level courses on emerging technologies hosted two “Reports from the Future” symposium this year. Students analyzed topics related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals from 1999 to 2029. Pretending it was 2029, they discussed progress society has made in solving global sustainability issues with an emphasis on the effects of emerging technologies.

“I have students develop forecasts and scenarios about how things will develop in the future, so that we can identify actions to take now to make the most desirable future come to pass.” —Eric Overby Catherine & Edwin Wahlen Professor


SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS INSIGHTS: RESEARCH BRIEFS FOR PRACTITIONERS “HOW DOES CAR SHARING INTERACT WITH SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT DESIGN?” (Faculty: Beril Toktay) The results of this study shed light on how car sharing affects an auto manufacturer’s product line design strategy in terms of fuel efficiency as well as its ability to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

“HOW CAN TOP MANAGEMENT ENCOURAGE MIDDLE MANAGEMENT BUY-IN FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY?” (Faculty: Xi “Jason” Kuang) Companies are increasingly decentralizing CSR by delegating decision rights to middle managers—but getting managers to buy in can be a challenge. The results of this study provide insight into a potential solution for this problem.

“HOW DOES THE POWER DYNAMIC BETWEEN REFERRERS AND HIRING MANAGERS AFFECT EMPLOYEES’ SUPPORT FOR NEW HIRES?” (Faculty: Bradford Baker) Hiring practices can influence employee perceptions of corporate values. Results of this study show that when hiring managers act on referrals from individuals in positions of power, other employees in the organization may view these decisions as self-interested and for that reason be less likely to support the decisions.

“HOW DO SOCIAL LIBERALIZATION POLICIES IMPACT INNOVATION?” (Faculty: Laurina Zhang) This brief distills a study that highlights the significant positive relationship between social policies and innovation. The results have implications for companies as they consider how their internal policies (e.g., corporate social responsibility) and practices can stimulate innovation.

To read all of our latest briefs, visit our website at

INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENT EXECUTIVE COUNCIL SUPPORTS SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS LEADERS In 2019-20, Delta Air Lines commenced its third installment as the Center’s inaugural Corporate Sustainability Program Executive Council participant. Through this program, we seek to develop deep partnerships with organizations that wish to invest in our students, collaborate on applied sustainability research, and amplify our values in the world of business. The partnership with Delta has helped to facilitate some of its own sustainability initiatives and to inspire faculty and student thought leadership through dynamic experiential learning opportunities in the classroom and beyond.

CONSULTING PRACTICUM DRIVES THEORY TO ACTION The Sustainable Business Consulting Practicum gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to tackle real-world sustainability challenges. Students deploy management consulting frameworks to develop practical recommendations and solutions for their clients.

“You delivered your findings and recommendations extremely well, conveying the depth of your analysis, while also keeping things clear, understandable, and—most importantly—actionable.” —Maurice Carter, Sustainable newton President

2019-20 PROJECT SPONSORS America’s Remanufacturing Company

Regions Bank

City of Atlanta ServeScape Cox Enterprises Ubuntoo MedTech Sustainable Newton


“It has been tremendously empowering to connect with students, faculty, and sustainability leaders in the Southeast through the Center’s Advisory Board. The group has facilitated thought-provoking dialogue and engagement on such critical topics as climate action, circular economy, and diversity/inclusion—all of which dovetail with my work in the sustainable, responsible, and impact investing space." —Mark Callaway, morgan Stanley Senior Vice President and Investing with Impact Director


Cheryl Kortemeier

Jack Allen

Alison Lathrop

Stephanie Armistead

Bob Lax

Christine Boucher

Erin Meezan

Shelby Buso

Jason Parrish

John Byrne

Tom Pennella

Mark Callaway

Andrea Pinabell

Anthony Coker (BChE ’84)

Patrick Pittaluga (BSBA ’14)

Bruce Edelston

David Rachelson

John Federovitch (BS CS ‘99)

Charles Redding (B of CHE ’85)

Chris Hagler (MSM ’93)

Natalie Simpson

George Halow

Nathaniel Smith







Chris Hamilton (BTE ’95) SOUTHWIRE

David Hogan (BSM ’10)


Amy Hook


Tori Kaplan


Bruce Karas







Stephanie Valdez Streaty COX AUTOMOTIVE

Tim Trefzer




Jennifer Winn



ALUMNAE IN ACTION MARYBETH BUCKLEN (MBA ’19) Marybeth Bucklen currently serves as the sustainability program manager and management analyst for the City Manager of the City of Brookhaven. When she noticed the City lacked a strategic sustainability framework, she volunteered herself for the job of creating one. The framework has commitments across five elements: natural environment, built environment, financial sustainability, organizational sustainability, and civic governance. When the Covid-19 crisis hit this year, Brookhaven was ready. Its sustainability program includes a knowledge management system, intranet usage among City staff, an emergency operations center, and a continuity of operations plan. Foresight, Marybeth believes, is key to a municipality’s success: “We should be looking far into the future—figuring out what legacy we are leaving for our residents hundreds of years from now.”

CHRIS HAGLER (MSM ’93) Chris Hagler spent the early part of her career building her resume across core business functions—in a software company, business process engineering, marketing, and launching a project management firm. She says, “I got to a point in my life where I was, by most people’s standards, very successful from a business perspective. But I wanted to do more than just make money. I wanted to make an impact in the world.” In 2012, Chris joined Ernst & Young, and now serves as Southeast practice leader of climate change and sustainability services. Her area has seen exponential growth over the past eight years. Ernst & Young now has over 1,500 sustainabilityfocused employees worldwide. Chris says, “Today, many account teams are interested in talking to their clients about sustainability. These clients want to know more about it, too.”


CONNECTOR AND CATALYST Our 2019-20 Business, Environment, and Society Speaker Series featured (clockwise from top left) Georgia Tech President Ă ngel Cabrera (in partnership with the Impact Speaker Series), Kevin M. Sullivan (PG&E), and Nathaniel Smith (Partnership for Southern Equity) in conversation with Michael Oxman.





4 Our past year of programming and other activities have contributed to sustainability-oriented networks at Georgia Tech and beyond. (1) MBA students attend the global ClimateCAP summit. (2) Center for ServeLearn-Sustain Director Jenny Hirsch and Michael Oxman attend the Georgia Climate Conference. (3) Ray C. Anderson Foundation Executive Director John Lanier signs a copy of Mid-Course Correction:


Revisited for undergraduate Ella Stewart at a book talk cosponsored by RCE Greater Atlanta. (4) The Center team attends the ceremony for the 2019 Atlanta E3 Awards. (5) Seventy scholars from nearly 40 different institutions from around the world gather for the sixth annual Early-Career Sustainable Operations Workshop. (6) Panelists share advice about sustainability in careers at an event for MBA students. 13

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business Contact Info (404) 385-5221 Georgia Institute of Technology Scheller College of Business Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business 800 West Peachtree St. NW, Suite 4426 Atlanta, GA 30308 @GTCenterforSustainableBusiness @GT_acsb Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business @GT_acsb

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The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business 2019 - 2020 Annual Report  

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business acts as a catalyst and connector, bringing together students, research faculty, companie...

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business 2019 - 2020 Annual Report  

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business acts as a catalyst and connector, bringing together students, research faculty, companie...

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