Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business: 2022 - 2023 Annual Report

Page 1

Annual Report 2022–2023

Contents Message from the Leadership


About Our Center


Leading on Sustainability in Higher Education


Drawdown Georgia Business Compact


Introducing Sustainable-X


Inspiring Changemakers


Faculty & Staff in the News


Advisory Board Members


Spotlight on Alumni


Business, Environment, and Society



Message from the Leadership Beril Toktay Faculty Director

Michael Oxman Managing Director

We are pleased to share our Annual Report and invite you to explore how our Center’s programming and curriculum have continued to cultivate ever-growing communities of impact. Running throughout all our activities has been a common thread of intentionality around inclusion. Among our highlights: Faculty from a range of disciplines joined the new Educational Innovation Community and infused sustainability concepts into classes in accounting, information systems, international business, leadership and organizations, and operations. The Drawdown Georgia Business Compact continued to pursue collective action to help Georgia reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Member companies, diverse in sector and size, also shared sustainability knowledge to advance best practices and develop impact-oriented projects with both peers and students. Our new initiative, Sustainable-X, supported aspiring student entrepreneurs in creating startups that address environmental and social challenges. One prize-winning startup wants to be “Yelp for accessibility,” and another helps companies implement inclusive employment practices. Our staff also received recognition from the Institute because they “walk the talk,” leading the way in diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in higher education. It is a privilege to work with all of our staff, students, affiliated faculty, and partners in advancing these collective impact initiatives. We are also grateful for the support of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and other donors. Knowing that changemakers can achieve more together, we invite you to join us.

About Our Center The Center is anchored within the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, supporting its vision of being a global leader in education, research, and inclusive innovation to advance business and improve the human condition. Our goals also advance the Institute’s strategic plan focus areas: • Amplify Impact

• Expand Access

• Champion Innovation

• Cultivate Well-being

• Connect Globally

• Lead by Example

We act as a catalyst and connector, bringing together students, research faculty, companies, and entrepreneurs to create an environment where business-driven solutions to sustainability challenges can be shared and thrive.

Vision The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business empowers the leaders of tomorrow to create sustainable businesses and communities. Mission Our mission is to create and share the knowledge that current and future leaders depend on to drive innovation and to integrate sustainability into their organizations and communities.


Themes The urgency and opportunity for sustainable business practices have never been greater. Our Center focuses on amplifying our students’ passion for problem-solving, our faculty’s cutting-edge research, and the power of industry to create a better world for current and future generations. We work across four thematic areas. • Climate Action We focus on developing strategies to mitigate carbon emissions throughout organizations and supply chains. • Circular Economy We support a shift from a linear system to a circular model that makes possible the indefinite lifespan of products – from design and production through refurbishment and reuse. • Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Leadership We build on investor and industry momentum that recognizes the importance of managing ESG issues, risks, and opportunities for people, planet, and profit. • Social Performance and Human Rights We incorporate social dimensions and related frameworks on topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as human rights to ensure positive business impacts and benefits for stakeholders.

Our Team

Arianna Robinson (assistant director – business operations), Jennifer Lux (writer/editor), Ravi Subramanian (director of educational innovation), David Eady (director – industry engagement), Kjersti Lukens (program support coordinator), Allison Bridges (program manager), Michael Oxman (managing director), and Beril Toktay (faculty director). Not pictured: Steven Dobbs (communications officer II), Bob Lax (lecturer), and Triniece Smith (administrative professional III)

Ray C. Anderson 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 t he 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.”

Leading on Sustainability in Higher Education Georgia Tech Sustainability Experts Contribute to Georgia Climate Conference Georgia Tech sustainability experts representing diverse fields shared research and insights at the Georgia Climate Conference. The gathering took place at the University of Georgia and was organized by the Georgia Climate Project (GCP). Georgia Tech is one of the GCP’s 14 partnering colleges and universities in the state. One day of the conference featured Drawdown Georgia research and activities, including industry representatives from the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact, which is facilitated by the Center.

Sustainability Next Task Force Delivers Vision and Launches Implementation Georgia Tech’s executive leadership team charged the Sustainability Next Task Force with proposing an implementation roadmap for sustainability at Georgia Tech over the next ten years that emphasizes coordination across the research, education, operations, and economic development activities. The Sustainability Next Plan features six key priorities that touch nearly every aspect of the Institute.

The Intersection Podcast: Meet the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business Scheller College’s podcast, The Intersection, featured Center Managing Director Michael Oxman and Net Impact – MBA Chapter Vice President Bill Landefeld. Host Leo Haigh said the Center and Net Impact “do an excellent job of making sure there are many opportunities for our students to become a part of the sustainability community before they graduate.”


Jason Juang, Business Administration Major Electrify GT, 2022 Carbon Reduction Challenge Winner

Drawdown Georgia Business Compact

Updates on Our Journey to Net Zero This past year, the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact gained momentum in leveraging the collective impact of the Georgia business community to help the state reach net-zero carbon emissions. Activities included a cleantech innovation event at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, a corporate forum on social impact co-hosted by the Corporate Volunteer Council and EarthShare, participation in the Georgia Climate Conference, as well as regular meetings on nature-based solutions, clean energy, transportation, and values-based food procurement. The Compact launched a webinar series, featuring talks on decarbonization strategic planning, carbon accounting, Georgia’s EV transition, and new directions in global carbon markets. Our team also launched a new website with news, events, and opportunities for Compact members. 10

Drawdown Georgia Business Compact Celebrates First Anniversary In October 2021, the Center founded the Compact – a collective impact initiative for businesses in Georgia to help the state reach net zero carbon emissions. Reflecting on the legacy of Ray C. Anderson, Center Managing Director Michael Oxman said, “Ray was advocating for corporate attention to sustainability at a time [the mid-1990s] when a lot of companies weren’t taking action like that which he was driving at Interface. The Compact is one piece of evidence that his vision is being realized.” One year later, in October 2022, the Compact was 48 members strong.

Drawdown Georgia Releases Equity Opportunities Report In 2021, the multi-university Drawdown Georgia research team published its findings on high-impact carbon mitigation solutions for the state of Georgia. From the start, the team understood that focusing on carbon alone would not suffice. Given this, they also considered “beyond carbon” dimensions of the solutions: potential impacts, risks, and benefits related to the economy, the environment, public health, and equity. A follow-on report published in 2022 shares recommendations on advancing equity and inclusivity in climate solutions.

How Can Climate Solutions Promote Inclusivity and Equity? We shared findings from the Drawdown Georgia Equity Opportunities Report (mentioned above) in a Sustainable Business Insights research brief for practitioners. Carbon reduction technologies are not only critical tools for enabling climate action but also promising platforms for helping to remedy existing inequities. Deploying intentional and systematic efforts to ensure equitable access to the solutions and their benefits can also lead to greater scale in solution adoption. By engaging experts and stakeholders, this report addresses challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for advancing equity among selected carbon reduction solutions.


Introducing Sustainable-X Georgia Tech Launches Sustainable-X Entrepreneurship Program “Georgia Tech is a beacon of innovation that aims to empower entrepreneurs to create ventures with a positive impact on society and the environment,” said Center-affiliated faculty member Andre Calmon at the launch event for Sustainable-X. The program, of which Calmon is co-director, is a partnership of the Center and the successful CREATE-X entrepreneurship initiative at Georgia Tech, as well as a Sustainability Next Georgia Tech Strategic Plan initiative. Sustainable-X gives students, faculty, staff, and community members the tools and confidence to create and grow startups that address social and environmental challenges.


Students Win Startup Seed Funding in First Sustainable-X Showcase Startup founders presented their business ideas to judges and audience members at the first Sustainable-X Showcase in March. The top three teams won prize money, an investment opportunity, and an invitation to join a startup launch program this summer. Center-affiliated faculty member Karthik Ramachandran, who co-directs the program, said, “We plan to use the success of the Showcase as a springboard to launch the next generation of sustainable innovators. The event was a success thanks to the support of Sustainable-X’s partners and stakeholders. In the coming months, the initiative will grow its network and identify opportunities for further progress.”

“ It’s not easy to consolidate a year’s worth of work and a call to action into a five-minute presentation. However, learning how to succinctly frame the problem in a way that compels a panel of judges to believe in the need for a solution is an invaluable skill that this competition taught us.” Sarah Naumann, MBA ’23 In Good Company

Meet the Sustainable-X Showcase Winners We are proud to share spotlights on the top three teams in the Sustainable-X Showcase. First place winner, WheelChariot, is an accessibility review platform that wants to make a difference in the lives of millions of people with disabilities and their caregivers. Reducing food waste is the goal of the second-place team, Raccoon Eyes, which developed a trash can extension to discover why students throw food away and to help dining hall managers address the problem. Third place winner, In Good Company, wants to change the narrative of disability in the workplace by helping to create a new vision for what teams can look like.


Raccoon Eyes

In Good Company 13

Inspiring Changemakers 2022-23 Scheller College Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Ambassadors The Center selected 22 graduate students and 18 undergraduate students representing seven majors as 2022-23 Scheller College Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors. Over the course of the year, they deepened their engagement in sustainability by working on team projects related to carbon offset strategy, equitable solar scaling, career resources, Atlanta heat islands, global sanitation, Georgia Tech composting and recycling, and more.

Students Serve as Sustainability Ambassadors in the 2022 Carbon Reduction Challenge In the Summer 2022 Carbon Reduction Challenge, students from Georgia Tech and other universities proposed ways to reduce carbon emissions and costs for partner organizations. First prize was awarded to the Electrify GT team for their project on the electrification of fleet vehicles on the Georgia Tech campus. If implemented, participants’ projects could potentially avoid over 30 million pounds of CO2 and save over $1.5 million in one year.

“ I learned the entire lifecycle of electrifying existing vehicles – from research in vehicle usage to infrastructure implementation. The Challenge also introduced me to a variety of carbon reduction solutions, from new HVAC installation to supply chain optimization, which continues to further my interest in sustainability.” Jason Juang Business Administration Major


Meghana Embar Receives Vivian Nora Lukens Memorial Scholarship Meghana Embar (BSBA ’23) believes in “conscious decision making” when it comes to sustainability. Following a plant-based diet and problem solving for supply chain efficiency are just two ways Meghana is making a positive impact. The Center and Scheller College are pleased to announce that Meghana has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Vivian Nora Lukens Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was established to support undergraduate students who are pursuing the certificate in sustainable business.

MBA Students Discover the Business Sense of Climate Action at ClimateCAP 2023 ClimateCAP 2023, a summit for MBA students, focused on the “business sense” of climate action. Thomas Rickabaugh said, “The conference increased my excitement for sustainability and interest in actions businesses must take to combat climate change.” The Center provided small grants to 14 Scheller College MBA students to help cover conference and travel expenses.

“ My favorite course was the Sustainability Practicum! This course is one part Consulting 101 and one part a real-world sustainability consulting project with a Georgia-based client. Our project team supported Southwire, and specifically helped them build a roadmap for electrifying their fleet. While it was one of the most time-consuming courses I have had, I absolutely loved working with teammates...and we all agree that it was one of the most rewarding experiences we had at Scheller!” Bill Landefeld MBA ’23


Faculty & Staff in the News Beril Toktay Named Regents’ Professor We are proud to share that our Center’s founding Faculty Director Beril Toktay has been named Regents’ Professor by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. The professorship is bestowed upon truly distinguished faculty whose scholarship and academic leadership are recognized both nationally and internationally as innovative and pacesetting.

Beril Toktay Selected for USG Leadership Program Center Faculty Director Beril Toktay was among the 35 faculty and staff members named to the University System of Georgia’s Executive Leadership Institute class for 2022-23. Each USG member institution nominates one academic leader and one staff leader to participate in a curriculum that includes group learning, job shadowing, and mentoring.

Arianna Robinson Receives Georgia Tech Staff Diversity Champion Award Arianna Robinson, our assistant director of business operations, is dedicated to creating a community where diversity, equity, and inclusivity are embraced and put into practice. She supported the creation of the Blacks in Business MBA student organization and advises the Scheller MBA chapter of Net Impact. In September, Robinson received the Georgia Tech Staff Diversity Champion Award for advancing a culture of inclusion and belonging in communities from historically underrepresented backgrounds at Georgia Tech.

Commemorating the 116th Anniversary of the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre Scheller College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council hosted a session of Equitable Dinners Atlanta. Attendees across Atlanta discussed the 116th anniversary of the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre and how Atlanta’s history connects to systemic issues today. The goal was for courageous conversation to inspire positive action for moving forward together. 16

Tiffany Johnson and Robbie Moon Awarded Sustainability Education Innovation Grants We are proud to announce that two Center-affiliated faculty members, Tiffany Johnson and Robbie Moon, received Sustainability Education Innovation Awards, which provide funding to faculty members who plan to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into their curriculum. Johnson plans to use the funds to expand upon her course, “Work, Equity, and Wellness.” Moon plans to create a new course, “Accounting and Reporting for Sustainable Business.”

A Reflection on the Dubai Museum of the Future When Arianna Robinson, our assistant director of business operations, visited Dubai, UAE, in her role as staff director of the MBA International Practicum course, she visited the Museum of the Future. A grim prediction about mental health in an exhibit about wellness sparked some heartfelt contemplations that she shares in a candid account.

Introducing Our New Team Members Allison Bridges is the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact’s new program manager. Allison recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a fellowship with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice. She is passionate about bringing people together to solve sustainability challenges and looks forward to collaborating with Compact members. Triniece Smith, our new administrative professional, hails from The Bronx, New York. She attended Ithaca College. Prior to joining our Center, she worked at Bronx Community College and a charter school in Atlanta. Beginning in Fall 2023, she will be pursuing a master’s degree in public health at Georgia State University.


Advisory Board Members Judy Adler Independent Consultant

Ben Jordan, PhD PP ’12 The Coca-Cola Company

Naveed Ahmad, MBA ’19 Southern California Edison

Tori Kaplan Truist

Jack Allen Cisco Systems

Cheryl Kortemeier Corporate Volunteer Council of America

Stephanie Armistead Chick-fil-A John Byrne Scheller College Mark Callaway Morgan Stanley Anthony Coker, ChE ’84 M&I Materials Limited Amelia DeLuca Delta Air Lines Bruce Edelston Energy Policy Group, LLC Casey Erb, EnvE ’20 Mortenson John Federovitch, CS ’99 VMware Chris Hagler, MS MoT ’93 Independence Point David Hogan, Mgt ’10 America’s Remanufacturing Company


Elizabeth Schultz, ID ’12, MBA ’17 ScottMadden, Inc. Joey Shea Interface Nathaniel Smith Partnership for Southern Equity

Bob Lax Accenture (retired)

Jacquie Smyth, MBA ’18 UPS

Liz Minné, MSE ’10, MS EnvE ’13, PhD in EnvE ’15 Interface

Akissi Stokes WUNDERgrubs

Ira Pearl, ChE ’85 NextEra Energy Resources Tom Pennella Penhalt Advisory Group, LLC Andrea Pinabell AC Impact Advisors, LLC Denise Quarles Siemens Bo Quick, IE ’93 Southwire Company David Rachelson Rubicon Josh Raglin Norfolk Southern Corporation Charles Redding, ChE ’85 MedShare

Tim Trefzer Cox Enterprises Stephanie Valdez Streaty Cox Automotive Inc. John Wells, IM ’84 The Goodwin Group Dave Williams, MGT ’89 Metro Atlanta Chamber Jennifer Winn Georgia Power

Spotlight on Alumni Striving to Power the World Sustainably: A Spotlight on Bo Quick, IE ’93 Bo Quick serves as vice president of corporate sustainability and strategy at Southwire Company, a leading manufacturer of wire and cable used in the transmission and distribution of electricity. In an interview, Bo shares his background and details about Southwire’s sustainability commitments – from helping local students graduate high school to being on pace to reach its goal of being carbon neutral by 2025. “We’re pushing hard, but we want to be a leader,” he said.

Lessons from Nell Fry, MGT ’10, Sustainability Problem Solver The sustainability space has been impacted positively by Nell Fry’s can-do spirit and passion for learning, which has taken her from advocating for equitable campus dining options for vegans to helping multibillion-dollar corporations move towards a zero-waste future. Nell currently works as a consultant in Sustainability and Net Zero Transitions at Accenture Strategy.

“You have to accept that change is not going to happen overnight. Huge companies are big ships to turn. We need time and the involvement of a lot of people to create a shift.” Nell Fry MGT ’10

Business, Environment, and Society The Center launched the Business, Environment, and Society Speaker Series in 2016 to develop and strengthen the network of sustainability-minded students, faculty, staff, practitioners, and community members. Hosting the series is just one way in which the Center serves as a connector and catalyst across diverse stakeholders in an effort to create more sustainable communities. Through informative talks, lively Q&As, and illuminating interviews, the series opens the lines of communication between current and future changemakers. Several times throughout the year, speakers present on topics connected to research and the practice of sustainable business. To date, the Center has hosted more than 50 faculty, authors, nonprofit leaders, and corporate practitioners from EY, IHG, the Partnership for Southern Equity, PG&E, Rubicon Global, The Coca-Cola Company, and more. Visiting presenters generously share their time and deep sustainability expertise across a diverse range of sectors. The series also features faculty who share insights from their cutting-edge research.

This year, we were pleased to present talks with the following guests:

Climate Action and Innovation

Nate Hill Head of Energy Policy, Amazon

John Northington Director of Net-Zero Technologies and the National Carbon Capture Center, Southern Company

Jonathan Siskin Strategic Advisor at Greenhouse Accelerator and Senior Director, Deluxe Company

Corporate Commitments to Net Zero

Jamie Alexander Director of Drawdown Labs, Project Drawdown

Shannon Lloyd Associate Professor in the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University

ESG: Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges

Mark Callaway Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager, and Financial Advisor; Morgan Stanley

Chris Hagler Partner and Head of ESG, Independence Point Advisors

Jeff Hales Professor of Accounting, University of Texas at Austin


Connect with Us Donate gatech.quadweb.site/giving/scheller-anderson

Follow Us   @GT_ACSB

The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business

800 W. Peachtree St. NW Atlanta, GA 30332 acsb.scheller.gatech.edu

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.