This podcast series explores sustainability lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through short (15-minute) interviews with industry managers, academic experts, government officials, and civil society leaders, we explore various societal challenges magnified by the COVID-19 crisis. Each episode focuses on a specific topic and builds toward a call to action as we ask our guests to:
(1) Identify the problem,
(2) Contextualize the issue by framing it with respect to the pandemic,
(3) Pinpoint key items we must address to avoid this in the future,
(4) Explain what business leaders can do to help, and
(5) End with actionable takeaways for individuals.
With an international reach and a global perspective, our series draws on the expertise of individuals based around the world. We'll learn from each other as we share perspectives and gain insights into how this crisis is unfolding in different settings. Join us to learn more about what you can do to make our world more equitable and sustainable in this unprecedented time.
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in the final days of COP27 by Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, the Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer at Schneider Electric to discuss:
How COP27 has focused on implementation over mere negotiations
Schneider Electric’s approach to partnering with companies to help decarbonize their own supply chains
How the private sector can use ESG measurement & reporting to achieve their climate commitments and more...
As the Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer at Schneider Electric, Gwen leads the development of strategic, sustainability, and quality initiatives while steering all the Merger, Acquisitions, and Divestment activities. Schneider Electric is recognized as a Global 100 Most Sustainable company with 180 years of innovation experience. In 2021 they were named the #1 Most Sustainable Corporation by Corporate Knights and, as of last year, they had provided over 4 Million people with access to green electricity.
This podcast was recorded on Thursday, November 17, 2022, during the final days of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) held from November 6-18, 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. As we face the collective threat of climate change, COP27 is an opportunity for world leaders to show solidarity — and take concerted action — when we need it most.
As leaders gathered in Egypt, the UN Foundation put a spotlight on key issues from climate finance to adaptation to oceans and shipping. Explore insights from experts, overviews of key events, and resources from the UN here.
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Cardiff Wales by Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. Sophie and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- How using a public health lens to imagine solutions for transportation challenge can spur decarbonization.
- How a holistic approach to education and a public safety net can can provide for ethical, fulfilled, global citizens while saving money.
- Why businesses benefit from long term government goals to operate across boundaries to create public/private partnerships, and more…
This week we are joined from Cardiff by Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner of Wales, the first person to hold this globally unique position. During her term, Sophie successfully got the Government to redirect funds toward public transportation solutions, away from roadway development, including a 10-fold investment in cycling and walking routes, targeted at neighborhoods with the highest air pollution and lowest life expectancy. Her office has championed the voice of young people with a new future fit school curriculum in Wales and extended voting rights to those as young as 16.
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from San Jose, California by Steve Lohr, president and CEO at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.
With a portfolio of 36 wines totaling 1.8 million cases, California’s J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is one of the larger operations in California and a major player in the US wine market. Their strides in the sustainability arena include reducing the amount of water needed to make a gallon of wine by half, reducing greenhouse gas emissions across their 3-acre array, and investing in a solar power system at its Monterey estate vineyard that powers nearly 100% of its energy needs.
With approximately 250 employees around the country, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is one of the Top 25 wineries in the country by case volume. An important part of their success over the decades has been the team’s conscientious “farming for the future programs.” In fact, J. Lohr was one of the very first vineyards in California to earn the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing distinction.
In the Episode Steve Lohr and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss
- How J. Lohr decreased dependence on oil-based fertilizers, using a common winemaking byproduct instead.
- What innovative conservation efforts to help “drought-proof” the wine industry.
- Why long-term thinking in the industry includes planning for the next generation of both vines and people through soil health, and more…
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is from our hometown Pittsburgh, PA by Will Pickering, Chief Executive Officer at Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA). Prior to transitioning to CEO in 2021, he served as the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Public Affairs at PWSA.
Will and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss...
- Why finding a deeper sense of purpose can help rally the workforce during the Great Reshuffle,
- What an equitable water future looks like for the citizens of Pittsburgh,
- How PWSA is protecting public health and the environment through the delivery of safe and reliable water services, and more...
While Pittsburgh is rich in water resources from the surrounding rivers, complex and interlocking water inequities abound.
Water-related challenges disproportionately affect low-income people and communities of color. The economic and health ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, which have hit communities of color at much higher rates than white communities, have also exasperated these issues.
As a public utility, PWSA is responsible for serving as a mindful steward of our water system and continuing to provide essential and dependable water services now and for generations to come. Right now, they’re making decisions that will impact Pittsburgh for the next 100 years.
With over 350 employees across all of its locations, PWSA produces an average of 66 million gallons of water per day and serves approximately 300,000 customers with an annual operating budget of $3 million.
A certified B Corporation, Grove Collaborative creates and curates 150+ sustainable, high-performing brands. Their products are plastic neutral and carbon neutral, and the company has committed to being 100% plastic-free by 2025.
In this episode, Danielle and CB discuss...
- Grove’s commitment to going completely plastic-free by 2025,
- How companies can achieve their targets for scopes 1-3 to be net-zero with science-based approaches,
- Ways to lighten your footprint at home, and more...
With net revenue of over $300 million and nearly 500 employees, Grove Collaborative is devoted to more than just profits, and has made public commitments to support a deforestation-free supply chain, remove harmful chemicals from the home, and encourage justice and equity in the workplace and beyond.
In fact, they recently exceeded their goal to source an additional $250,000 of products and goods from Black-owned businesses through 2021 by over $100,000.
Please note this episode was pre-recorded in July 2022, prior to the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. Danielle’s final call to action still stands after the passing of this and other climate-related legislation. We encourage you to continue finding ways to move forward by engaging in conversations with your Elected Officials.
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, PA by Christine Waller, Vice President of Communications, ESG, and Corporate Giving at Duquesne Light Company.
With a peak revenue of $942.1M in 2021 and over 1,700 employees, Duquesne Light Company is dedicated to delivering safe, resilient, reliable, and affordable energy to more than 600,000 customers in southwestern Pennsylvania.
In the Episode Christine Waller and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss
- The challenges around advocating for electric mobility and supporting the transition to clean energy,
- How DLC is harnessing carbon-free solar energy to support employees who drive electric vehicles,
- How to create a more inclusive, safe, and equitable workforce for all, and more...
Since joining DLC in December 2021, Christine has been responsible for leading the company’s sustainability and community-focused communication and outreach strategy. Prior to this, she was the head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Viatris, a multi-billion-dollar, Pittsburgh-area pharmaceutical company. In this role, she launched the company’s CSR strategy and oversaw ESG, corporate giving, and community and stakeholder outreach.
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Hastings-on-
A collection of more than 300 pages of tables, charts, illustrations, insights, quotes, and ways to understand what’s going on with climate change, The Carbon Almanac is a collaboration between more than 300 writers, researchers, thinkers, and illustrators that provide credible and authoritative information on carbon and its impact on climate.
Seth has written over 20 bestselling books and his work has been translated into nearly 40 languages. He is also a pioneer of ethical online direct marketing, now a $30bn a year industry.
In the Episode Seth Godin and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss
- What is carbon, why it matters, and why we should care
- Advice on how companies can avoid unethical marketing and greenwashing
- How to rethink consumption and production systems, and more...
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, PA by Martin Jarzebowski, Director of ESG & Responsible Investing at Federated Hermes, a global investment leader with $630 billion dollars in assets under management and nearly 2,000 employees in Pittsburgh, London, New York, Boston, and offices worldwide.
Martin leads the integration of ESG, active engagement, and analytics across all asset classes and responsible investment solutions. He is a former portfolio manager and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Finance at the University of Rochester Simon Business School, CFA Institute ESG Technical Committee, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, Harvard Law School Institutional Investor Forum, and is a regular Forbes ESG Thought Leader.
Federated Hermes has over 60 ESG subject-matter experts and is one of the world’s largest stewardship and engagement databases with 18 years of proprietary data.
In the Episode Martin Jarzebowski and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- Trends in sustainable investing and stewardship engagement that have emerged since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,
- The various financial materiality matrixes used across a plethora of industries, or in short, the notion that ESG is not a one-size-fits-all approach,
- The impact of the SEC’s recent climate-risk disclosure proposal discussion on carbon transparency in the United States, and more...
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from San Jose, California by Sharon Mandell, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Juniper Networks, a $4.5 billion company that develops and markets networking products including routers, switches, network management software, and more. Sharon leads the ongoing enhancement of the company’s IT infrastructure and applications architectures to support the growth objectives of the company. She and her team are also responsible for showcasing Juniper’s use of its technologies to the world.
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Boston, Massachusetts by Ranjay Gulati, a professor at Harvard Business School and an expert on leadership, strategy, and organizational growth.
Until recently, he chaired the Advanced Management Program, the school’s flagship senior leader executive program. He has authored seven books, including “Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies.” His book explores personal and corporate purpose, and provides actionable insights on how businesses can achieve both commercial and social objectives.
Gulati has been ranked as one of the top ten most-cited academics in the fields of economics and business by ISI-Incite and has received similar recognition from The Economist, Financial Times, and the Economist Intelligence Unit. His research has appeared in leading academic journals of business, as well as major publications like the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, strategy+business, and the Financial Times.
In the Episode Ranjay Gulati and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss
- How to handle purpose decay and build a mindset of continuous improvement in terms of purpose over time,
- Finding the balance between social and commercial objectives,
- Defining personal deep purpose, and more!
Episode 40: "Public Accountability and Getting Things Done with Peter Land, Dick's Sporting Goods"
Episode 39: "The Journey to Net Positive - with Paul Polman, IMAGINE"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Geneva, Switzerland by Paul Polman, ex-CEO of Unilever and co-founder of IMAGINE.
In this episode, Paul and CB discuss insights from Paul's book, "Net Positive: How Courageous Companies Thrive by Giving More Than They Take," including:
- What it means for a company to be "net positive"
- How defining your company’s purpose starts with finding your own purpose
- Why the big challenges facing the world will require a new kind of leadership
Episode 38: "What to Do About Water - with Ron Keating, Evoqua Water Technologies"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh by Ron Keating, CEO of Evoqua Water Technologies.
In this episode, Ron and CB discuss:
- The opportunities and challenges of increasing pressure on water resources
- Why managing water use will play a huge role in the world’s decarbonization journey
- How inclusion and diversity help to drive a sense of belonging and innovation in companies
Episode 37: "The 'S' of ESG - with Mita Mallick, Carta"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Jersey City by Mita Mallick, Head of Inclusion, Equity and Impact at Carta, a San Francisco-based cap table management and valuation software company valued at $7.4 billion.
In this episode, Mita and CB discuss:
- Steps managers can take to build a stronger sense of community among their employees
- How companies can ensure they’re making real progress on diversity, equity and inclusion without making “empty” commitments that don’t actually move the needle on these issues
- The most important metrics for measuring progress on social issues in companies and how well a company is setting its workforce up for success
Episode 36: "Utility Sustainability - with Brian Dingerdissen, Essential Utilities"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh by Brian Dingerdissen, Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications and ESG, and Chief of Staff to the CEO, for Essential Utilities, Inc., one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5 million people across 10 states.
In this episode, Brian and CB discuss:
- The challenges in moving to full electrification for households and businesses
- Essential’s decarbonization journey and the need to make goals based on proven, existing technologies
- How to balance energy affordability with the needed journey towards decarbonization
Episode 35: "Accenture Sustainable Business Strategy - with Jack Azagury, Senior Management Director – Market Unit Lead – US Northeast at Accenture"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from NYC, NY by Jack Azagury, Senior Management Director – Market Unit Lead – US Northeast at Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security.
In this episode, Jack Azagury and Professor Bhattacharya discuss:
- The recent study by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture
- Accenture’s commitment to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025
- Changes in ESG measurement and disclosure... (December 1, 2021)
Episode 34: "Insights from COP26 - with Anna Siefken, Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Anna J Siefken, the Executive Director of The Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University, which is focused on using and delivering the energy we already have more efficiently, expanding the mix of energy sources in a way that is clean, reliable, affordable and sustainable and creating innovations in energy technologies, regulations and policies.
In this episode, Anna Siefken and Professor Bhattacharya discuss:
- Anna’s observations and key themes from COP26
- The announcement for the Pittsburgh region that the international Clean Energy Ministerial will be held in Pittsburgh in September 2022
- Anna’s role as a U.S. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) Ambassador... (November 12, 2021)
Episode 33: "Paul Polman's Sustainable Business Forum Keynote Address - with Paul Polman, Business Leader and Co-Author, Net Positive"
In this special episode, we decided to do something a bit different. The Center for Sustainable Business' bi-annual meeting with our corporate partners, the Sustainable Business Forum, was held in October 2021, where we were lucky to hear a keynote address from Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and Co-Founder of IMAGINE, which helps build net positive companies that thrive by giving more than they take.
In his address, Paul Polman discusses:
- The relatively low costs of action on global challenges compared to the high costs of inaction
- The need for new kinds of leadership to tackle these challenges
- How ESG measurement and disclosure improve transparency and can help re-build trust in society... (October 27, 2021)
Episode 32: "Finance and Climate Risks - with Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from San Francisco by Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme, Director at Moody's ESG Solutions, a new business unit of Moody’s Corporation formed to serve the growing global demand for ESG and climate analytics and empower organizations to make better, more sustainable decisions.
In this episode, Natalie Ambrosio Preudhomme and Professor Bhattacharya discuss:
- Integrating physical and economic climate risks into financial decision making
- How to view investments through the lens of the just transition
- The drivers of change in how financial institutions are approaching ESG reporting... (October 13, 2021)
Episode 31: "Modern Slavery - with Alex Thier"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Washington, DC by Alex Thier, the CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, which is working to eradicate forced labor and human trafficking around the world.
In this episode, Alex Thier and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- How to address modern slavery with a systems change approach
- The intersections between modern slavery and climate and environmental issues
- The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on modern slavery and child labor... (September 29, 2021)
Episode 30: "Clean Meat - with Paul Shapiro"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Sacramento, California by Paul Shapiro, author of the national bestseller Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, and the CEO of The Better Meat Co., which produces plant proteins that are uniquely formulated to blend effortlessly into meat or can be used to create completely plant-based products.
In this episode, Paul Shapiro and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- How fungi can be used to create a meat experience for consumers without harming the planet
- The rise of awareness in ESG metrics and its expansion into animal welfare issues
- A future for the food industry with decent jobs for workers... (September 15, 2021)
Episode 29: "Sustainability Future - with Betty Cruz"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh by Betty Cruz, President and CEO of World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the Council, Betty served as the leader of Change Agency, a social enterprise which she founded in 2016, and Project Director for All for All, an immigrant inclusion initiative. Betty has extensive experience in community outreach, communications, partnership-building, and program management – spanning nearly 20 years. She has developed citywide initiatives for Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, managed major accounts for a national nonprofit dedicated to building playgrounds across the U.S., and supported public relations for global brands representing a wide range of industries.
In this episode, Betty Cruz and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- Who are the stakeholders to bring sustainable future
- What should you do to make a difference
- How to get involved in sustainability... (June 23, 2021)
Episode 28: "Sustainability Business Strategy - with Mike Barry"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from the United Kingdom by Mike Barry, Ex Director of Sustainable Business at famous retail company Marks & Spencer. Marks and Spencer Group plc is a major British multinational retailer with headquarters in London, England, that specializes in selling clothing, home products and food products, generating 10.2 Billion Euros in the year 2020 alone. Mike is a leader in sustainable change. One of the pioneers of green business in the corporate world he helped to develop, launch and implement Marks and Spencer’s ground-breaking sustainability programme, Plan A (because there is no Plan B for the one world we have). In ten years, Plan A delivered £750m of net business benefit and over the years won 230 awards.
In this episode, Mike Barry and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- How businesses could transform into sustainable business
- Initiatives led by Marks and Spencer to drive sustainability in business
- Five steps to build more sustainable business and more... (May 28, 2021)
Episode 27: "Human biases in perceiving the threat of Climate Change and how to correct them"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined by Sweta Chakraborty. Dr. Sweta Chakraborty is a risk and behavioral scientist whose work is motivated by the need for clear, credible, evidence-based communication to urgently and proactively manage the risks that threaten human security and well-being. She is the U.S. Representative for “We Don’t Have Time,” the Sweden-based tech start-up that launched Greta Thunberg. She is also the founder and principle of Adapt to Thrive, a venture that seeks to better inform individuals, businesses, and government entities on the complex, interconnected challenges, already existing and emerging from a warming planet. She earned her doctorate in risk management from King’s College London, and her undergraduate degrees in Decision Science and International Relations from Carnegie Mellon University.
In this episode, Sweta Chakraborty and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- Human biases in perceiving the threat of Climate Change and how Science can contribute to a more inclusive society... (May 7, 2021)
Episode 26: "Sustainable Ecosystems — with Peter Lacy"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from the United Kingdom by Peter Lacy, Global Sustainability Service Lead and Chief Responsibility Officer at Accenture. Accenture plc is a Fortune Global 500 company, operating across over 40 industries with revenues of $44.3 billion in 2020.
In this episode, Peter Lacy and Prof. Bhattacharya discuss:
- Industry-wide initiatives to combat climate change and the value of partnerships
- Circular Economy and Peters contribution to Accenture’s sustainability vision
- Corporate communication strategy to highlight innovation and circular economy initiatives
- Accenture’s sustainability initiatives and more... (April 30, 2021)
Episode 25: "Sustainable Finance — with Vanessa De La Ossa"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from New York City by Vanessa De La Ossa, Vice President of Sustainable Finance Americas at ING. ING Americas is the brand name of ING’s wholesale business in the Americas region, and a part of ING Group N.V. (“ING”), a global financial services company of Dutch origin with a network spanning 40 countries. ING has more than 53,000 employees helping its 38.6 million customers manage their money and meet financial goals. Ms. De La Ossa discusses a relatively new field in the finance industry known as “sustainable finance,” the importance of this new field for businesses and the environment, and ING’s “terra approach” to sustainable business strategy: "One thing that we’re seeing is that one to two years ago […] many clients, especially here in the U.S., were not interested [in sustainable finance] at the time or didn’t think that they could play in the market, and now it’s the opposite. Now, we’re getting so many requests and we’re inundated." (April 1, 2021)
Episode 24: "Sustainability Strategy at Verizon — with James Gowen"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from New York City by James Gowen, Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain and Chief Sustainability Officer at Verizon. Verizon is one of the world’s leading providers of technology, communications, information and entertainment products and services, generating $128.3 billion of revenues in 2020. Mr. Gowen will discuss Verizon’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2035, digital inclusion, and important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic: "There is no silver bullet to just save the environment going forward. It’s going to be a series of incremental steps – some of them are going to have to be larger – we understand that." (March 18, 2021)
Episode 23: "Transforming the Economy for a Sustainable Future — with Mindy Lubber"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Boston, Massachusetts by Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. Ms. Lubber also served as a Regional Administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under former President Bill Clinton. She discusses the history of Ceres, the impact of COVID-19 on sustainable financing and investment, and the future outlook for climate action: “I would answer the question ‘what does sustainability have to do with the economy and business’ – I’d argue … how does it not have everything to do with it?” (March 3, 2021)
Episode 22: "Climate Change and Public Health — with Seema Wadhwa"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from the Washington, D.C. area by Seema Wadhwa, CEO and Founder of Net Positive Solutions. Prior to her position at Net Positive, Ms. Wadhwa served as the Assistant Vice President of Sustainability and Wellness at Inova Health System. She discusses the role climate change plays in health outcomes, leveraging the voice of clinicians to combat this issue, and the role business leaders can play in bridging the conversation between climate change and health: “The opportunity to look at that intersectionality of climate, health, and equity is really a new opportunity, and it’s a new vantage point.” (February 22, 2021)
Episode 21: "Marshall Plan for Middle America — with Mayor William Peduto"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Mayor William Peduto of the City of Pittsburgh. Over the past few decades, Pittsburgh has diversified its economy from one reliant on heavy industries to a hub for higher education, health care, and financial services. Mayor Peduto discusses governing during COVID-19, the Marshall Plan for Middle America, and what lies ahead for our region: “We will lose 100,000 jobs in the energy sector if we do nothing.” (February 3, 2021)
Episode 20: "Leading with Compassion during a Crisis — with Niren Chaudhary"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Boston, Massachusetts by Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread. Panera Bread is an American chain store of bakery-café fast casual restaurants with over 2,000 locations. Mr. Chaudhary discusses safety and access to food services during COVID-19, team building in a virtual setting, and Panera’s ambitious environmental sustainability goals: “We may have limited impact on the world around us, but the companies that we steward, let’s make those companies a reflection of the world that we wish to see.” (January 21, 2021)
Episode 19: "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion during COVID-19 — with Kamillah Knight"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Parsippany, New Jersey by Kamillah Knight, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Ferrero North America. Ms. Knight has a passion and purpose to be a change superhero, changing the way that people interact with their environment and with other people. Prior to joining Ferrero, she worked at Unilever where she gained experience in Supply Chain, Sales, and Human Resources. Ms. Knight discusses beginning a new leadership position during the COVID-19 crisis, how D&I ties into the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and what some companies are doing to support their employees during this time: “When I think about the Sustainable Development Goals specifically, I don’t really feel like you can solve any of them without thinking of it through a diversity and inclusion lens or perspective.” (December 16, 2020)
Episode 18: "Corporate Sustainability Strategy during COVID-19 — with Rebecca Marmot (Part 2)"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined once again from London, United Kingdom by Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company with products used by 2.5 billion people each day. Ms. Marmot discusses the business case for sustainability, investor relations, and the future of the consumer goods industry post-COVID-19: “Half the world’s total GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services. […] So, I think the business case behind doing that [reducing carbon footprint] is much better now and more widely understood and accepted.” (December 2, 2020)
Episode 17: "Corporate Sustainability Strategy during COVID-19 — with Rebecca Marmot (Part 1)"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from London, United Kingdom by Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company with products used by 2.5 billion people each day. Ms. Marmot discusses Unilever’s ongoing commitment to social and environmental goals, the importance of gender equity, and what it means for each individual to do their part: “Sustainability really sits at the heart of what we’re doing, so it’s not for us about an add-on or a plan that is distinct from the business, but actually just doing business in a different way.” (November 18, 2020)
Episode 16: "Stakeholder Theory and COVID-19 — with R. Edward Freeman"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Charlottesville, Virginia by R. Edward Freeman, University Professor at University of Virginia. Professor Freeman is best known for his work on the topics of Stakeholder Management and Business Ethics, as well as his award-winning book, Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach, first published in 1984 and reissued in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. Professor Freeman discusses stakeholder theory, curricular reform in business schools, and how corporate purpose ties into building back better post-COVID-19: “Look, I’ve got to make red blood cells to live, but it doesn’t follow that the purpose of my life is to make red blood cells. Businesses must have profits […] but it doesn’t follow that the purpose of the business is to make as much profit as you can.” (November 2, 2020)
Episode 15: "Mining and Community Engagement — with Carolina Lobato"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil by Carolina Lobato, Vice President of Legal at Kinross Brasil Mineração, a subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corporation, a senior gold mining company with a diverse portfolio of mines and projects in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mauritania, and Russia. Ms. Lobato discusses mining as an essential industry, engaging with local communities, and the value the UN Sustainable Development Goals offer to international companies: “If we just keep doing whatever we did 5 years ago, we will not be operating 5 years from now. It’s time to rethink, redesign, and reposition our companies in a more responsible way, thinking about the future.” (October 19, 2020)
Episode 14: "Commercial Vehicles and Supply Chain Sustainability — with Vipin Sondhi"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Tamil Nadu, India by Vipin Sondhi, Managing Director and CEO of Ashok Leyland Limited, the 2nd largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, the 3rd largest manufacturer of buses in the world, and the 10th largest manufacturer of trucks. Mr. Sondhi discusses how COVID-19 is affecting the Indian economy and movement of labor, the management of environmental impact in the supply chain, and the future potential for an electric vehicle ecosystem: “The troika of industry, government, and academia has to work together. Too often we leave academia outside of this. We've got to bring in professors and we've got to bring in students. They will be the pioneers of innovation for the future. And if we can do that, and we are trying to do that as well for electric mobility, I think we will have a far more sustainable future.” (October 2, 2020)
Episode 13: "Brand Trust during the COVID-19 Pandemic — with Lisa Osborne Ross"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined by Lisa Osborne Ross, Chief Operating Officer of Edelman US and President of Edelman Washington DC, a global communications and consultancy firm with 6,000 people in more than 60 offices worldwide. Ms. Ross discusses the growing importance of brand trust during the current COVID-19 crisis, and how companies can navigate brand trust as part of their sustainability strategy: “All relationships are rooted in trust. Do I trust you to do what you say you're going to do? […] We created this Trust Barometer because we believe, again, trust is at the root of all positive intent.” (September 18, 2020)
Episode 12: "Refugee Assistance during a Global Pandemic — with Betsy Fisher"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Minneapolis, Minnesota by Betsy Fisher, Director of Strategy at the International Refugee Assistance Project. Ms. Fisher discusses how COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges for refugee populations, such as travel restrictions and barriers to entering the labor market. She also makes the business case for protecting refugees and provides specific resources for individuals to get involved: "We know that over time refugees are much more likely than individuals born in the United States to become entrepreneurs, to own homes, that their children are extremely likely to go on to achieve great things in the United States. There have been a couple of studies by the Tent Foundation that refugee employees in the United States have high retention rates, they stay in their jobs longer, and that employing refugees boosts recruitment of other employees." (June 26, 2020)
Episode 11: "Global Supply Chains, Retail Distribution, and Consumer Behavior — with Carlo Vassallo"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Frankfurt, Germany by Carlo Vassallo, CEO of Ferrero Germany. Mr. Vassallo discusses the government response in Germany, the pandemic’s impact on retail and changing consumer behavior, and Ferrero’s commitment to sustainability: “Our duty, our commitment, is to continue to follow and work towards the sustainability goals, to help the consumer to keep these, and to continue on this path because otherwise our work will have even more troubles.” (June 19, 2020)
Episode 10: "The Role of Tech in Driving Sustainability — with Kate Brandt"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Mountain View, California by Kate Brandt, Sustainability Officer at Google. Ms. Brandt discusses the situation in California, Google’s dedication to climate action, and the business case for circular economy: “In my mind, there was already tremendous urgency before COVID. We’ve all seen the climate science and the very clear indication that this must be our decisive decade on climate change […] with climate change comes the possibility of other pandemics like this.” (June 12, 2020)
Episode 9: "Workplace Safety in Essential Industries during COVID-19 — with Mark Cancilla"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, PA by Mark Cancilla, Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety at PPG, a global supplier of paints, coatings, and specialty materials. Mr. Cancilla discusses PPG’s global operations during the pandemic as an essential business, workplace transparency, and centering people in PPG’s sustainability strategy: “The demonstration that sustainability is a critical part of how we manage the company really has not taken a backseat at all during this crisis, and in fact, I would say that the human element of sustainability, the criticality of our people and the role that they play in ensuring our long-term sustainability, has heightened during this crisis.” (June 5, 2020)
Episode 8: "Urban Infrastructure and COVID-19 in the Global South — with Astrid Haas"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Kampala, Uganda by Astrid Haas, Policy Director of the International Growth Centre, a global civil society organization that promotes sustainable growth in developing countries. Ms. Haas discusses the situation in Uganda; how infrastructure and economic practices across Africa and Asia impact urban areas’ ability to respond to the pandemic; and the role of public-private partnerships in tackling these issues: "I do believe very strongly that COVID-19 is a collective action challenge, and therefore, we need a collective action response that involves the private sector." (May 29, 2020)
Episode 7: "Digital Technology for the Environment – with Wayne Balta"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, PA by Wayne Balta, Vice President of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety at IBM. Mr. Balta discusses how IBM’s digital technology is helping researchers better understand the spread of COVID-19, the structure of the virus, and potential treatments; why questions surrounding information access and data quality are essential to tackling global challenges beyond COVID-19; and the need to continually reflect on whether new technologies are being used to facilitate better environmental outcomes from a global systems perspective: “If you think about what's possible today with what some have called the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ -- meaning, data and advanced IT tools -- I personally am convinced that there exists today opportunities to tackle longstanding environmental sustainability challenges in completely new ways.” (May 22, 2020)
Episode 6: "Finance & Banking During a Global Pandemic — with Piyush Gupta"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Singapore by Piyush Gupta, CEO and Director of DBS Group, a leading financial services group in Asia. Mr. Gupta discusses the role of banks and financial institutions in responding to—and recovering from—the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation covers AI and monitoring techniques to prevent the spread of the virus, digital infrastructure and the transition to remote work, and the importance of companies’ social license to operate: “I fully expect that you will wind up a year from now with a set of people who are heroes and a set of people who are villains. And it's going to be very easy to fall into the category of villains if you are not really, really thoughtful about what could make you a hero instead.” (May 15, 2020)
Episode 5: "Resilient Cities Need Strong Networks — with Grant Ervin”
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Pittsburgh, PA by Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer and Sustainability Manager for the City of Pittsburgh. Mr. Ervin discusses the historical challenges and inequalities in Pittsburgh magnified by the COVID-19 crisis; why an integrated approach is needed to build a more resilient city going forward; and, the critical role that industry partners can play in implementing some of the more pressing digital, environmental, and food systems innovations the city needs: “Those issues of education and work, which were challenges beforehand, or food access – finding ways in which to build more robust systems and networks [to address those issues] are going to be really critical for the city going forward.” (May 8, 2020)
Episode 4: "The Urgency of Collaboration — with Paul Polman"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from London, UK by Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, Co-Founder of IMAGINE, and Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Polman talks about his efforts to facilitate coordinated action by CEOs in major industries, what it means to be a responsible business in these times, and the opportunity to build a new, global green economy through widespread collaboration: “We also don’t have the right level of cooperation at the global governance level to deal with these issues, and I hope that the business community will step up and fill that void.” (May 1, 2020)
Episode 3: "Leading an Energy Company in the COVID-19 Era — with Francesco Starace"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya is joined from Rome, Italy by Francesco Starace, the CEO and General Manager of Enel, a global energy company and utility provider. Mr. Starace talks about the rapid steps Enel took to adapt in the early days of the pandemic, the critical societal role played by business, and his take on the future of renewable energy: "The COVID-19 is, in my opinion, a big accelerator of a trend that was there already – and the trend was to shift the energy supply out of fossil fuels into electricity, being that electricity is an energy form that can be de-carbonized." (April 24, 2020)
Episode 2: "What’s going to happen to the UN SDGs? — with Jeffrey Sachs"
In this episode, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya interviews Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and Director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Prof. Sachs talks about the pandemic from his base in New York City, the impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the role of political systems during this crisis. (April 17, 2020)
Episode 1: "Sustaining Sustainability — Introduction to the Series"
In this brief introduction to the series, our host, CSB Director CB Bhattacharya, describes our motivation for launching the podcast, what to expect from each episode, and gives a preview of upcoming guests. (April 10, 2020)