The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022: #RedefiningPower - Tensie Whelan, Founder & Director, New York University Stern Center For Sustainable Business, United States
"As mothers, aunts, grandmothers and daughters, we want to ensure our families and communities are able to enjoy the same quality of life we have enjoyed. It is our duty and our privilege to lead the way to a more sustainable future for all." - Tensie Whelan, Founder & Director, New York University Center For Sustainable Business
Tensie Whelan, Clinical Professor for Business and Society, is the founder and Director of NYU Stern School of Business’ Center for Sustainable Business*, where she brings 25 years of experience working on sustainability issues.
As President of the Rainforest Alliance, she built the organization from a $4.5 million to $50 million budget, transforming the engagement of business with sustainability, recruiting 5,000 companies in more than 60 countries. Her previous work included serving as Executive Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters, Vice President of the National Audubon Society, and Managing Editor of Ambio, a journal of the Swedish Academy of Sciences.
She has served on numerous nonprofit boards and corporate advisory boards for companies such as Unilever and Nespresso and currently serves on the advisory boards of ALO Advisors, Buzz on Earth, Giant Ventures, and Inherent Group.
She was most recently appointed to the board of InvestIndustrial SPAC, and is an Advisor to the Future Economy Project for Harvard Business Review and is a member of the “Exploring the Future of Sustainable Production and Consumption” Working Group of the Council on Competitiveness. Tensie was awarded the Stern Faculty Excellence Award in 2020.
Q: What is the importance of women's leadership in today's society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, Climate, and Conflict, and their deadly consequences?
As mothers, aunts, grandmothers and daughters, we want to ensure our families and communities are able to enjoy the same quality of life we have enjoyed. It is our duty and our privilege to lead the way to a more sustainable future for all.
Q: What role do you believe women in leadership positions have to play in helping companies and brands transition towards sustainability and circularity, and why is this important?
Women (and men) in corporate leadership must capture competitive advantage, mitigate risk, and drive financial performance for their companies. Women understand that sustainability will do this: it is the next wave of total quality management, driving better employee engagement, operational efficiency, customer loyalty, and innovation. Our role is to understand the business case for sustainability and embed it into the core business strategy.
Q: What can be done to improve women’s participation in corporate and leadership positions? How do we achieve this?
Academic studies find companies with more women in leadership perform better financially, yet women remain heavily underrepresented in senior positions. We must remove barriers and improve pathways for women, including ensuring serious consideration of women for open positions and advancement and improving formal and informal career development support. Working at an academic institution, we also need to actively encourage women to pursue fields where they are under-represented, such as finance, providing them with mentorships and the experience and confidence to succeed.
Q: What does this award mean to you and what significance does it hold to you personally and/or professionally, and your company?
I am honored to have our work at NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business recognized as being on the cutting edge of sustainable business practices worldwide and supporting action in sustainability. I also very much appreciate the focus on supporting female champions!
*The NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) was founded on the principle that sustainable business is good business, and is proving the value of sustainability for business management and performance at a time when people and the planet need it most. CSB prepares current and future leaders by aiming to help them embrace proactive and innovative mainstreaming of sustainability, resulting in competitive advantage and resiliency for their companies as well as a positive impact for society. Learn more.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
The SustainabilityX® Magazine proudly announced the release of The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s inaugural Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ 2022 on Oct 4th, 2022, an inaugural annual list celebrating the powerful work of women in sustainability leadership around the world.
The non-profit digital magazine’s Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards™ high-level, invite-only program graciously sponsored by the award-winning Canadian construction and engineering firm Belnor Engineering Inc., recognizes achievements of the world’s powerful, groundbreaking female sustainability leaders who’re bridging the gender gap by breaking barriers, shattering traditional stereotypes, and taking the world of sustainability by storm. This campaign is in line with the magazine’s third pillar of sustainability upon which SustainabilityX® is based: social inclusion, which involves marginalized populations and vulnerable communities such as women, persons with disabilities, unemployed youth, LGBTQ+, the elderly, and BIPOC minorities.
“As both a female and one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 In Sustainability Leadership myself, I know how important this is,” says Supriya Verma, founder of The SustainabilityX® Magazine. “The number of women in positions of leadership – from business to politics – are relatively few. With society plagued by the triple crises of COVID, climate, conflict, and their deadly consequences, how can the world advance and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals without having women in decision-making positions at major organizations, political parties, and academic institutions?”
In The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s quest to ‘redefine power’, this is the first international power-list bringing together women around the world involved in sustainability celebrating the power of their work – not their position. This list brings together a diverse group of accomplished women across business, entertainment, academia, law, politics, and beyond ranging from some of the world's leading companies, to independent unsung heroes with one thing in common: using their power with purpose –the power to create change and influence lives to make the world a better place. After all, that's what sustainability is all about. The meaning, or ‘the power’ of one’s work matters, not one’s position in a corporate hierarchy, particularly during this crucial era.
View the full list: The SustainabilityX® Magazine Global 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022
About The SustainabilityX® Magazine
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is an award-winning, digital, female-founded, and female-led non-profit initiative bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue. Founded on May 8, 2016 and inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability Leadership awardee, Supriya Verma, the digital media initiative focuses on approaching the world’s most pressing challenges with a holistic, integrated, systems-based perspective as opposed to the traditional and ineffective siloed approach with a single lens on interdisciplinary topics like climate and energy. This initiative ultimately seeks to explore how to effectively bring the environment and economy together through intellectual, insightful dialogue and thought-provoking discussion amongst individuals across sectors taking an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to untangling the intricate web of sustainability.
The SustainabilityX® Magazine is based upon the four pillars of sustainability: Environmental Stewardship which emphasizes improved environmental health, Economic Prosperity which emphasizes economic growth without the element of capitalism, Social Inclusion which emphasizes EDI for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and marginalized, vulnerable populations, and Just Governance which emphasizes the equal rule of law via responsible political leadership to create fair systems for all. Identifying the diverse factors involved in sustainability, how they interact and how the disciplines are interconnected will help accelerate local, national, and international sustainability goals – in simpler words, aligning with The SustainabilityX® Magazine’s mission of bringing the environment and economy together for a sustainable future through dialogue for a sustainable future. Whether you have a background in science, engineering, business, law, politics, media and entertainment, or beyond, your voice matters.
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The SustainabilityX® Magazine is a proud member of the Sustainable Journalism Partnership, serves as a cause-based media partner for various events such as Circular City Week New York, and officially delivers remarks at international conferences such as UNESCO’s annual World Press Freedom Day Conference. SustainabilityX® is a brand of the non-profit social business SPSX Group.
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