Reminiscing, hugs, and laughter abounded at a celebration for the tenth anniversary of the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (Center). On October 21, 2023, The Center’s stakeholders attended a party at the popular Marietta speakeasy, The Third Door, where conversations were shared over delicious food and the establishment’s signature cocktails.
There was a lot to be joyful about! Over the ten years since its founding, the Center team has worked with passion and purpose in support of their vision to empower the leaders of tomorrow to create sustainable businesses and communities. In fact, one may say the Center is enabling leaders of today to make an impact. Students, faculty, practitioners, community members, and staff are working in classrooms, on projects, and in organizations to enact real-world change for the betterment of people and the planet.
The Center, founded by Faculty Director Beril Toktay, launched in 2013 with just one hire, a managing director. Today, in 2023, the ACSB team of staff and faculty has grown to 12. Assistant Director of Business Operations Arianna Robinson, the Center’s second hire back in 2014, has seen the Center through its tremendous growth. Robinson says, “It has been an honor to grow with the Center over the years. When I joined, they had just recently convened the launch event and were preparing to host another high-impact event, featuring a globally recognized expert on sustainable business, the next month. We came out of the gate running – and we’ve never lost that momentum.”
The Center has many milestones that represent its areas of influence. Long-standing programs include a speaker series, a program for Sustainability Fellows and Ambassadors, the Sustainable Business Consulting Practicum, and the Carbon Reduction Challenge. More recent developments from the past couple of years include the launch of the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact and the Sustainable-X entrepreneurship program. The Center continues to innovate to meet the needs of its stakeholders on their shared commitment to four key thematic areas: climate action; the circular economy; social performance and human rights; and Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) leadership.
In the paragraphs that follow, members of the Center’s key stakeholder groups share their reflections on the Center and the anniversary celebration.