L. Hunter Lovins
With Laura Gitman, Senior Vice President at BSR
Laura Gitman has been a consultant her whole working life. Working with a variety of companies, helping them to solve big problems, she specializes in helping companies solve sustainability challenges and develop and implement strategies that enable them to create both business and societal value. She leads the New York team and global membership of BSR, a global nonprofit business network and consultancy dedicated to sustainability.
Laura feels privileged to work with large and influential companies to create positive change, a feeling that has strengthened over the past year. The past 12 months since the election have been volatile, with political, economic, technological, social, and environmental disruptions creating both challenges and opportunities for companies. Watching the U.S. government lose its leadership on climate change as we stand alone among the world’s nations in support of the Paris Agreement, Laura has been frustrated to see progress also stall or reverse on issues of women’s empowerment, human rights, transparency and anti-corruption. However, as a sustainability consultant, she gets “to come to work and do something about it every day.” BSR members, like many companies that have embraced sustainability, have remained steadfast in their commitment to sustainability, and recognize that business must play the leading role in advancing sustainability in the future.
This business leadership is also the premise of the Bard MBA in Sustainability program, at which Laura teaches two courses: NYCLab and Strategy for Sustainability. NYCLab is an experiential course in which MBA students complete a yearlong professional consultancy in the first year of their business program. Students experience how consulting can drive impactful change with a range of companies, government agencies, or organizations. These are not hypothetical scenarios or case studies, but live opportunities to create real change on issues such as climate change, human rights, circular economy, responsible sourcing, community development, among others. Recent corporate clients include Siemens, Etsy, Eileen Fisher, Pharmavite, HSBC, JetBlue, and ConEdison. Teams have also helped New York city and state agencies, as well as non-profits and social enterprises.