Interviewed September 2008
As Katherine Jennrich likes to say, her passion for the environment dates back to "my first days at Camp Hug-a-Tree in northern Virginia (no joke!)." Since her childhood, the environment has been a central focus of Katherine's education and work experience. She earned a BS in Environmental Science from Mary Washington College and worked for two years as an environmental consultant before returning for a Masters of Environmental Management, and finally an MBA.
Katherine was in her first year at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment when she considered adding an MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler. She recounts, "I had attended the Kenan-Flagler Net Impact Career Panel and looked into the school's sustainable enterprise offerings. I knew that the joint degree across the two schools was possible… These two programs are complementary and I believe that more and more students will choose to combine them."
Katherine had the chance to put her unique background to the test with her summer internship in Wal-Mart's Energy Department. She was asked to plan and execute a pilot Supply Chain Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Analysis; a project which was recently received attention in the national press. "I couldn't have asked for a more perfect real world application of my academic pursuits," she says. She found the experience of integrating environmental and business goals both exciting and challenging. "This job truly gave me a chance to see the business of the environment-it is possible to make or save money while accomplishing environmental goals."
Katherine's Kenan-Flagler MBA complements her environmental management training by giving her the tools to talk in the language of business. Of her Kenan-Flagler experience, Katherine says: "The greatest skill I've learned here is the ability to discuss a point objectively-even if I feel passionately about the topic." She adds, "Being able to calculate an ROI doesn't hurt, either."
Nominee for Sustainability Superstar:
Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart. I swear I didn't drink the corporate Kool-Aid; but Lee Scott seems to be one of the most powerful allies of corporate sustainability that I've ever encountered. While he remains steadfastly accountable to shareholders, he's made environmental improvement one of the priorities for Wal-Mart. Successful corporate sustainability depends on support from the very highest ranks of a company; and Lee Scott seems to have infused his support down the ranks of the 1.8 million. Sustainability has even been integrated into each employee's performance evaluation. Certainly Wal-Mart has a long way to go to reach its goals; but I'm impressed that this
bare-bones, EDLP retailer is making progress towards those goals.
Wal-Mart Supply Chain GHG Analysis press coverage: