Published: March 9, 2015
Justin's, CESR

As a sequel to the popular San Francisco CSR Career Trek in January, CESR, in partnership with a team of Leeds MBA students (Katie Eisenbrown, Amanda Shatzman and Cassandra Palmer) presented a Boulder CSR Career Trek in late February.

“It was great to hear about inspired and inspiring work from two visionary Boulder companies, Justin’s and Renewable Choice,” said Dave Payne, CESR faculty member and co-organizer of the Trek.


Justin Gold founded Justin’s nut butter company in 2004, with guidance from the Leeds School of Business as well as local entrepreneurial mentors in the community. Justin claims, “I didn’t invent peanut butter and I didn’t invent the squeeze pack. I was just the first to put the two together.”

As the first recipient of Whole Foods Market’s Local Producer Loan and in the spirit of entrepreneurship and paying it forward, Justin’s co-created and became the founding member of Whole Planet Foundation’s Microloan-a-Month Fund. Each month, Justin’s gives a microloan through Whole Planet Foundation to an entrepreneur in the developing world.

Ten Leeds MBA students had the opportunity to meet with Justin himself as well as Justin’s CEO, Peter Burns (also a CESR board member).

“They were very excited to have us and we had a lively discussion including everything from almond prices, to more sustainable packaging, and entrepreneurship.  We even left with some free peanut butter cups and squeeze packs!” said Katie Eisenbrown, Leeds MBA.

The company has ranked in the Top 15 on the Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies list for the Food and Beverage category two years in a row, and Justin has been recognized as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young. 

Renewable Choice Energy

Amy Haddon, the VP of sustainability communications and marketing for Renewable Choice Energy, welcomed the students at their headquarters in east Boulder.

“She answered our questions about the energy business and was happy to share the recent opportunities Renewable Choice Energy is facing.  We discussed renewable energy credits, offsets, greenhouse gas emissions and how RCE fits in to all of it,” said Katie.

Renewable Choice has helped clients become leaders in their industry by supporting sustainability initiatives that increase transparency, reduce risk, lower costs, leverage competitive advantages and improve stakeholder relations. They offer renewable energy, carbon offsets, and education and outreach services and collaborate with businesses around the world, from small and mid-sized companies to leading Fortune 500 organizations.

“We not only work with clients and partners to measure and reduce their environmental impact, but we practice what we teach,” affirms the company about their corporate responsibility. Some of their initiatives include being certified as a B Corporation, named a “Best for the Environment” B Corp in 2013; enforcing recycling and composting programs at their offices; offsetting their office and employees’ electricity use with wind power; and being named a “Bike Friendly Business” for their efforts to make their operation bicycle friendly for employees and customers.

In recognition of their achievements, Renewable Choice and their clients have been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN and USA TODAY. They’ve also received prestigious sustainability awards from the EPA and Department of Energy.

Career Treks

To learn more about Leeds’ Career Treks, click here.