Published: Nov. 9, 2015
Los Angeles CESR Career Trek

By Julie Waggoner
Net Impact VP of Communications
Leeds MBA ‘16

At the end of October, a group of 19 MBA candidates and undergraduate business students along with CESR Executive Director Mark Meaney took off for a whirlwind CSR and sustainability career trek in Los Angeles. The group visited a wide array of organizations and learned about how each one approaches social and environmental sustainability.

The trek started out with an exclusive sustainability-focused tour of Warner Bros. Studios where students learned about waste management techniques and influencing culture. The students visited the set of Pretty Little Liars to learn about that show’s leading work in sustainable production. Next, the group headed out to Patagonia, where employees lead a tour that included discussions on the challenges of trying to use sustainable textiles and the importance of encouraging healthy work-life balance for employees. The students sat down for several presentations on environmental sustainability in a room where Patagonia employees had just finished learning about non-violent civil disobedience techniques to avoid being arrested while protesting.

The next morning, the group toured the Huy Fong Foods (makers of Sriracha Sauce) innovative sustainable production plant designed by founder and CEO David Tran. Here, students learned about the skylight design that cuts down on electric lighting and the company’s on-site recycling program for containers used in the manufacturing process. Next, the group discussed energy trading over lunch with several executives at Southern California Edison where the students learned about many aspects of corporate responsibility, including employee and supplier diversity and achieving green energy targets.

The group finished this busy day with a tour of Lakeshore Learning, where the focus was on quality and a stellar company culture. This involves equal access to great on-site daycare for both office and distribution center employees, and creating inclusive educational toys that represent all children.

On the last day of the trip, the group visited theCity of Los Angeles to see the sustainable city plan that included a mwasure to increase environmental justice among the city’s residents. The trek ended with a visit to Homeboy Industries, an inspiring social enterprise that provides counseling, education, job training and employment opportunities to former gang members and incarcerated individuals.

This CESR trek helped all the participants to learn more about where they fit into the fields of sustainability and CSR, the potential job opportunities in the sector, and provided valuable connections with industry leaders. The trek was a resounding success and solidified the foundation for many sustainability-focused treks to come.