As companies are realizing that sustainability is here to stay, they shift attention to how they can communicate sustainable strategies to get their return on investment. Leeds School of Business Social Responsibility and Ethics (SRE) Alumni, Nathan Sanfacon now helps large, public companies better tell their sustainability story.
Background as a Buff
Nathan began at Leeds with an interest in finance, but soon realized his desire to generate a greater impact in the business world. To bring his two passions together, he enrolled in CESR courses where he was introduced to the concept of using business as a tool to solve the world’s largest challenges. Additionally, he participated in the 2016 Business Ethics Case Competition and took home first prize, solidifying his knowledge on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethical decision making.
Founding CESR Fellows
Although Nathan got involved with CESR at Leeds, he didn’t learn about it until junior year and wished he had known about it earlier. Realizing the unique value that CESR brought to Leeds, he set out to help grow CESR and engage more students. His senior year he collaborated with Executive Director Mark Meaney to found the CESR Fellows. He envisioned a strong community for current, prospective, and past students to get engaged in CESR. As he and his peers laid the foundation for CESR Fellows, they prepared the organization for success in the years to come.
Nathan expressed that he didn’t know exactly how he would translate his interests in marketing and CSR into his after graduation plans. When he became aware of a position at thinkPARALLAX,a branding and communications agency focused on sustainability communications, he realized that he could marry his interests by simultaneously helping businesses get better returns and helping people.
As a recipient of the Social Responsibility and Ethics (SRE) Certificate, Nathan attributes his success to the sustainability experience and competitive advantage that the certificate had provided him. He noted that the socially responsible perspective fostered from the certificate is invaluable when looking for companies are best suited to your values, and a total differentiator when you are in the company. Coming to the table with that deeper understanding helped set him apart from his focus in marketing and incorporate it into his organization’s strategy.
Now Nathan is a strategist at thinkPARALLAX, an agency focused on helping brands share their sustainability story with appropriate audiences and helping them get a return on investment on their programs. In this position, he is constantly incorporating CSR with business strategy and says that what he learned in CESR helps him every day.
How can large companies authentically pursue sustainability initiatives while catering to customers?
This is the challenge that large companies face, and one that Nathan faces every day as a strategist at thinkPARALLAX. He told us that large companies are doing a lot of good, but do a poor job of communicating it. In order to improve the way that these companies share their efforts, Nathan encourages companies to cater their message to a specific audience based on their overall goal of communication.
How can companies shift toward more sustainable operations with sustainable profits?
A company still needs to be profitable while striving to be more sustainable. Nathan provided some insight on how companies can perform at the highest level while continuing to benefit stakeholders: if companies can shift their focus from short term gains to a long term strategy with imbedded gains, a more holistic view of objectives will be created, including strategy for long term profit.
Be a Sustainable Buff
Follow in Nathan’s footsteps toward an impactful career! Take the first step by checking out CESR’s Impact Internship Program. Make sure to subscribe to the CESR Newsletter to get all the latest new job opportunities!