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Rachel Haynes

Rachel Haynes, BSC Associate

Current Degree Program: Masters of Business Administration concentration in Marketing and Innovation Management, Certificate Decision Analytics
Previous Degrees: BA International Studies and Economics, Certificate Chinese Professional Communication at University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Areas of Interest in Sustainability: Marketing research and consumer behavior in sustainability

What does business sustainability mean to you? What do you think sustainability should mean to businesses?

I believe sustainability is the act of building a better future for the generations to come. Whether that be through taking care of our environment, creating innovative technology, or creating more inclusive organizations, sustainability creates a better state of being for all humans. Within the business world, I think sustainability should mean maximizing profit without negatively impacting others or the environment. Some may think how can I maximize my profits without creating waste? The most sophisticated, authentic, and savvy businesses can find ways to have a positive impact on the environment while still maintaining traditional business goals and practices.

What sustainability challenge would you most like to solve?

With the exponential growth of online shopping, I believe waste created from the shipping and packaging process is a major sustainability challenge. The rate at which customers shop online has grown tremendously and along with it an increase in waste from packages. I think the future of the online shopping space will continue to innovate and along with it creating less waste should become a focus of major online shopping platforms. I want to help solve this issue by understanding how consumers behave in the online shopping process and how they think about the process of shipping and packaging in order to create a less wasteful process.

Who do you admire for championing positive change through business?

Ursula Burns is someone I admire for championing positive change through business. She was the first black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company! She is quoted for saying, “Believe that there are no limitations, no barriers to your success – you will be empowered and you will achieve.” She has changed the narrative of what a Fortune 500 company CEO should look like through her authenticity, strong morals, and passion for what she does. She has paved a path for more people of underrepresented identities to lead Fortune 500 companies.

Moving forward, how do you plan to use business as a force for good?

In the last two industries I worked with, I was exposed to the early stages of how businesses were dealing with the question of how do we exist, maintain profits and benefit the environment. Thus, in my future career, I plan to make sure the topic of sustainability is a discussion that is occurring at every company I work for. Business practices are changing in the age of globalization along with the attitude towards how can we make businesses a sustainable practice. I hope to put that practice in place throughout my career.

What do you think are some challenges with sustainable businesses or becoming a sustainable business?

I think a lot of businesses don’t want to take a step back and look at themselves as an organization internally. Acknowledging a business’s flaws or ways in which it could improve itself in regards to its effect on the environment is not something all businesses want to confront, and some don’t see how or why it could benefit profits. However, I believe the most authentic companies and brands are willing to take the time to better themselves and the environment.

What’s your advice for fellow students who might be interested in sustainability, but don’t know where to start?

Coming into the BSC having never taken a class on sustainability I read the B Corp handbook which helped me to bridge my knowledge and experience of what it means to build a sustainable company. I highly recommend reading the B Corp Handbook and researching the B corp movement.