Svetlana Geshtovt, BSC Associate
Current Degree Program: SKEMA / NC State, Poole College of Management – Dual Master’s Degree in Global Luxury and Management
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Areas of Interest in Sustainability: B Corps, Sustainability in the Apparel Industry, Sustainable Luxury, Green Advertising, Cause Marketing, Conscientious Consumerism
What does business sustainability mean to you? What do you think sustainability should mean to businesses?
For me, business sustainability means creating a transparent, healthy, thriving environment for all. So I believe companies should shift their focus from maximizing stockholders’ profit to creating a better life for all stakeholders. For businesses, sustainability should mean focusing on the triple bottom line by not only maximizing profit but also focusing on the betterment of their environment and the communities around them.
What sustainability challenge would you most like to solve?
Growing up in a country that tended to be more frugal, I have noticed that people tend to be more resourceful with their purchases when compared to people in the United States. This stark difference in consumption patterns that made me appreciate the resources this country has to offer. I want to help solve this issue by promoting sustainable consumption. Climate change effects are undeniable, and the apparel industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. It responsible for about 10% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, and according to experts, this percentage will grow to 50% by 2030. This alarming statistic is a huge reason why I intend to enter the industry and become a catalyst for change.
Who do you admire for championing positive change through business?
Jessica Thomas, Director of Business Sustainability Collaborative, professor at NC State and the President of the B Academic movement, has made a significant impact on the whole Poole College of Management community and me. Her passion for teaching using business as a force for good is a great inspiration to students trying to find more meaning in their business careers. Jessica has sparked my interest in business sustainability through all her hard work in the community. She has opened the door to practices and tools that I can use to create a more sustainable world for our generation and the generations to come. One of the programs that Jessica has launched through the BSC is a biannual B Corps Clinic, a program that connects aspiring B Corp companies and student consultants. Through the B Corp Clinic, students get hands-on experience in consulting, preparing them for impactful future careers.
Moving forward, how do you plan to use business as a force for good?
As a future business leader, I will promote the triple bottom line model focusing on people, planet, and profit. After graduating, I am looking forward to finding a meaningful job at a company that is aligned with my values. I’m’m driven to work and learn from people who are passionate about sustainability so that together we can make change happen.
What do you think are some challenges with sustainable businesses or becoming a sustainable business?
One big challenge we face is the unfortunate fact that the concept of sustainable business is still not common knowledge to the general public. I do believe that over time, more people will become aware of the concept, and more big companies will join the movement toward a better future, but we must continue to spread awareness to make that happen.
What’s your advice for fellow students who might be interested in sustainability, but don’t know where to start?
First things first, sign up for our BSC Newsletter! That way, you will always be informed about upcoming events that we are hosting on-campus or virtually. Second, get involved with a B Corp Clinic program as a student consultant working for a semester-long project with an aspiring B Corp. Third, utilize B Lab resources, for example, to discover sustainable business job opportunities through the B Work website to work for a purpose-driven company post-graduation. And, of course, get involved with your local B Corp Community to expand your network!