Name: Surabhi Agrawal
Hometown: Miami, FL
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a certified scuba diver and a yoga instructor.
Business School Degree Program: MBA, Georgetown McDonough School of Business
1. What do you do, and how do you impact sustainability through your work?
I am a senior manager of coffee sustainability at Starbucks, tackling climate change through carbon-neutral and water reduction goals within the coffee supply chain. This involves understanding the technology support that farmers need to overcome the impacts of climate change. Sustainability is a partnership between people and planet and I am proud that my work spans this.
2. What does World Earth Day mean to you?
My mom is a science teacher, who always celebrated Earth Day. My first memory of Earth Day is when I was nine, and we planted a tree in our neighborhood. While a simple step, it ingrained in me an importance of cultivating the Earth, and knowing that each of us have a part to play.
3. What is your top tip for living a more sustainable life?
As a consumer, I try my best to do my research and buy from brands that align with values of promoting a better planet (ex: buying foods that promote regenerative agriculture practices). We have power as consumers to change the way businesses think of sustainability. Make your voice count!
4. How has your business school experience helped your career in this area?
When making an impact in sustainability, I have learned it is important to articulate the business case of ‘doing good.’ The evidence is clear, and companies are moving in the direction. My business school experience helped me learn, understand, and speak the language of business, which I apply to my work in sustainability.
5. What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies?
The power of teamwork. To make a true impact, you cannot do it alone. Working in sustainability is about forging partnerships, whether internally or externally, to have the greatest impact.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
The future in sustainability is a growing field, and I hope to continue to lead at the intersection of sustainability with technology to create scalable solutions for impact.
7. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the planet?
I have a 16-month-old daughter, and my hope is that she lives on a planet that has overcome and healed from our current state. I think the pandemic has shown the world how interconnected we are as people, living in a delicate balance with nature. I hope we can take these learnings to understand our implications as an individual, who is part of a collective whole, and make decisions that are better for the Earth.