Mario Ponsell, Columbia University

I was initially drawn to ICCR because of its 40+ years of leadership in the socially responsible investing (SRI) industry. ICCR’s relationship with executives from Fortune 500 companies – people who can affect real change using the scale of their companies and supply chains – delivers results that shape our society for the better. My interest in corporate social responsibility stems from the fact that not every environmental, social, or governance (ESG) issue can be efficiently addressed by government. Businesses have the opportunity to fill that void because of the impact they have on the everyday lives of consumers. Amidst climate change and increasing demands for socially and environmentally responsible business practices, it is only natural to look to our corporate leaders as difference makers in our communities.

I worked for ICCR’s Strategic Initiatives Program Director, Nadira Narine, researching CSR policies in the quick-service restaurant industry and best practices in community engagement. It was eye opening to see the different ways that a seemingly-simple fast-food restaurant can play a role in environmental and social sustainability. After completing my first project (comparing CSR practices of McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands), I authored ICCR’s Guidelines for Partnered Engagement, a guide to help link ICCR’s members with partnered stakeholders as part of their advocacy campaigns.

I liked working for ICCR because it offers an environment that is both challenging and supportive. Its program staff have extensive knowledge in their respective areas of research and are excellent resources for learning and networking across the spectrum of ESG issues. As a military veteran transitioning from active duty to the civilian workforce via graduate school, ICCR provided me with an amazing opportunity to learn more about the world around me and the impact I can make in my future career. 

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