State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Students Explore the World of Corporate Sustainability

By Noah Morgenstein

The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development was pleased to host Katy Mixter, a program associate at Citigroup, on Friday November 8th at the fourth of six autumn brown bag events for undergraduates. The topic of sustainability in the private sector attracted both undergraduate and graduate students from various programs. Mixter, who works on Citi’s corporate sustainability program, talked to students about the organization’s internal environmental initiatives as well as ways Citi works with clients to promote environmental sustainability.

Citigroup offers myriad financial services, including investment, retail, and commercial banking, as well as credit card services and market products, such as equities, commodities, and futures. In these ways, Citi has a major impact on environmental sustainability because so many companies rely on Citi funding to conduct their businesses. For this reason, Citi has focused on building its corporate sustainability program in order to work with clients to not only enable their success, but also to minimize harm to the environment.

According to Mixter, a large part of Citi’s sustainability program involves engaging with clients to minimize environmental impact. Rather than turn away clients whose proposals might damage the environment, Citi accepts clients on the condition that their businesses minimize those damages. Mixter also discussed her career path and how to break into the corporate sustainability field. While Mixter noted that the field is still small, she affirmed that it is growing and that, while there is no clear path to her specific job, students have myriad opportunities to incorporate sustainability into their daily responsibilities at any position within a corporation. Mixter noted that she and her team spend much of their time working with employees from every department, finding ways for everyone to minimize their impact on the environment. With this in mind, she urged students to follow their passions, whether they be research or management or accounting, and then find ways to promote sustainability from within those positions.

To learn more about Citi Corporate Sustainability please visit their website. The seminar was part of the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development’s regularly scheduled Speaker Series for the 2013 fall semester. To see a list of upcoming speakers, please visit the events section of our website. While the Speaker Series is hosted by the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, all undergraduate and graduate students at Columbia and affiliated schools are invited to attend.

Columbia’s Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development is an interdisciplinary program that addresses sustainable development through an understanding in the interaction between natural and social systems, offered through the Earth Institute in partnership with Columbia College and the School of General Studies. Participating departments and schools of the Sustainable Development Major and Concentration include the Department of Earth and Environmental Biology; the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering; the School of International and Public Affairs and the Mailman School of Public Health.

To learn more about the Major and Special Concentration in Sustainable Development, please visit our website or contact Jessica Sotomayor, Program Manager, at


Noah Morgenstein is an intern for the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Earth Institute. He attends Columbia College and will graduate in 2015 with a degree in Economics and Political Science.

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