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Center for Sustainable Business | About Tensie Whelan

Tensie Whelan, Director

Tensie Whelan HeadshotTensie Whelan (NYU ‘80), Distinguished Professor of Practice for Business and Society, is the Founding Director of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, where she is bringing her 25 years of experience working on local, national and international sustainability issues to engage businesses in proactive and innovative mainstreaming of sustainability.

As President of the Rainforest Alliance, she built the organization from a $4.5 million to $50 million budget, transforming the engagement of business with sustainability, recruiting 5,000 companies in more than 60 countries to work with Rainforest Alliance. She transformed the Rainforest Alliance into an internationally recognized and credible brand. Her previous work included serving as Executive Director of the New York League of Conservation Voters, Vice President of the National Audubon Society, Managing Editor of Ambio, a journal of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a journalist in Latin America.

Tensie has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics and was a Citi Fellow in Leadership and Ethics at NYU Stern. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards and currently serves on the advisory boards of ALO Advisors, Edelman, Giant Ventures and Nespresso. She was most recently appointed to the board of Emerald SPAC, and is an Advisor to the Future Economy Project for Harvard Business Review. Tensie holds a B.A. from New York University, an M.A. from American University, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Owner President Management (OPM) Program. She was awarded the Stern Faculty Excellence Award in 2020 and made Distinguished Professor of Practice in 2023 in recognition of her contributions to Stern.

Tensie Whelan has been featured in the following recent publications for her work with the Center for Sustainable Business:

Notable Research Publications:

FII Institute White Paper

Groundbreaking Insights on the Demand and Strategy for Sustainable Recovery from FII Institute

In this June 2020 FII Institute white paper, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business Director Tensie Whelan shares insights on the corporate case for a sustainable recovery and how corporations can capture the benefits of sustainability investments.