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Tensie Whelan

Tensie Whelan

Joined Stern 2015

Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Kaufman Management Center
44 West Fourth Street,
New York, NY 10012



Tensie Whelan (NYU ‘80), Clinical Professor for Business and Society, is the Director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business, where she is bringing her 25 years of experience working on local, national and international environmental and 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 frog 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, was the Citi Fellow in Leadership and Ethics at NYU Stern in 2015 and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and corporate advisory boards such as the Unilever Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board and the Nespresso Innovation Fund Advisory Board. She was most recently appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for Aston Martin and GlobeScan, to the newly created Global Advisory Council for Odebrecht and as 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.

Tensie Whelan has been featured in the following publications for her work with the Center for Sustainable Business: The Pragmatist, Worth Magazine A Better World Through Better Business, Stern Business Magazine The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability, Harvard Business Review

Research Interests

  • ESG Investing
  • Sustainable Business
  • Business Ethics
  • Ecofriendly Tourism

Academic Background

M.A., International Communication
American University

B.A., New York University

Related News & Research

An Evening with Scott Harrison, charity: water

Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen Featuring Professor Tensie Whelan

If Hospitals Made Efforts to Go Green, Health Care Costs Would Go Down

Why Electric is Driving the Future of Auto Luxury

Professor Tensie Whelan comments on the viability of an ESG-focused ETF

The Business of Business is Creating Value (Which Leads to Profits)

The Hidden Plastic That’s Clogging Our Oceans

In an in-depth Q&A interview, Professor Tensie Whelan highlights the value of sustainability practices for businesses

The Problem Billionaires Are Overlooking in Their Race to Space

How Iconic Chocolate Brands Are Improving Conditions for West African Farmers

Actually, Consumers Do Buy Sustainable Products

A Reality Check on the Financial Sector's Gender Wage Gap

The Simplest Solution to Fixing Wealth Inequality

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business Announces New Initiative “Invest NYC SDG” with $350K in Support from the Goldman Sachs Center for Environmental Markets and PepsiCo.

Professor Tensie Whelan's comments at the 2019 Women & Worth Summit are featured

NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business Hosts Panel on ESG and Impact Investing Across Asset Classes

Yes, the UN Sustainable Development Goals Are Sexy

Sustainable Finance and ESG Investing

In a contributed article, Professor Tensie Whelan highlights the Center for Sustainable Business' research, in partnership with IRI, on sustainability-marketed products

In a podcast interview, Professor Tensie Whelan explains how companies are implementing the Center for Sustainable Business' Return on Sustainability Investment methodology