Tensie Whelan

Tensie Whelan

Joined Stern 2015

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

E-mail hhw2013@stern.nyu.edu


Tensie 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.

Research Interests

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

Academic Background

M.A., International Communication
American University

B.A., Political Science
New York University

Related News & Research

Here are 3 Ways to Cultivate Your Sustainability Culture.

Make the Internal Business Case for Sustainability Investment.

Corporate Boards Have Never Been More Prepared to Face Down the Anti-ESG Backlash, New Research Finds.

Research: Boards Still Have an ESG Expertise Gap — But They’re Improving

Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan interview, citing research from the Center for Sustainable Business: “‘Climate-Controlled' Sausage? Courts Crack Down on 'Greenwashing.’”

Develop Your Sustainability Business Strategy.

Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan interview: “Banks Backpedal on Climate Amid Federal Scrutiny, Anti-ESG Pressure.”

Engaging Stakeholders Can Help Deliver Sustainability Strategy, Create Value for the Company.

Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan is featured: "Leading Professors Imagine The Business School Of The Future."

How Institutional Investors Can Up Their Sustainability Game in Private Markets.

Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan is recognized: "2023 Best Undergraduate Professors: Tensie Whelan, New York University Stern School of Business."

Sustainability Is Real and Smart Investors Know It.

Private Equity Is Leaving Billions of Dollars in Sustainability Value on the Table.

Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan interview: “The State of Clean Beauty.”

Some Politicians Are Waging a War on Sustainability. New Research Shows US Consumers of All Persuasions, From Gen Zers to Boomers, Are Going in the Opposite Direction.

Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan interview: “Does Amazon’s Push To Be a Better, Greener Employer Matter to Markets?”

Beginner or Embedder? Here's a 4-step Tool to Assess Your Company’s Sustainability Maturity.

Commentary from Clinical Professor Tensie Whelan is spotlighted: “Director Reference Guide: How to Benefit From Stakeholder Engagement.”

Research: How to Effectively Market Green Products.

Flex of Worker Power Raises the Stakes for Quality Jobs.