MBA Fellow Introduced Internal Carbon Pricing Quotient Framework at Williams Sonoma

Akshat Bhargava Headshot

During the summer of 2023, Akshat Bhargava (MBA '24) interned as an NYU Stern MBA Sustainability Fellow at Williams Sonoma. Read on to learn more about his time there:


Name: Akshat Bhargava
Year: 2024
Specialization: Strategy, Leadership and Change Management


This summer, I had the privilege of embarking on an extraordinary journey as an ESG Fellow at Williams Sonoma. For those unfamiliar with the company, Williams Sonoma is a Fortune 500 global home multi-channel specialty retailer known for its iconic brands and commitment to sustainability. The experience was nothing short of exceptional, and it's with immense gratitude that I share this blog post, offering a glimpse into what makes Williams Sonoma a leader in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives.

Working with the ESG team at Williams Sonoma was a unique and enriching experience. The company's dedication to ESG is evident not only in its products and business practices but also in its dynamic and visionary team. The opportunity to collaborate with this team was a blessing. I had the privilege of gaining exposure to the company's extensive portfolio of brands, delving into the intricate world of the retail industry, and engaging with teams across the United States and Singapore.

The heart of my summer at Williams Sonoma revolved around advancing the company's ESG goals. I worked on projects that pushed the boundaries of sustainability, challenging the company to exceed its own expectations. Although I can't share specific numbers, I can say that I was involved in developing strategies to reduce scope 1 emissions in a significant way, aligned with the organization's science-based targets. It was thrilling to present these strategies to the company's executives, who are genuinely invested in making a positive impact.

One of the standout moments of my internship was introducing an internal carbon pricing quotient framework. This framework is designed to assess sustainability, offering a viable alternative to traditional carbon offset commitments. It was incredible to witness the strategic level ESG conversations and the company's willingness to explore innovative solutions. Williams Sonoma is not just interested in meeting industry standards; it's committed to setting new benchmarks.

Vendor engagement was another area of focus during my internship. I had the opportunity to enrich the scorecards made by a fellow Sternie before me, using industry-standard data to provide valuable insights to leadership teams in both the USA and Singapore. It's clear that Williams Sonoma recognizes the importance of sustainable vendor relationships and is actively working to make a positive impact on this front.

The retail industry faces unique challenges and opportunities in the realm of sustainability. Supply chain sustainability and vendor engagement are complex issues, but they represent a significant opportunity for positive change. Williams Sonoma is at the forefront of these efforts, showing a commitment that goes beyond immediate gains.

My summer at Williams Sonoma was indeed one for the books. It provided me with the chance to leverage my skills and past experiences to drive positive change within the business while simultaneously boosting the bottom line. This period was a profound realization of how ESG can be a formidable force for positive change, with the potential to make a significant impact on both the company and the world at large.

The exposure to the company's diverse brands, insights into the dynamic retail industry, and participation in high-level ESG discussions proved to be invaluable. Williams Sonoma's commitment to sustainability goes far beyond mere checkboxes; it's about taking meaningful actions, fostering innovation, and leaving a genuine mark on the path to a more sustainable future.

I'm profoundly grateful for the opportunity and eager to witness the company's continued leadership in the realm of ESG.

In the world of ESG, Williams Sonoma stands as a shining example of how a global retailer can lead the charge toward a more sustainable future. My summer at the company was a transformative experience, and I'm elated to have played a role in this journey. Here's to Williams Sonoma and the extraordinary team that's steering the retail industry and beyond toward a brighter and more sustainable future. Cheers!