John Scott (MBA ‘00): Driving transformations in the field of corporate sustainability

John Scott MBA '00
Chief Transformation Officer at Subway HQ
John joined a panel hosted by the Center for Sustainable Business about leading initiatives focused on environmental and social impact within an organization.   
NYU Stern Program: Langone Part-Time MBA Program
Industry: Food and Restaurant

Tell us about your role as Chief Transformation Officer at Subway HQ? 
My focus is on developing strategies and approaches for longer-term initiatives to keep the business model in-tune with changing expectations from guests and franchise owners—which can range from strategic partnerships to culture development. I am also accountable for our Global Food safety, Quality and Sustainability teams.
Can you share a few examples of how Subway HQ is advancing its agenda of integrated sustainability and social impact? In what ways are you seeing an impact? 
At the crossroads of social impact and business value, we have worked with small landowners in El Salvador and elsewhere to help farmers have better economic businesses while running more sustainable farm operations. We’ve worked with other NGOs and partners to help them build great small businesses for themselves while improving the quality and food safety of our products.
What do you enjoy most about your work? 
The opportunity to see the excitement of our employees and franchise partners when we implement new sustainability programs. Whether it is the implementation of employee-managed bees hives on our Connecticut campus or supporting the “Choose to Refuse” marketing efforts in regions like Latin America and Europe to eliminate the use of plastic packaging in our restaurants. When we create opportunities to bring our employees and guests into the sustainability journey, it is very rewarding.
What's been your proudest accomplishment in your career as it relates to having a positive impact on the environment? 
I am most excited to see the many others I have worked with or managed carry-forward the mission of sustainability at their companies or organizations. I hope the work I’ve done has helped them advance their own ideas and energy to make a positive impact all over the globe—whether it is in the public or private sectors.  
What career advice would you offer someone interested in business and sustainability?
Make sure you have an anchor skill in an area that can bring your sustainability initiatives into a practical setting. That could mean having strong experience in finance, engineering, technology or nearly any other area where you can apply sustainable-thinking in real-world examples.
Do you have a favorite NYU Stern memory? 
The support of faculty. My appendix ruptured while at class one evening (!) and the faculty was quite supportive during my recovery to make-up classes and tests. 
How have you stayed connected to NYU Stern over the years?
Not as much as I would have liked. I’ve done some recruiting for positions but really enjoy meeting with students and alumni at events such as the panel I participated in with the Center for Sustainable Business.  
What’s your favorite Subway sandwich? 
Our Avocado and Shrimp sandwich, which was created in Japan and served in parts of Asia.