Noha Waibsnaider ’02: Sustainable business models
Before attending business school, Noha Waibsnaider worked in the nonprofit and private sectors. “My exposure to both sectors led me to believe that the key to positive social change lies in business, and that long-term corporate success is inherently aligned with creating a positive social impact,” she says.
While at school, Waibsnaider was one of Columbia’s founding members of the Global Social Venture Competition. “The competition perfectly aligned with my interests and gave me the conviction that business models are evolving to incorporate Social Return of Investment,” she says. “It was exciting to see new ventures prioritize social and environmental standards in their business practices.”
Waibsnaider was also part of the Social Enterprise Club – a Net Impact Chapter. “Net Impact helped me understand how to link CSR to the bottom-line, which helps frame the concept within a mainstream business environment,” she says.
After graduation Waibsnaider worked at Unilever Bestfoods in marketing, and was attracted to the company’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “The culture, combined with the advanced standards driven by Unilever’s European Headquarters, made it easier to build a business case for mainstream CSR initiatives,” she says. In this position, Waibsnaider infused a CSR perspective to everyday business functions. She approached the Package Engineering group with the suggestion of implementing reusable case trays as a cost savings measure. “No company is perfect, but Unilever is committed to CSR and they need employees to work on improvements,” she says.