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704: Kelly Burton on ESG Strategies: Crafting the Future of Responsible Business

Kelly Burton

In this episode of The Impact Report, host Renay sits down with Kelly Burton, founder and CEO of the ESG Shop, and Stacey Jewell, a Bard MBA student with a keen focus on impact finance. Together, they discuss the intricacies of ESG strategies and their pivotal role in shaping responsible business practices.

In this Episode:

Kelly Burton’s Leadership Path: Kelly Burton recounts her multifaceted career journey, from advertising to digital transformation and eventually to sustainability. She shares the inception story of the ESG Shop and its mission to guide companies from pledges to tangible progress in responsible business practices.

Stacey Jewell’s Impact Finance Insights: Stacey Jewell discusses her passion for impact finance and how it intersects with ESG initiatives. As a Bard MBA student, she brings a fresh perspective on capital allocation and its critical role in fostering sustainable community development.

ESG in the Corporate World: The conversation delves into where ESG fits within an organization’s structure and the evolving roles of sustainability professionals. Kelly and Stacey explore the need for CEOs to become versed in sustainability and the potential for ESG to become integrated into strategic business planning.

Network Leadership and ESG: Stacey introduces the concept of network leadership and its effectiveness in ESG implementation. They discuss the importance of cross-functional collaboration and the potential of fractional services to provide the necessary expertise for companies embarking on sustainability journeys.

Join Renay, Kelly, and Stacey’s conversations into the ‘hows’ of ESG and the leadership required to drive sustainable change in the business world. Don’t miss this episode if you’re interested in the future of responsible business and the leaders who are paving the way.

Bard’s Graduate Programs in Sustainability cultivate leaders who break through existing systems, innovating solutions to critical social, environmental and economic challenges. 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class from M.S. in Environmental Policy degree at Bard CEP and the 10th graduating class from the Bard MBA in Sustainability program. The 2023 graduating MS EP, MS CSP, MEd and MBA classes will bring the Bard GPS alumni community to over 500!

Kelly Burton:
Kelly holds an ALM from Harvard University in Sustainability and Environmental Management. She also holds certificates in Corporate Responsibility and Innovation, and Environmental Policy and International Development, also from Harvard and Corporate Finance Fundamentals and ESG & Sustainable Capitalism from Berkeley Law. She is a JD candidate at CUNY Law.

An award-winning ESG leader known for driving impactful sustainability initiatives and fostering responsible business practices in B2B and B2C companies including start-ups, media, CPG, beauty, food, fashion and tech, Kelly launched The ESG Shop to fill the expertise/ capacity gap facing many companies today. Needing immediate help with specific issues, but not yet clear if a full-time role is required, the fractional services of The ESG Shop allow clients to be focused, compliant and fiscally prudent.

Kelly’s expertise in developing and implementing comprehensive ESG strategies that align with organizational values and driving positive change gave her a deep insight into the challenges companies and organizations face in keeping up with ESG strategy development, disclosure and reporting requirements. Her successes include: achieving corporate carbon neutrality for a Fortune 1000 company, advancing sustainable sourcing including digitization for a $7 Billion Fashion conglomerate, cultivating employee engagement and stakeholder relationships for a Fortune 100 company and more. She has won awards for leadership, helped companies get standing on annual lists of “Best Workplace…” and “Best in Diversity…” and won an ARC 100 award for annual reporting.

Stacey Jewell:
Stacey is a first-generation college graduate and a 2nd year part-time student at Bard MBA in Sustainability, with a focus on Impact Finance. She is ignited by issues surrounding affordability and inspired by place based capital allocation and investments that make direct impact to communities. She’s held positions as an ESG Consultant, Capital Ecosystems Analyst, and just completed her year-long project for Bard’s NYC Lab with Dirt Capital Partners as a Sustainable Finance consultant. She most recently held a position as a Senior Manager at Bright Power on the National team where she worked to maximize the financial and environmental performance of real estate portfolios. Stacey is a 2024 EDF Climate Corp Fellow who is working with Rewiring America on a project to determine the best financing mechanisms that reach low income households in light of the recent $2 Billion award to the Power Forward Communities coalition through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.