Drinking wine at state dinners as part of the US mission to the UN in Geneva was a life-changing event for Sandra Taylor. It drove her and her European colleagues to explore nearby wine country in Italy and France and ignited a lifelong passion for the agricultural principals around winemaking.
Ultimately, Taylor earned an MBA in winemaking—yes, winemaking—in Bordeaux.
By virtue of luck and fate, she was recruited by Starbucks. Working directly for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Taylor promoted the idea that sustainability was a critical part of their business. Along the way, she developed a revolutionary framework that has provided the underpinnings for much of the sustainability reporting that occurs in the industry today.
One of the key ideas in this new framework was the concept of a triple bottom line that added economic viability to environmental and social responsibility. Taylor explains, “If business isn’t successful, then companies won’t be able to do anything to help the environment or social justice.”
Taylor founded Sustainable Business International to help companies develop sustainability strategies aligned with their products, geographies, and main lines of business, as well as issues that are material to their distinct supply chains. Projects are diverse and range from helping the wine industry in Virginia adopt sustainable practices to helping agricultural firms incorporate sustainable, organic, and biodynamic processes in their businesses and supply chains.
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Photo credit: Ghetty Images Anton Petrus