Christine Bader is a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, where she co-teaches a course on Human Rights and Business. She is also a Human Rights Advisor to BSR.
After earning her M.B.A. from Yale in 2000, Christine joined BP and proceeded to work in Indonesia, China, and the U.K., managing the social impacts of some of the company’s largest projects in the developing world. In 2006 she created a part-time pro bono role as Advisor to the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for business and human rights, a role she took up full-time in 2008 until the U.N. mandate ended in 2011.
Christine has also served as a corps member with City Year, a special assistant to the New York City Mayor’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor, and a Teaching Fellow in Community Service at Phillips Academy Andover. She is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
She serves on the boards of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, named one of the world’s best reference websites by the American Library Association; The OpEd Project, an initiative to broaden the range of voices in public discourse; and the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, where she is also a nonresident senior fellow.
Christine was named to the 2012-13 class of the Donaldson Fellows Program, which recognizes Yale School of Management graduates “whose personal and professional accomplishments embody the school’s mission to educate leaders for business and society.”
Christine has published numerous op-eds and articles and given talks to conferences, companies, and universities around the world, including a TEDx talk entitled “Manifesto for the Corporate Idealist.”
Christine played squash and rugby at Amherst College and competed in the 2002 World Ultimate Frisbee Club Championships, but now finds her athletic glory jogging along Manhattan’s Hudson River. She lives in her native New York City with her husband, son, and daughter.
How did you first get involved in the green industry?
I’ve always been interested in how the world works; as I worked in government and nonprofits in the years after college, it occurred to me that the private sector was shaping the conditions that I was reacting to in my other jobs. I realized I wanted to learn more about business, so went to get my M.B.A. The rest is history!
What interests you most about being green?
What interests me most about being green is that it’s still interesting! Why isn’t “green business” redundant?
What is your biggest “green” pet peeve?
Companies that think that sending employees out in matching T-shirts to paint a wall for five hours a year meets their green responsibilities.
What green trend is most exciting to you or your industry?
The emergence of human rights as a way to talk about corporate responsibilities is definitely a trend to watch. The language of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be foreign to businesspeople at first, but it’s actually very helpful: it’s a list of the 30 rights and freedoms agreed by the international community over 60 years ago that no one, including business, can violate. Having worked in a company full of engineers, I know that lists are very helpful!
September 29, 2014
Christine Bader's new book examines the state of corporate safety, ethics and sustainability work, and the skewed idealism within.