Six high school seniors have taken the concept of Environmental, Social and Governance practices and have launched a startup to educate entrepreneurs on the concept.
Sresth Gupta, a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, met Henry Eisenhardt and Ryan Wu, from Washington State, Jonathan Chiu, from Boston, Eudora Chi, an international student from Taiwan studying in Michigan, and Shreya Tandon, from India, at the Leadership in Business World (LBW) program hosted by The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania during the summer.
LBW is an intensive summer program for a select group of rising seniors who want “an introduction to a top-notch undergraduate business education and the opportunity to hone their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. Since 1999, LBW has brought students from six continents and nearly every state to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,” according to the school’s website.
Sresth said he and his fellow peers were captivated by the concept of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), which are the standards that evaluate how advanced companies are with sustainability.
“Surprisingly, although ESG has been an emerging prominent concept in the business world, it remains relatively unknown, and sometimes even misunderstood or misinterpreted by the general public,” Sresth said. “As young entrepreneurs ourselves, we have all been through the many stages and inevitable struggles of establishing our own ventures. While working on our startups, we were all unaware of ESG and its practices, and so were our fellow entrepreneurs. It seemed to us [that] only major firms that generate significant revenue focus on ESG practices.”
To raise awareness, the high school seniors, led by Eudora, have launched ESGeneration to education and raise awareness for ESG practices to the entrepreneurs and everyone who is interested in learning about ESG.
“Our platform publishes various ESG-related articles every week and works with other small businesses to help them be more sustainable,” Sresth said. “Through ESGeneration, we wish to bring an impact to our community and inspire more individuals to join our journey of building a sustainable business world with fundamental ESG practices in all enterprises.”
The students write all the articles on their site. Some of them are based on research papers that some of the students have written while a vast majority are written after a lot of research from a variety of sources including the Environmental Protection Agency, newspapers like the New York Times and published research, Sresth said.
Since the high school students are all over the country, they meet every Sunday on Zoom in order to keep themselves on task and plan the future of their startup.
“Leadership in the Business World captivated all of us because of its focus on creating leaders built for the businesses of tomorrow,” Sresth said. “We learned extensively about the importance of Diversity Equity and Inclusion and the rising importance of ESG in our current business environment. Discussing such important social movements in a group of some of the most driven and intelligent kids from across the world was incredibly rewarding.”
The students shared their thoughts on starting the startup.
Sresth values sustainability and social responsibility and is passionate about understanding and improving how businesses implement these values in their operations.
“I am incredibly excited to be working on this startup because it allows me to make a lasting impact on my local community and work towards a better future,” he said.
Eudora is passionate about exploring the intersection between entrepreneurship, accounting, and sustainability.
“I founded this initiative with five other Leadership in the Business World attendees who are all captivated by the concept of ESG. I love working with everyone and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve with our vision and effort,” she said.
Henry finds his passion in the crossroads of economics, consulting, and environmental sustainability.
“Working with local businesses is a passion of mine and I am incredibly excited to help these businesses be more sustainable, something they usually struggle with,” he said.
Shreya is passionate about exploring the intersection of sustainability and business.
“I find it amazing that I can take my research and put it into action through this startup,” she said.
Ryan is passionate about environmental sustainability and social improvement.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far and look forward to making a larger positive impact on society,” he said.
Jonathan is passionate about bringing the creativity of entrepreneurship into environmental and sustainability initiatives.
“I love the experience working with such a fantastic team that shares my visions and aspirations to succeed. I have real hope that what we create can have a lasting positive impact,” he said.
Sresth said the feedback they have received so far “has been great and incredibly encouraging considering how early we are in the process of starting this endeavor.”
“A lot of local businesses have shown incredible interest and we are currently working on building an advisory board full of industry professionals from companies like Nike and Deloitte,” Sresth said. “We look forward to working with more small businesses in our local communities and expanding our impact in the coming months.”
To learn more about ESGeneration visit www.esgeneration.org.