The Center for Responsible Business is thrilled to be adding two new instructors to lead our human rights and sustainability consulting curriculum. At Haas, the next generation of business leaders builds a robust understanding of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The courses taught by our two new instructors underscore the commitment of Berkeley Haas and the CRB to making world-class thought leadership and tangible experiences available to both MBA and Undergraduate students alike. 

The first of these courses offered in the Fall semester is new, UGBA 192T: Business and Labor Rights in Global Supply Chains, and is taught by Dr. Sanchita Banerjee Saxena.

Dr. Sanchita Banerjee Saxena is an administrator, author, researcher, consultant, and lecturer with a focus on international development and policy making. Dr. Saxena received her Ph.D. in Political Science (focus on Comparative Political Economy) from UCLA in 2002.

Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies (ISAS) at UC Berkeley where she is responsible for spearheading new research initiatives, developing programmatic activities, securing funding opportunities through grants, individual, and corporate donors, establishing internal and external partnerships, administering fellowships, disseminating research through articles and reports, overseeing the Institute’s long term strategy, and providing the administrative leadership for the day-to-day operations of the Institute. Dr. Saxena also serves as the Director of the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies where she is spearheading collaborations for faculty and students between UC Berkeley and universities, private companies, NGOs, and research organizations in Bangladesh.

Dr. Saxena is the editor of Labor, Global Supply Chains, and the Garment Industry in South Asia: Bangladesh after Rana Plaza (2019, Routledge) and author of Made in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka: The Labor Behind the Global Garment and Textiles Industries (2014, Cambria Press). She has also published several policy and conference reports on policy reforms, urbanization, and governance and democracy.

Dr. Saxena has given invited lectures at several universities and institutions, including Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, the London School of Economics, the United States International Trade Commission, the Center for Global Development, the National University of Singapore and the United Nations in Geneva. Her commentaries have been featured in the New York Times, Economic and Political Weekly, Thomson Reuters, The Daily Star, and aired on Voice of America, LinkTV, KQED World, and KPFA.

Dr. Saxena was a practitioner resident at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Italy during the summer of 2016. In the summers of 2010 and 2014, she was a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the ISAS, she was the Assistant Director of Economic Programs at the Asia Foundation, where she was responsible for implementing economic programs in 18 countries throughout Asia.

Dr. Saxena has taught courses in Political Economy, Comparative Politics, The Politics of Developing Countries, Doing Business in India, and the Politics of Economic Reform in Asia and Latin America at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the University of San Francisco. She is a trustee of the American Institute of Indian Studies, the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, and the American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies. Dr. Saxena was formerly on the advisory council for Human Rights Watch, SF and on the board of the Center for the Pacific Rim at the University of San Francisco and LinkAsia. She currently serves on the BRAC USA Advisory Council and as Global Faculty at the Center for Asian Health Research and Education (CARE), Stanford University.

Dr. Saxena’s second book Labor, Global Supply Chains, and the Garment Industry in South Asia: Bangladesh after Rana Plaza (Routledge, 2019) is predominantly the backbone for the class curriculum. The collapse of the Rana Plaza building in 2013 highlighted issues of worker safety in supply chains and from there, in discussions with colleagues, Dr. Saxena concluded that a class to emphasize the vitality of supply chain efficacy and corporate social responsibility was long overdue. She hopes students will envisage from this academic experience a profound awareness of labor violations  dampening global supply chains as well as the role of corporations in enacting change. Hopefully, by embedding this awareness into the business school curriculum, the next generation will be impassioned and empowered to reform existing corporate infrastructure. 

Dr. Saxena has been an integral part of the UC Berkeley campus community since 2007 when she was appointed as the Executive Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies. She is eager to expand her academic scope into the Haas School as she views it as a hub for progressive leadership and is eager to educate the next generation on the dire need for authentic supply chain management. 

The Defining Leadership Principle that most resonates with her is Beyond Yourself. UGBA 192T is propagated on the idea that situations, both good and bad, extend far beyond an individual’s capabilities. Always keeping the broader perspective in mind and seeking to enact change at the global  level, she holds, is what will create a just and equitable future.  

After spending the past year or so developing the course material, the announcement of remote instruction came to Dr. Saxena, like many of us, as a disappointment. However, she refuses to let Zoom University flatten the amplitude and impact of her course. She’s dedicated copious time carefully planning the class to ensure it is engaging and compelling, despite being online. Thought-provoking questions will incentivise participation while a multitude of guest speakers will have students rapt with tangible experience. Though it is admittedly not the ideal method of leading a class, Dr. Saxena is optimistic that the learning experience will be impactful and worthwhile. 

Finally, a comment on the current global turbulence. There are a plethora of ways COVID-19 has shaped and will continue to shape the world; Dr. Saxena acknowledges this pandemic from a supply chain standpoint. She emphasizes how this fiasco has unsheathed the absence of necessary safeguards for workers in supply chain management and expands to express how troubling the impact is on so many lives. It’s important now more than ever to think beyond ourselves and strive for a more brilliant future. The first step, she contends, in achieving a brighter future is knowledge of the situation coupled by active improvement. Her class is of pinnacle importance to fortifying protection for participants in the world’s supply chain from catastrophe in the future. 

The second of these courses is UGBA 192P: Sustainable Business Consulting Projects taught by Debbie Krackeler and Glen Low. We sat down with Krackeler to hear more about this invigoration to the course catalogue.

Debbie Krackeler is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) expert with over twenty years of experience advising companies on integrating sustainability into daily business decision-making. Her key area of expertise is sustainable supply chains, and she has been pivotal in initiatives imagining the next generation of supply chain practices.

While the majority of her work has been with consumer products and food/agriculture companies, she has also worked with companies in the pharmaceutical, automotive, and information technology sectors. Clients have included Deckers Outdoor Company, Fair Trade USA, Ford Motor Company, Gap Inc, JC Penney, Kraft Foods, Levi Strauss & Company, McDonald’s, ModCloth, Nordstrom, Novartis, Proctor & Gamble, REI, Starbucks, UNICEF, Wal-Mart, and Walt Disney Company.

Krackeler’s work in the field of responsible supply chains is extensive. She has advised companies on the development of their overarching ethical sourcing programs and strategies, as well as specific aspects of their programs including supplier development, effective remediation, worker empowerment, and topical challenges such as freedom of association, working hours and discrimination. She has conducted intensive research on the living wage and metrics for measuring workers’ basic needs. She developed the content for and conducted supplier trainings in over fifteen countries in Asia and Latin America. She has facilitated a number of Working Groups focusing on topics ranging from transparency in the wool supply chain to working conditions in the agriculture supply chain. She also contributed to a comprehensive study on the effectiveness of supply chain policies in the apparel and agriculture sectors for the World Bank. 

For the past twelve years Krackeler has been working as an independent CSR consultant. During her nine-year tenure with Business for Social Responsibility, Krackeler served as their Director of Consumer Products and Director of Human Rights. Prior to joining BSR, Krackeler worked at Levi Strauss & Company in the Government Affairs department, focusing on labor rights for their global supply chain. She also served as the Deputy Director for the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable, and worked for Speaker of the US House of Representatives Tom Foley for three years. Krackeler earned a Masters in Public Policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School and a BA from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. Krackeler lives with her family in Lafayette, California and continues to be politically active while coaching her daughter’s basketball team. 

The material for this class pulls from Krackeler’s 20+ years of expertise as a full-time sustainability consultant. She described how she and Low will give learners the optimal balance as her verse is more business-centric whereas Low’s emphasis is more environment-heavy. The class will engage primarily in a flipped classroom format with thought provoking discussions as the spine. In addition to these discussions, students will work with a client company on a live consulting project throughout the semester. To underpin the discussions and the hands-on learning, many of the sessions will feature a guest lecturer to impart the social, environmental, and public policy aspects of Corporate Social Responsibility. While the class will be taught remotely, Professors Krackeler and Low have interrogated the vast ways of using Zoom to their advantage and still anticipate the class to be captivating and impressive. 

From this comprehensive academic experience, Krackeler is expecting students to gain an authentic, practical assessment of sustainable consulting. Due to the dynamic, immersive class structure, students have the opportunity to learn by doing. They’ll be enlightened by guest lecturers about environmental justice issues and will be given the opportunity to apply the awareness with their current corporate client. 

Embedding this catalytic course into business school curriculum is a manifestation of Krackeler’s commitment to creating a more just and equitable future. It’s imperative, she holds, to weave CSR into the fabric of business school so that it sculpts the pillars of every modern company. She is optimistic that the next generation of business leaders will emerge into the workforce awakened and filled with integrity.  

Since graduating from the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy in 1998, Krackeler has been a proud alumni of Cal and has kept a watchful eye on the work of the Center for Responsible Business. She views the CRB as a hub where her two academic passions, business and sustainability, seamlessly coalesce. Her enthusiasm to instruct this course is contagious and her drive to foster hope is steadfast; she looks to rising leaders as a way to propel this vision.  

The Haas Defining Leadership Principle Krackeler aligns with most is Students Always. After high school she enrolled as an exchange student in Spain. The foreign learning experience redefined her metrics of success, namely humility and curiosity. She attributes this eye-opening exchange year as the genesis of her passion for politics and for constantly seeking to accrue fresh perspectives from others. 

This pivotal moment in global history Krackeler defines as a “policy window.” The pandemic and the modern Civil Rights Movement have created the space for individuals and corporations to peer inside and genuinely assess best practices. Now, if ever, is the time to stand for reform and advocate for integrity. She reiterates the pinnacle importance of integrating CSR and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into the modern workforce in order to realize the future we strive for. 

Visit our website to more about these courses and explore our full curriculum.

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