25 May 2016

A Focus on Sustainability


Carl Ferenbach (MBA 1972)

Carl Ferenbach (MBA 1972), who enjoyed a remarkably successful career in the investment business, has spent much of the last decade focused on his passion for the environment. Channeling his energy, intelligence, and philanthropic dollars into causes that focus on improving the sustainability of our planet, Ferenbach believes that the best way to make progress in this arena is to work with—not against—business and government.

“The vast majority of the economy is private. It is markets that influence change,” observes Ferenbach, a longtime HBS donor who most recently directed his giving to support the Business and Environment Initiative. He is enthusiastic about “integrated reporting”, developed by HBS Professor of Management Practice Robert Eccles, combining an organization’s financial and nonfinancial performance—including environmental, social, and governance—into a single report.

“For the last 40 years, the mantra has been return on invested capital. While this remains critical, looking ahead, we need to institutionalize the measurement of environmental impact,” says Ferenbach, who also praises HBS faculty members Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor; Forest Reinhardt, John D. Black Professor; and Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, for their work that furthers the cause.

Ferenbach is one of five HBS graduates who founded Berkshire Partners, a manager of private equity funds that has invested in more than 100 middle-market companies and currently has $11 billion under management. Since officially retiring in 2012, he now oversees a family office that focuses primarily on environmental and educational organizations. His multipronged approach has included serving as chair of the Environmental Defense Fund and creating a Vermont fund that promotes clean and efficient energy, strategic land use, and sustainable agriculture.

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1972, Section B

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