HSIF: Creating Sustainable Accounting Standards – Sonya Hetrick

This is the third post in our Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) series.

“We all know that internships are incredibly important in helping us decide the types of organizations we want to work for beyond our time here at Haas,” says Berkeley-Haas MBAA VP of Community and leader of the Haas Social Impact Fund (HSIF) fundraising and award process, Robbie Heath. “Having some extra money to cover expenses during the summer can help our classmates focus more on preparing for that future.” Through the HSIF, select students interested in social sector internships are awarded fellowships granting financial assistance, mostly funded by current Haas MBA students who divert a small part of their summer salaries to support their classmates. This past summer, Sonya Hetrick (MBA16) was an HSIF Fellow working at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Sonya Hetrick and her fellow SASBees with the SASB gong, which is rung to celebrate accomplishments.

Sonya Hetrick and her fellow SASBees with the SASB gong, which is rung to celebrate accomplishments.

SASB is a non-profit organization developing industry-specific sustainability standards for publicly traded companies to use in their SEC filings. Sonya saw that their culture aligns well with all four of Haas’s guiding principles, particularly that they are an organization that has Confidence without Attitude—confident in their research and in the organization’s mission, yet open to input from a wide variety of stakeholders in order to develop the best possible standards.

With an interest in socially responsible investing and impact investing, Sonya has worked with a variety of organizations striving to meet these goals. She noticed that “one of the main challenges for investors looking to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria into their decision-making process is the lack of comparable, decision-useful, and cost-effective data. SASB is working to fill this market need.”

Sonya’s project was to research sustainability issues in the infrastructure sector, mainly for Engineering & Construction Services companies and Home Builders companies: “This involved understanding the industries, reviewing feedback on the proposed standards, consulting with experts, and identifying the most important sustainability risks and opportunities for companies. My work helped inform the metrics and standards that SASB will put forth during the upcoming 90-day public comments period.”

Find out more about how to get involved in the Haas Social Impact Fund.

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