By Silvia Schmid
William McDonough at the Sustainable Brands Conference “From Revolution to Renaissance” in San Diego (Courtesy of Sustainable Brands)
Sustainable Brands’ 2013 Conference “From Revolution to Renaissance” took place this past week in San Diego, bringing together hundreds of professionals and thought leaders in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Sustainable Brands is a supporting member of the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (Wharton IGEL).
Though many topics were addressed, three of the most salient themes from the conference were:
- Transitioning towards transparency and full disclosure
- Maintaining initial values while navigating through big data
- Changing perspectives on sustainability
Posted in business sustainability, CSR, events, Sustainability, Wharton IGEL
Tagged business, corporate sustainability, environment, leadership, management, metrics, supply chain management, Wharton
by Silvia Schmid
Last week’s conference “Building Energy Efficiency: Seeking Strategies that Work” offered the opportunity to discuss the many barriers to advancements in energy efficiency beyond current standards. The event was cohosted by the Wharton Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL), the Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center, in partnership with the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub and sponsored by SAP. Speakers and panelists provided valuable insights on the current status of energy efficiency in buildings, addressing topics ranging from consumption measurement and increased transparency, to some of the psychological challenges inherent in adopting more energy efficient behavior. The common message throughout the day was how much remains to be done to make energy efficiency a mainstream priority.
Posted in energy, energy efficiency, events, IGEL Conferences, reduce, resource use, Sustainability, Wharton, Wharton IGEL
Tagged business, climate change, corporate sustainability, energy, resource use, Spring 2013, sustainability, Wharton
by Yixiu Zheng*
I started working on this project last semester, while taking a course in environmental economics.
As a subfield of economics, environmental economics draws on both microeconomics and macroeconomics[i], but it also has unique concepts of its own. I have seen that students who have never studied economics before can find terms like “property rights” and “marginal abatement cost” overwhelming. While scholars of economics often use historical data and experiments, environmental economics is a relatively recent discipline, developed first in 1950s in the U.S.[ii] There aren’t many experiments to build upon; for instance, the water rights trade doesn’t have a large scope of application, except for some arid areas like California and Australia. So how are students supposed to fully understand and apply these concepts in the real world?
I learn best through direct experience. This type of teaching doesn’t seem boring to me. And in fact, it is suggested that people do have a better memory when they put teachings into practice, for example, by trying to cook a meal rather than just reading its recipe. This is why I want to create a game about environmental economics. Continue reading
Posted in business sustainability, economics, student projects, students, Sustainability, water, Wharton IGEL
Tagged business, energy, environment, IGEL, leadership, Spring 2013, students, water
by Silvia Schmid
Jami Leveen, Director of Marketing and Environmental Stewardship, ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment
Aside from its benefits to society, business sustainability has become valuable in its own right for those enterprises moving to achieve it properly – and market it honestly. As part of their joint seminar series, Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership and the Institute of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania invited Jami Leveen, Director of Marketing and Environmental Stewardship for ARAMARK’s Sports & Entertainment division, to speak about the company’s sustainability practices.
Due to their celebrity, professional athletes are often trendsetters in a variety of settings from fashion to films. But a growing green trend has seen athletes in the US –and their sporting facilities– emerging as leaders also in environmental stewardship. Sporting events, which, aside from the games themselves, are perhaps best characterized by massive consumption and waste, are opportune spots to communicate a message of environmental sustainability. The large audience, and the tendency for many fans to imitate their favorite players, can strongly influence behavior inside and outside the stadium. In the words of Ms. Leveen: if Derek Jeter tells his fans to recycle, there is a much better chance they will spend those extra 1.2 seconds choosing the right bin. But the impact can be felt beyond simply the behavior of fans. The purchasing power of sports venues also puts pressure on vendors and the rest of the supply chain. Continue reading
Posted in business sustainability, CSR, reduce, Sustainability, sustainability in sports, Wharton IGEL
Tagged business, corporate sustainability, environment, leadership, management, Spring 2013, sustainability
Today, April 26th 2012, eight students from the University of Pennsylvania are reporting live from the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership’s Fifth Annual Conference-Workshop entitled Greening the Supply Chain: Best Business Practices and Future Trends held at Huntsman Hall. The line-up of speakers includes representatives from the public and private sector. The students are part of the first accredited Oikos chapter in North America (just announced yesterday!).
Stay tuned as the student reporters publish posts that cover the discussions held at the Conference. They have also done in-depth interviews with keynote speakers and industry leaders that will be available shortly.
Follow the conversation on Twitter through #IGEL, @WhartonIGEL and @oikosPenn!
One of the initiatives that IGEL has been building is an Executive Education program in sustainability. Thanks to the generous support of SAP, this program, Business Sustainability Leadership, launches in June. We are excited to harness the cutting-edge teaching of Wharton’s premier Aresty Institute of Executive Education to help solve issues in business and the environment. Sustainability requires interdisciplinary and cross-functional thinking, strategic planning and leadership – all of which are components of leading Executive Education programs here at Wharton. Business Sustainability Leadership is June 12-14, 2012 in Wharton’s San Francisco Campus. Registration is open now – join peers and mentors in sharing best practices and learning new skills and strategy from leading Wharton professors. Follow the link below to find out more about the program and to register.