Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) supported DePaul University’s 2017 Annual Corporate Sustainability Conference on May 30, 2017, that brought together corporate leaders and social entrepreneurs to share successes and lessons learned. Facilitated by CSE President, Adjunct Professor of Sustainability at DePaul Nikos Avlonas, this one-day conference split the topic of sustainability in business in two. The first session addressed “Sustainability Success Stories from Corporations”. The second was broken into workshops covering: gaining a competitive advantage, starting-up, and for-profits with a social purpose.
Corporations tackle problems reaching far beyond the boardroom. Each industry has unique challenges. As diverse as they maybe, ranging in many fields, disciplines and countries, they have the same mission and goal – leveraging the business at hand to make a better world.
United Airlines representative Aaron Robinson, Senior Manager of Environment Strategy, shed light on their Eco-Skies commitment to reduce United’s footprint in the air, on the ground and at their facilities. Marco Ugarte, Sustainability Manager, MillerCoors, discussed their focus on making a positive impact on the social, environmental and economic issues that affect business, employees and stakeholders, challenging themselves to build on their heritage. Noel Paul, Global Leader, Elanco Corporate Responsibility, addressed the integrated issues of sustainability, animal welfare and food security. Joseph Maguire, MS, SFP, President of the Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities, highlighted the private property rights and sustainability responsibilities faced by the real estate industry. Social entrepreneur Ann Rohmber, Executive Director ofSolidarity Bridge, talked on “Creating an Enterprise for Good”, and Pat Hughes, Founder & CEO, Inclusion Solutions, focused on removing barriers between government and business communities to increase accessibility for everyone.
A special workshop focused on “How to apply sustainability in a startup and gain competitive advantage,” led by Nikos Avlonas, Adjunct Professor, DePaul University, and co-author of the bestseller Practical Sustainability Strategies (Wiley, 2014). Whether start-up or corporation, it is no longer acceptable to merely pursue a single bottom line. People, profit, planet is more than mantra – it is mission. When many global corporations started, the concept of sustainability did not exist. Now, many businesses start as social enterprises led by entrepreneurs with strong imperatives to grow a business that benefits the world. The challenge is knowing what to address and how.
The conference at DePaul University was organized by the Department of Management and the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center with the support of CSE. DePaul’s generous contribution made the conference free for participants (see pictures) with this year’s focus on taking the lessons from established corporations into the realm of the start-up.
About DePaul University Coleman Entrepreneurship Center: The Center was established in 2003 with support from The Coleman Foundation to encourage the study and successful practice of entrepreneurship in its connection to a community of practicing entrepreneurs.
About the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence: The CSE Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Program includes a module on the “Role of the Sustainability Practitioner and Future Trends”, providing foundational knowledge needed by both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. The next U.S. training in is in New York City, September 28-29. Visit the website for other trainings around the world or for online courses offered by the Sustainability Academy.