As businesses around the world become more and more engaged in sustainability, we are presented with an increasing range of interesting examples of their activities. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they complain about hearing only the same examples from the same companies—time and again.
In an attempt to reveal some new best practices, I asked a handful of faculty members from different universities to share their favorite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from the USA and Australia.
Dr. Scott R. Herriott, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Maharishi University of Management, USA
The Sky Factory, a custom ceiling company, has a very progressive system for management decision-making and for ownership. Meanwhile, The Tower Companies is big on green building, but they use a system of architecture that is what I would call “deep green.” They draw on Vedic architecture to create a built environment that places man in harmony with nature. Another example is the Global ID Group which todayoffers sustainability certification for products and companies from a beginning in the food safety industry.
Raintry Jean Salk, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Management, Dahl School of Business, Viterbo University, USA
I tend to tout organizations that have highly aspirational goals in place. Locally, there is a health care organization, Gundersen Lutheran, who espouses to be energy independent by 2014. They are on a diligent path to be off the grid and are well on their way. They have become a model for other health care organizations across the nation.
Cheryl Kernot, Director of Social Business, University of New South Wales, Australia
National Australia Bank (NAB) switched their procurement from lowest cost tea, coffee and chocolate to Fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate. Because theyserve 4,500,000 cups at their branches around Australia, this is an example of NAB driving a more deeply embedded corporate social impact. NABs purchase of Fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate from Fairtrade importers means that grower cooperatives in our near neighbourhood – such as East Timor and Papua New Guinea and as far afield as Latin America and Africa – can, through the Fairtrade premium, build clinics and schools in their communities. That is a much more embedded form of social impact than the older versions such as sponsorship of awards.