As businesses become more and more engaged in sustainability around the world, we are presented with an increasing range of examples of active companies. However, when I speak with students and faculty, they say that they often hear about the same examples from the same international companies over and over again.
In an attempt to share some new best practice examples, I asked a handful of faculty members from around the world about their favourite classroom examples of local companies that are actively involved in sustainability. Here are some examples from the USA, India and Australia.
Judy O’Neill, Associate Dean and Director of Admission, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, USA
Nike, Inc. supports sustainability in manufacturing and impact areas of waste, energy, climate, labour, chemistry, water and community. They are constantly looking for ways to drive “performance up and waste down.” Nike, Inc. is also committed to creating positive social change through the Nike Foundation and other engagements of social responsibility.
MercyCorps Northwest is a non-profit organisation located in Portland, Oregon. Its vision is that “everyone should have the opportunity to improve their life regardless of their background. By investing in those without ready access to resources, existing economic disparities will become more equitable and motivated, hard working individuals and families will have opportunities to break intergenerational cycles of poverty for good.” MercyCorps Northwest serves low-income populations by supporting entrepreneurship, small business development, community integration and transitions through microloans, classes, and counseling.
Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) is a non-partisan, membership based, non-profit organisation that works to support a healthy environment in Oregon. They work collaboratively with individuals, businesses, farmers, and elected officials to support and create innovative change. The OEC has created and implemented a unique “Emerging Leaders Board” of young professionals under the age of 40 who serve as an advisory board for the OEC.
Intel supports environmental, social and economic sustainability. Programmes include a pursuit of a conflict-free supply chain, designing products with the environment in mind, education and empowerment. Intel has been named the most philanthropic organisation in Oregon 5 times by the Portland Business Journal. The Portland Business Journal has also named the company the most admired large organisation in the state.
ITC TC is one of India’s foremost multi-business enterprises with a market capitalisation of US $45 billion and a turnover of US $7 billion. Under its CSR strategy, the company is engaged in affirmative action interventions such as skill building and vocational training to enhance employability and generate livelihoods for persons from disadvantaged sections of society.
Grundfos India is a 100% subsidiary of Grundfos – Denmark. Grundfos is a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology. Grundfos runs its business in a responsible and ever more sustainable way. We make products and solutions that help our customers save natural resources and reduce climate impact.
Belinda Gibbons, Faculty of Business, University of Wollongong, Australia
The Flagstaff Group is a social enterprise, applying market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose for the good of the community. Formed in 1966 to provide employment for people with a disability, today, the organisation is located in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions, employing over 350 people, of whom 275 are people with disabilities. The Group invests in skills development and training programmes to ensure that all employees are given opportunities to develop to their full potential.
Westpac’s vision commits to taking a long-term view on the issues that will impact future prosperity at a local and national level. An example of this is a 10-year contract with CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship programme to recruit at least 40 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander university student interns each year for the next decade. This is the largest commitment to the CareerTrackers programme by an Australian corporate. This initiative was part of the Group’s plans to create meaningful career opportunities for Indigenous Australians, as outlined in its 2014-17 Reconciliation Action Plan.
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