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    Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) supported DePaul University’s 2017 Annual Corporate Sustainability Conference, CSE | sustainability,CSR, CR, training 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 of Solidarity 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.

    By Rosalinda Sanquiche

     How long can we make this list?

    • Improve efficiencies
    • Increase productivity
    • Build public appeal
    • Increase shareholder value
    • Aid in employee recruitment
    • Increase employee satisfaction and retention
    • Promote team building
    • Improve quality of work
    • Innovate
    • Lower business risk
    • Save labor
    • Save money
    • Increase competitive edge
    • Save time and cost on supervision
    • Create a marketing advantage
    • Give back to the community

    Want to take a huge step toward sustainability?  Improve your workforce?  Strengthen a community? Ensure sustainable profits?

    Sustainability training such as the foundation course offered by the Sustainability Academy offers these benefits and more.  Training is of special interest to professionals who want to improve their skills and update their knowledge in Corporate Social Responsibility with practical information on the business case for sustainability; the importance of stakeholder engagement; the use of standards and guidelines to design and

    implement successful sustainability strategies organization-wide.  Without training, sustainability is more a vision than a goal.  Sustainability is not a vague term – it is a tangible process which can be taught and implemented to improve corporations and communities.

    The ROI on training is indisputable:

    Increased public appeal helps increase market share.  A Nielsen survey in 2015 found that 72% of Millennials “are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact.”

    More customers lead to greater shareholder value.  The American Society for Training and Development found that an increase of $680 in a company’s training expenditures per employee generates nearly a 6 percent improvement in shareholder return. Researchers found that firms investing the most in training and development yielded a return 45 percent higher than the market average when compared to the  S&P 500 for the same period, along with higher profit margins and higher income per employee.

    Increasing efficiencies is a profitable and “low-hanging” fruit.  After training, an HSBC “Climate Champion” noticed that computers left on overnight were a huge energy drain.  The company implemented software to automatically shut down computers along with an awareness program  which together saved 4 million kilowatts per year of electricity and about 900 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which shaved $332,000 on energy bills.

    Increasing productivity through better morale, professional development and team building makes for more satisfied employees.  Research has found that a 2-percent increase in productivity can net a 100 percent return on investment in training (CompTIA and Prometric).  For every dollar spent on training, Motorola found  nearly a 30 percent gain in productivity over three years.  Motorola training also reduced costs by over $3 billion and increased profits by 47 percent.

    Training also leads to better retention as Louis Harris and Associates found, showing that 41% of employees without training opportunities plan to leave in one year versus only 12% of those who felt they had excellent training opportunities.  An AON survey found that employees rank “opportunities for personal growth” ahead of salary!

    According to Krista Badiane at the National Environmental Education Foundation, a program of the EPA, “There seems to be a huge growth of interest among companies to not just keep the environmental initiatives within a subset of employees, but to make it a pervasive part of the corporate culture.”  Companies are looking for ways to bring this training in-house to their employees and out into the community as part of their social commitment and philanthropy.

    The Sustainability Academy offers an online option that is affordable and efficient.  Many companies want to educate local communities beyond their staff.  With the Sustainability Academy, companies can co-brand the trainings to meet organizational needs, increasing public appeal and improving lives for the long-term.  They can tailor the offering specific to their needs, for example, providing education on sustainability in Supply Chains to key suppliers.  The ROI from sustainability education provided by the Sustainability Academy is tangible.  After the certified foundation course, participants receive a diploma as a sustainability practitioner which enhances their professional development.

    Whether as a philanthropic effort or company enhancement, there needs to be a critical mass of those who understand sustainability and all its components.  Only then can we all benefit from increased productivity, increased morale and improving our carbon footprint.  The Sustainability Academy has set the ambitious goal of generating this critical mass by training 100,000 sustainability practitioners by 2020!

    Sponsor a Sustainability Academy cohort and let’s join forces for our common good!!


    Sustainability Academy

    [email protected]

    Just as the benefits of Corporate Sustainability initiatives go beyond simply doing “what’s right” or saving money, worldwide colleges and universities are finding wide-ranging benefits from making sustainability core to their school brand.

    In the same way that companies have their products and services to watch over for ways to implement Sustainability, academic institutions around the world should create the best student experience and classes on Sustainability and seek ways to improve waste management around the campus and football fields.

    Research shows that it is mainly universities in the USA which have taken the initiative to build Green Buildings and incorporate solar panels and various waste management programs (e.g how waste is handled in Football games and events, water systems, recycling bins).

    For instance, The University of Notre Dame in Paris already has enough student volunteers to handle recycling duties for its football games this year, showing just how many students want to be involved.

    Arizona State University in the US, meanwhile, has attracted sustainability-minded students with its environmental commitments and zero waste goals as well as its educational offerings.

    While a school can implement any number of sustainability projects, it will want to know the impact of those efforts, and what kind of effect they’re having on the school’s branding. Colleges and universities can determine the brand value of sustainability by looking at national recognition they receive from their CSR actions, recruiting advantages, campus quality of life, increased productivity, student and faculty retention, lower carbon emissions, reduced operational costs and environmental compliance.

    Considering the impact and influence of Sustainability globally, all colleges and universities would find clear practical benefits in implementing CSR strategies in their campuses. Furthermore, they would provide a great example for the rest of the world and also create a better place for future generations and more energy efficient facilities for them with all technological advancements that are provided today.

    CSE is committed to provide the same example and will continue to train and certify professionals who will consequently improve their CSR performance leading to clear benefits not only for their own organisations but also for society as a whole.

    Upcoming training locations and dates:

    Advanced IEMA Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training in Abu Dhabi, 12th October 2014

    GRI (G4) Training on Sustainability Reporting, Qatar, 15th October 2014

    IEMA Certified Carbon Strategy Training in London, 21st October 2014

    Advanced IEMA Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training in London, 23rd October 2014

    Source: GreenBiz.comNorthland College