BOONE — Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business held its first Business for Good event at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum Aug. 21.
The event was developed by Heather Norris, acting dean of the Walker College of Business, and Jim Westerman, director of sustainable business, in partnership with a sustainable business faculty committee representing each business discipline at Appalachian. The event provided a venue to train educators on sustainable business practices.
Key invited community members and selected students also attended the event, which hosted high-profile, nationally recognized sustainable business leaders who shared experiences from their work around sustainability as well as philosophies and examples from their respective companies surrounding the implementation of sustainable business practices.
Leith Sharp, director of executive education for sustainability at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, provided insights on change leadership and organizational structure changes necessary to implement innovative ideas.
Erin Meezan, vice president of sustainability at modular carpet company Interface, told how her organization had significantly lowered its carbon footprint, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste to landfill and water intake over the last decade through a dedication to sustainable business practices.
The speakers also shared how individuals and educators can make sustainability applicable in their own careers.
Heather Van Dusen, senior associate at B Lab, spoke on the topic “People Using Business as a Force for Good: B Corps, the B Impact Assessment, and Bringing the Movement to Business Education.”
“B Corps are leading a global movement of people using business as a force for good,” she explained. “All companies should compete to be not only the best in the world, but also to be the best for the world.”
The afternoon featured video conference sessions with John Fullerton, founder and president of Capital Institute and former managing director of J.P. Morgan, and Kim Jordan, CEO of New Belgium Brewing Co.
Each speaker touched on how his or her company has embraced sustainable business practices, offered insights on how other businesses can join the movement and shared the positive outcomes sustainable business practices have on the world.
Leaders from locally owned businesses shared how they support the global and local community through sustainable business initiatives. Presenters included Lynn and Andy Mason, owners of Lost Province Brewing Co.; Renee Boughman, executive chief of F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Cafe; David Cuthbert, CEO for the non-profit Wine to Water, which provides aid and clean water to people in need around the world; and Appalachian Mountain Brewery CEO Sean Spiegelman, who explained how the brewery’s business model is built on sustainability, community and philanthropy.
“The day was a learning experience,” Westerman said. “What we heard from the speakers during the Business for Good event will serve as a strong foundation as we strive to build state-of-the-art sustainable business practices into our teaching, research and service at the Walker College of Business.”
The Walker College of Business is committed to advancing sustainable business practices that promote responsible management of economic, social and natural resources.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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