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Experts Discuss Businesses’ Role In Environmental Sustainability

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The Dominican community needs to invest more fully in an effort to protect the environment, three speakers urged students and faculty who attended a Sept. 20 symposium.

The three speakers – Andrew J. Hoffman, Ph. D., professor of sustainable enterprise at University of Michigan; Thomas W. Hesterberg, Ph. D., director of product stewardship, sustainability and environmental health at Navistar International Corp.; and Manish Shah, the founder of Fos Biofuels – described the current status of the relationship between business and the world at Brennan School of Business’s Center for Global Peace through Commerce’s Global Corporate Sustainability Strategies Symposium.

Hoffman, the keynote speaker, stated it is in the best interest of companies to consider becoming more environmentally friendly because it may increase profits, businesses are subject to government regulations and such “green” status enhances a corporation’s reputation.

“It’s also important to make any environmental changes fit company culture,” Hoffman said. “Senior leadership is critical…they need to make it easy and attractive for employees to follow.”

Shah and Hoffman urge students to take action. “It’s critical that students build their own awareness and baseline knowledge of the major issues. Take your own action; don’t wait for others,” Shah said. He suggested students across the nation encourage initiatives such as having an organic herb garden on campus, recyclingand composting.

Hoffman echoed these sentiments. “Start to pay more attention and vote. Although it sounds harsh, politicians don’t listen to youth because youth don’t vote,” he said.

One hundred forty-five people registered for the event, according to Rebecca Davis Mathias, Ph. D., director of the Center for Global Peace through Commerce.

Faustina Halsinki, a junior, attended the conference and said she learned a lot from it. “I thought the presenters were really good and informative…it’s nice to see that people in the corporate world are looking for alternatives to help the environment and make a difference,” she said.

Hoffman’s speech and the three speakers’ panel discussion have been recorded and posted on YouTube for those who did not have the chance to attend.

Brennan School of Business is having an Ethics and Leadership Lecture, its next major event, Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at University Club of Chicago. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, will be the speaker. For more information, go to www.dom.edu/bsb/news/.

– Mary Stroka, Editor-in-Chief

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