Case Study #7: Corporate Sustainability Leadership

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Organizational Challenge:

A state-wide not for profit with the mission of supporting businesses  focused on the "triple bottom line" – balancing social, environmental, and financial factors sought to identify a partner in higher education to design and deliver a professional development program for its member-base.


The Solution:

Leveraging the strengths of the non-profit organization as well as the University of New Hampshire’s strong reputation in Sustainability a three-day Institute in Corporate Sustainability was launched. Sustainability necessitates an interdisciplinary approach.  Faculty members from across campus are brought together with business practitioners to deliver modules on various topics such as: The Business Implications for Climate Change Trends, Emerging Models for Sustainable Businesses, and The Institute not only features business practitioners as instructors, but also live case studies of triple-bottom line corporations such as a plastics recycling firm and a national organic food production corporation. The learning is rich and directly applicable.

Participants who attend the Institute may also elect to complete a Capstone project in their workplace to receive the Certificate in Corporate Sustainability. This project occurs over a 6-month period after the Institute and is supported by mentors for each individual as well as  periodic events centered on networking as well as diving deeper in a specific content area.

The Results:

Participants who attended the Institute claimed that "almost every single component of the institute was relevant to the work that I am doing, literally, today."   "It’s been a fantastic experience. It has been a really great investment of time, the exposure to the different topics a very holistic approach to sustainability has been invaluable."

The capstone projects have yielded tremendous direct results. Projects have ranged widely based on organizational needs. At both a regional grocery store chain and a local hospital projects focused on waste reduction and increased recycling have saved thousands of pounds of garbage from entering the waste stream and have saved thousands of dollars in disposal fees. A global manufacturer of precision laser cutters mapped the sustainable supply chain from the supplier selection process, supplier management, and generated supplier sustainability metrics. In a medical laboratory company, a capstone project tied overall corporate strategic planning to sustainability guiding principles integrating these to  the business’ mission and vision as well as operations & metrics. Participants in the Certificate in Corporate Sustainability are creating sustainable change within their organizations.

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