Your degree may be in finance, accounting or marketing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an eye on sustainability. Just ask 2nd year MBA candidate, Matt Boerke. During his summer internship, Boerke had the chance to investigate how the University of Utah could improve its purchasing practices while being environmentally sustainable.
Boerke says, “You can make your environmental difference no matter what position you hold in the company.” He goes on to say, “It’s a matter of changing the organizational culture and behavior and changing the way people use even the simplest of things such as paper.” He lives by the motto, Doing Well by Doing Good.
Boerke had the opportunity to work with the Office of Sustainability through an internship funded by the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative. His tasks were to benchmark where the university stands and provide recommendations to improve its STARS (Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) rankings from Bronze, which they received in 2011. He looked at three key areas: paper, cleaning products and computers. He’s presented his findings to key decision makers and some have already started to implement the recommendations.
When you ask Boerke why he decided to take on sustainability issues, he says it goes back to a rainforest ecology class he took as an undergraduate. He says, “I was amazed at the number of trees being torn down every day.” He says he’s always been conservative, but seeing the waste in the world he knew he had to do what he could to make a difference.
Boerke adds, “Business is good. There are ways to do well in business that don’t have a negative effect on people or the environment.” Boerke has become creative in finding ways to fit sustainability into his degree. For example he takes on extracurricular activities such as being a Board Fellow with Recycle Utah. The Board Fellow program provides students with practical, hands-on experience working with local non-profits. He’s also active with Net Impact, an international organization that works with businesses to increase awareness of corporate social responsibility and sustainability in business planning and decision-making. This year, the club is applying for a SCIF (Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund) grant to replace the paper towel dispensers on the business campus with Dyson Airblades.
On Monday, November 19th, the David Eccles School of Business Graduate Net Impact will be hosting a panel discussion with local businesses about how they have become more sustainable and their long-term efforts towards reaching those goals. It’s free for students, community members and businesses to attend. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Boerke reminds us all, there are small things each of us can do in our daily tasks that can make a bigger impact overall. For example, changing the margin sizes on your paper can reduce the number of pages that need to be printed. Thinking before printing is one we’ve probably heard often, but stop to think how many times you print something off just to throw it in the recycle bin by the end of the day. You can form a green team at work to look at what options are available to keep an eye on sustainability.
Whether you’re the CEO or the entry-level employee, you can play a part in benchmarking and creating policy for your company in the long-term impact you want to have on the environment. Encourage employees to develop a green team to look at strategic purchasing and renegotiate contracts with companies to provide discounts for offering green products. Likewise, saving energy and fuel will reduce costs and make your company more profitable.
We all can play a part in ensuring the world we live in is here for generations to come. Get your business involved and learn more about what students are doing on campus by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Eccles School of Business MBA Student- Matt Boerke