Post-Paris, The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA Now More Than Ever

From the Editors

In the wake of the kerfluffle over the United States’ exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, we at The Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA believe, among others, two very important things.

First, ain’t no stoppin’ us now. Climate change and sustainability, and resource sustainability, represent the most significant economic and business development opportunities in a generation. The business and economic case for these opportunities — to say nothing of the environmental case — is powerful and, arguably, irreversible. According to the New York Times, these opportunities represent a $6 trillion market by 2030. The shift is happening, and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement — while discouraging — will do little, if anything, to derail the immense problem solving opportunities, and rewards, around climate change.

Everyday, someone is breaking new ground in the production, conservation, or distribution of clean renewable energy. Everyday, someone is reinventing how we move around — how we transport ourselves and the things in our lives in revolutionary ways that save energy, space, and time. Everyday, someone is innovating and inventing new technologies that change the way we build, rebuild, heat, cool, and live in our homes and businesses while consuming as little as the earth’s resources as necessary.

In short, with or without the Paris Agreement capitalism, disrupted and reinvented, is a force — along with many others — to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.

Second, our Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA is part of the solution. More important than ever post-Paris, we must develop a new generation of business leaders who will build, innovate, disrupt, and reinvent climate change-focused enterprises in a world that demands it. In other words, UVM’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA is more important than ever and its graduates increasingly more vital to sustainable businesses.

While traditional MBA education simply turns out people educated in business models, approaches, and ethics that are more a part of the problem than the solution, our mission is to prepare leaders to transform today’s businesses and invent tomorrow’s ventures through a lens of sustainability.

We believe our students and alumni are uniquely prepared to be change agents and to lead within enterprises — or start new ones — that are solving the world’s most pressing problems — including climate change, and with or without a Paris Climate Agreement.

And, in this new reality, we believe our students will be in greater demand by businesses, enterprises, and organizations than ever before.

Learn more, and apply to a program that will not only change your life, but change the world, too.

From the Web: Here’s How Thousands of B Corps are Making the World a Better Place

More than 2,000 B Corps in 50-plus countries—and they’re all making the world a better place. Kim Coupounas, the director of B Lab, has been a part of the B Corporation community since 2007, after she and her husband cofounded an outdoor brand called GoLite. GoLite went on to become a Certified B Corp as it made beautiful outdoor equipment and apparel in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

Over the years, Coupounas has watched the B Corp world flourish under the nonprofit B Lab, which develops and maintains the standards underpinning the B Impact Assessment companies undergo to pursue B Corp certification. “I’ve spent the past three years engaging and growing the community of B Corporations in Colorado,” Coupounas says. “In three years, we more than tripled the size of the B Corp community in Colorado and generated a number of truly innovative practices that are being used throughout the global B Corp community now to enhance B Lab’s mission overall. I’m now focused on reaching companies beyond Colorado and getting them on the path to measuring and improving their impacts.”

Learn more (via gb&d Magazine) >>

From the Web: How Foundations Can Use Their Endowments To Push For More Diversity In The Investment World

The Knight Foundation is going to make sure the people charged with investing its vast endowment aren’t entirely homogeneous. It’s not just a push for diversity’s sake–it’s also a push for better returns.

In order to create the cash flow necessary to continue issuing grants year after year, most foundations reinvest the majority of their endowment in the open market. Historically, however, major funders haven’t thought a lot about how to use that process itself to do more good.

Earlier this year, the Ford Foundation rethought wasted financial impact by committing a large portion of its endowment toward mission-related investments, creating more capital for change. Now the Knight Foundation, which works to build engaged and informed communities, is trying to address a more creeping societal issue: discrimination against who exactly is enabled to make these investments.

According to a Knight Foundation report, women and minority-owned money management firms are getting shut out of the asset management industry–not just by philanthropies, but by public funds, high-net-worth individual and family offices, and especially corporate interests. The group hopes to change that practice across the entire investment landscape by calling more attention to it.

Learn more (via Fast Company) >>

From the Web: Can this startup use blockchain to brew up more sustainable coffee?

An entrepreneur with a background in verifying the provenance of so-called conflict minerals is applying that expertise to keep tabs on one of the world’s most widely traded commodities: coffee. Tracking this kitchen staple requires a mélange of emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and the internet of things.

The goal of his venture, bext360, is to help coffee buyers automate their dealings with fair-trade farmers, allowing them to more closely track the source and quality of the fair trade beans they’re buying while speeding up payments for local growers.

For buyers, the service promises deeper transparency, as well as a way of automating the verification process. For harvesters and growers — largely women — the service could mean more ready access to investment capital, according to bext360 CEO Daniel Jones.

Learn more (via GreenBiz) >>

A ‘Shark Tank’ for Impact Investing: SEMBA’s Net Impact Chapter Featured

This post was edited by Mike Rama, SEMBA ’17, and originally was featured on Net Impact’s Hub Announcements.

The SEMBA Net Impact chapter held a pitch event described as a “Shark Tank for impact investing.”

Net Impact is an accelerator with chapters across the country that works to orient professionals and students to solve social and environmental challenges. The SEMBA Net Impact chapter is a hybrid chapter at the University of Vermont, Grossman School of Business, focused on bringing together current students, alumni, and community members in an effort to mobilize awareness and action on sustainability.

What makes this chapter stand out is the unique programming that equips its members with the skills and connections to drive impact now and throughout their careers. “Our chapter programming falls under three main categories: skill development, alumni relationships, and building collaborative networks with the community and other academic departments,” says Michael Rama, the Vice-President of the chapter.

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From the Web: Millennials Are Pushing B2B Companies Toward Greater Social Impact

Our economy changes a little every day as Millennials begin to take on more substantial business roles, opening companies and rapidly becoming a larger share of the workforce. It’s no surprise that their spending habits reflect not only in general consumer behavior, but also a shift in B2B sales.

And the major factor that affects how Millennials spend money is a company’s ethical and moral behavior, especially concerning the environment. The flood of Millennials in the B2C and B2B marketplaces is altering the way companies do business. This changes the game for B2B entrepreneurs and sales professionals who are preparing for the future of commerce.

Learn more (via Forbes) >>

Career Tips to Write Home About

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17

When I was growing up and I’d come back from school, my dad would always ask me: “So, what was the best thing you learned?” This quickly became a running joke in my family, leading my dad to ask the same question when I come back from vacation, after reading a news article and most recently – reaching another milestone in my SEMBA journey.

Tonight, I called my dad and patiently waited for him to ask me what new things I learned today. To his surprise, I started talking about the Alumni Career Panel, which brought together current SEMBA-ites and alumni from cohorts 1 and 2. The goal of the event was for the alumni to provide honest, practical feedback around finding a job and landing the right job.

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Sustainable Condoms from Soil to Sale

This post was written by Leah Perkinson, MPH and SEMBA ’17, and originally appeared in Impakter. It has been adapted for the SEMBA Review

In The Photo: Sustain Condoms Photo Credit: Sustain Natural

Are you looking for a sustainably produced, non-toxic, GMO-free, Fair Trade certified condom? Sustain Natural, the natural sexual health and wellness product supplier, has you covered (literally). In addition to selling condoms, this Vermont-based startup manufactures water-based, organic personal lubricants and chemical-free post-play wipes.

Sustain’s condoms are also nitrosamine-free. Nitrosamines are a class of carcinogenic chemicals that are in products like cosmetics, tobacco, fish, beer, fried foods, meats and rubber. During sex, condoms can leach these chemicals which can be absorbed into the body. Although nitrosamines from condoms contribute to a small percentage of our overall exposure, there’s no reason for them to exist in condoms. In fact, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund recommended that condom manufacturers minimize the presence of nitrosamines.

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From the Web: Business students willing to sacrifice future salary for good corporate social responsibility: study

More than 90% of business students in a study on corporate social responsibility said they would be willing to sacrifice some percentage of their future salary to work for a responsible employer. A surprising number of 14% are willing to sacrifice more than 40% of their future income to do so.

However business students who were also employed full or part time were willing to sacrifice less of their future income than other participants. Those employed made up more than 60% of participants (30% occupying management positions).

Learn more (via The Conversation) >>

Tackling Sustainability Through Food: How a Burlington Restaurant is Making a Difference

This post was written by Margaret Arzon, SEMBA ’17

In SEMBA, we are encouraged to connect and learn from other social entrepreneurs that are currently driving business to create a social and environmental good. As part of an assignment for our Entrepreneurial Leadership and Mindset class with Dita Sharma, my classmate Julie Allwarden and I sat down with the owner of Pingala restaurant, Trevor Sullivan, to talk about what inspired his business.

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