From the Web: Renewable Energy Can Improve Lives Of Agri-Food Chain Poor

A new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) describes the role renewable energy can have in elevating the livelihoods of the millions of rural poor, specifically in terms of the impact it can have on the billions of people employed in the agri-food chain.  In the study, the agency uses data from the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a SEMBA Advisory Board member.

SELF has pioneered the use of solar power for a wide range of applications including household lighting, water pumping, school electrification, drip irrigation and wireless Internet access.

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Off-grid renewables can support productive activity at all stages of the agri-food chain, from irrigation to support food production, through post-harvest processes, including agro-processing and food preservation for storage and transport. Modern renewable technologies also allow sustainable food preparation and cooking.

Challenging Business to Connect to Sustainable Development Goals

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was previously published on Impakter.com. It was written by Jason Wiff, a member of the SEMBA Class of 2017

global-goalsWith the introduction of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, we are faced with the challenge of implementing these goals into the way we live, impact communities and use business as a catalyst for change. Stuart Hart, one of the world’s leading experts of sustainable enterprise explains his framework for making these changes a reality. This interview has been edited for clarity. Highlights of our conversation are below.

What is your definition of business sustainability?

Stuart Hart: There can be sustainability at many levels. Business sustainability provides functionality that make[s] people’s lives better in ways that are inherently cleaner or regenerative. You’re able to serve and uplift many people in the world, not just a few. Business sustainability has two components: environmental sustainability, social sustainability and financially to propel business forward.

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New Recognition for SEMBA: Making An Impact

This post was written by Aditi Datta, SEMBA ’17

“The University of Vermont’s Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA (SEMBA) program in the Grossman School of Business continues to bolster its growing reputation as one of the nation’s most innovative business programs by climbing to the No. 2 spot on the Princeton Review’s ‘Best Green MBA’ list…”

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In just the month of October, SEMBA claimed a total of three major awards, joining the ranks of Yale School of Management and the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Of course, awards are a staple of academia, providing an objective evaluation for prospective students comparing programs but do awards actually serve a larger purpose?

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Michael Russo, Leading Thinker on Sustainable Business, Visits SEMBA

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Chris Howell, SEMBA ’17

This post was written by Chris Howell, a member of the SEMBA Class of 2017.

One of SEMBA’s more impressive elements is the program’s direct connection to so many innovators in the discipline and practice of sustainable entrepreneurship. From our well-connected advisory board to the steady stream of speakers from a range of industries, our network grows by the week.

This week, we had the pleasure of attending a talk and class with Michael Russo, professor of Sustainable Management and head of the Department of Management at University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business.

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SEMBA: Hope For A Runaway World

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Paul Laudicina, 2016 SEMBA Inauguration Speaker

On August 12, 2016, Paul Laudicina, partner and chairman emeritus of A.T. Kearney, addressed SEMBA’s 2016 graduating class. In a wide-ranging speech with a broad historical arc, Laudicina made a powerful case for the “SEMBA Movement,” where businesses and business leaders committed to sustainability will leading us through this significant and challenging period of history.

Below are excerpts from that address. The full text of Laudicina’s speech can be read here.


“There is simply too much riding on your shoulders as the next generation of leaders for you to unplug. We desperately need your know-how, vision, passion, courage, and purpose to lead us through these challenging times. You could not be going out into the world to apply what you have learned at a more critical time—in many ways a “best of times, worst of times” interlude in world history.

“We stand at the threshold of the most incredible advances ever—in medicine, in life expectancy, in educational attainment, in extraordinary technological advances. Yet, we also live today in a world more troubled and challenged than at any time in modern history—surely than at any time in my history…people are feeling uneasy, apprehensive, insecure, and unhappy with the present, and fearful of the future.

“You will be challenged to lead in a world more complex and difficult than at any time in the past couple of decades.

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The Leaders We’re Looking For

By Joseph Fusco, Vice President, Casella Waste Systems, Inc., and Chair, SEMBA Advisory Board

You should know this about the company I work for: it is a mundane business. We are not superstars in the sustainability movement. Our name certainly wouldn’t escape from your lips should you be asked to name a fashionable triple bottom line company.

uvm-2016-0812-0167However, a few years ago, we had a moment of clarity. Suddenly, we realized our entire existence was based on a business model that was simply unsustainable.

We had to ask ourselves a very important question: what will the world — the planet, our markets, our customers, our communities — expect from us in twenty or thirty years? What will we get paid for?

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