LMU Hosts Global Sustainability Summit

On April 10, 2019, LMU’s Center for International Business Education (CIBE) welcomed industry leaders, researchers, students, faculty and staff for its first-ever Global Sustainability Summit to discuss the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how business and academia can work together to be innovative leaders in the field of sustainability.

The summit kicked off with a business panel moderated by LMU Management Professor Charles Vance focused on “business strategies to tackle global sustainability-related challenges following UN SDGs.” The conversation was centered on how businesses and institutions can use their platform to create a better and more sustainable environment. Panelists included:

  • Sherman Gay, Events Chairman, Los Angeles Sustainability Coalition
  • Amy Smith, Chief Giving Officer, TOMS
  • Neha Thakkar, CEO, Green Sapling
  • Antoine Kunsch, Director of Sustainability at Vitalibis, Inc.

The panel discussed the different tactics used to uphold sustainability, such as identifying allies and partners, both internally and externally, to help push and support sustainable practices as well as using B-corp as a way to measure an organization’s practice. Several panelists also emphasized the importance of defining sustainability to employees and integrating it into the company’s culture through mission statements and hiring practices.

A second panel, moderated by John H. Dorsey, LMU professor of civil engineering and environmental science, focused on “effective strategies to integrate global sustainability-related challenges and UN SDGs in business schools.” Panelists included:

  • Roberta Baskin, Founder, AIM2Flourish and former journalist, Fowler Center for Business, Case Western Reserve University
  • Madhu Viswanathan, Professor/Diane and Steven N. Miller Centennial Chair in Business, Gies College of Business, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Ivan Montiel, Associate Professor of Management and the Area Coordinator of Business, Society & Sustainability, Narendra Paul Loomba Department of Management, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York
  • Trevor Zink, Assistant Professor of Management, Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainability, College of Business Administration, LMU

This panel outlined the importance of including environmental and sustainability-focused curriculum to help better prepare students as they join companies and begin to apply their knowledge and skills in the workforce.

Dr. Trevor Zink, LMU assistant professor of management, also emphasized the importance of self-reflection and self-education. He said it’s important to not only be aware of environmental issues, but to be critical about one’s own personal practices and how it impacts the environment. He used the example of paper versus plastic straws; plastic straws are being banned in favor of paper straws, yet the negative environmental impact of using paper straws is greater than plastic straws. Thus, a question is posed of how we can live a life of sustainability, especially when every choice we make has an impact on the environment?

Overall, the Global Sustainability Summit offered fruitful discussion about the importance of sustainability, especially as global warming and climate change are becoming much more prominent issues on the political, social, economic and environmental forefront.

Written by LMU student Celine Alvarado