Yale University’s LEED Platinum-certified Kroon Hall, home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, was the energizing setting for the 2012 ARCS Conference and Teaching Summit. 120 scholars from fifteen countries gathered for paper presentations, keynotes, and the first ARCS Sustainability Teaching Summit – From Classrooms to Boardrooms: Embedding Sustainability Research in Curriculum and Corporate Strategy. The Summit showcased and discussed the latest available pedagogical approaches, tools and materials. This year’s ARCS Conference was hosted by Marian Chertow, Associate Professor of Industrial Environmental Management at Yale, and by Yale’s Center for Business and the Environment.
“The conference has always been research-focused and centered on academicians, as well as on developing junior faculty” says ARCS President Michael Lenox, Samuel L. Slover Professor of Business at U.Va.’s Darden School of Business. “We thought it would be impactful to bring in more stakeholders — particularly those from the corporate realm — so that we can apply the research that we do to corporate practices and needs.” ARCS Board Member Andrew King, Professor of Business at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, organized the Teaching Summit. He notes “there are a tremendous number of cases and simulations that work wonderfully for teaching about sustainability challenges and opportunities in either an academic or corporate setting. The Teaching Summit allowed us to show participants how to use these teaching tools to effectively meet learning objectives. Additionally, business leaders had the opportunity to hear about the body of sustainability research available to inform their decision making”.
From Classrooms to Boardrooms: Embedding Sustainability Research in Curriculum and Corporate Strategy to share and discuss the latest available pedagogical approaches, tools and materials in sustainability education.
What Are We Delivering Now? which sparked conversations about course design and business values conveyed in top MBA programs.
What Do Employers Want? which focused on the requirements for the training of business graduates.
The latter panelists, which included sustainability officers from Duke Energy, Turner Construction, Risk Metrics, Owens Corning and Siemens, noted that a sustainability-savvy leader is one who successfully aligns multiple business functions (such as product development and supply chain) to achieve sustainability aims and find competitive advantage. Such leaders take a system-wide view of their company and industry, creatively and diplomatically influencing key individuals and groups across that system to effect change — often without any staff of their own.
A discussion on Bringing Experience Into the Classroom showcased proven case studies and simulations to help the scholars develop their teaching competencies. The cases included:
Coke in the Cross Hairs, which examined globalization and water constraints.
The Fishbanks Simulation, on renewable resources and industry self-regulation.
Trina Solar: Expanding in the U.S. Market, which discussed business strategy.
The sessions highlighted the trend by ARCS business school members such as Darden, Harvard and Ivey, to publish an increasing number of environmental and social sustainability cases.
Conference presentations were equally engaging. James E. Rogers, chair, president and CEO of Duke Energy, was the ARCS Conference keynote speaker. Rogers has served as a CEO in the utility industry for over 23 years. During that time he has advocated investing in energy efficiency, modernizing the electric infrastructure, and pursuing advanced technologies and nuclear energy to grow the economy and transition to a low-carbon future. He is also as vice chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
In addition, Ma Jun, executive director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and a leading expert on supply chains in China, spoke via videoconference to the group about the China Water Pollution Map and Air Pollution Map his organization has produced. This publicly-available data has driven multinational firms to address their social and environmental impacts in the region. Jun is a Yale World Fellow who was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2006 and was recently awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest prize honoring grassroots environmentalists.
Commissioner Dan Esty of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Mark Vachon, vice president of Ecomagination at GE, also spoke to an enthusiastic audience on government and corporate efforts to achieve sustainability aims.
The 2013 ARCS Conference will be held Mon. April 29 – Wed. May 1 at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
For questions about the conference, please contact Erika Herz, ARCS Managing Director, at email@example.com.