Green Week at UNC Kenan-Flagler has come and gone, leaving our MBAs, Undergraduate Business students, Faculty and Staff a bit more knowledgeable about their impact on the environment. Events spanned the spectrum of sustainability from Meatless Monday to test drives of the next generation of electric cars to a discussion about retail corporate social responsibility (CSR) with a CSR Strategy and Communications Manager from GAP Inc. Below are highlights from a few of the events:
There was a sudden darkness in the McColl building at Kenan-Flagler on Tuesday, April 3rd from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. The power hadn’t gone out; the lights were all still functional; and nobody reached for a light switch. Celebrated all over the world, Earth Hour is meant as a “massive show of concern for the environment,” and is observed by turning out all non-essential lights for one hour. While not during the official Earth Hour for 2013 (March 23, 8:30pm – 9:30pm), Net Impact, along with Kenan-Flagler administration and facilities management of the McColl building, came together in the spirit of Earth Hour to turn out non-essential lights. The “net impact” of this event was a sudden 11% drop in the electrical usage of the building. If even half of this impact could be realized on an annualized basis, the school would save over $12,000 and 129 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide.
Textiles are a large industry and one with a checkered history in corporate social responsibility, but recently it has taken major strides and GAP Inc. is one of the companies leading the way. On Wednesday, April 4th, Geoffry Geist, Strategy and Communications Manager for GAP Inc.’s Department of Corporate Social Responsibility gave a brief introduction to all the aspects of CSR with which GAP is involved. After his brief presentation, students asked insightful questions ranging from the value proposition for CSR at GAP Inc. to the effect of Socially Responsible Investors on GAP’s initiatives. Co-sponsored by Net Impact, the Retail Club, and Carolina Women in Business, the event drew over 25 people and exhibited the wide-ranging impacts that CSR has on large corporations.
To show the fun side of sustainability and to test all of the knowledge disseminated throughout the week, on Thursday, April 5th, Net Impact invited the Kenan-Flagler community out to a local bar for Sustainability Trivia night. Over 30 people came out on a rainy and cold night and gathered to test their sustainability knowledge. With questions ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to socially responsible investing, everybody’s knowledge was truly flexed. While only three of the teams were able to take home a prize, everybody walked out with a better understanding of the impact that our business operations have on the environment, both social and physical.
While this year’s Green Week has come and gone, the spirit of Green Week and the knowledge that has been passed on to the Kenan-Flagler community will have a lasting impact long into the future through the enlightened the minds of Kenan-Flagler’s next generation of business leaders.