“It costs 20,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, which is just enough to produce a pair of jeans,” observed Guo—a stark measure of the importance of incorporating sustainability into fashion enterprises.
“Trends are always nonlinear. Adoption accelerates because of policy and sometimes in spite of policy. Even if Washington has a different view, businesses and capital markets care about sustainability, and the movement will continue in spite of them.”
If we are to continue to grow our economy without destroying the planet’s basic systems that sustain human life, we need to learn a great deal more about our planet and the impact of human activities on natural systems.
Sustainability Management alum Krista Eichenbaum (’16) moved from Toronto to attend the MSSM program to better address resiliency challenges in cities. She is currently Project Analyst and Manager at a women-owned engineering consulting firm, specializing in civil engineering, urban planning, and sustainability.
Master of Science in Sustainability Management student Celine Gaasrud was attracted to the opportunity to combine courses in different areas to explore and solve sustainability challenges. She intends to maintain an international perspective and work on implementing solutions to achieve sustainable development.
Princess, a division of Carnival Cruise line, the largest passenger cruise company in the world, has pleaded guilty to seven felony charges and will pay $40 million after employees on a cruise ship were caught dumping oiled waste into the seas and lying to cover up their actions. This as an issue of management that is not limited to Princess or Carnival, but to whole areas of business practice that continue to ignore their responsibility to apply best management practices and the best available technology to operations such as waste disposal.
Master of Science in Sustainability Management student Jordan Chan knows that professionals involved in sustainability are passionate about what they do. She suggests reaching out to companies and people in positions of interest for an informational interview. That’s actually how she landed a job at PepsiCo, where she is responsible for developing programs for colleges and universities to assist schools advance their sustainability goals.
Among the academics I find a mix of optimism and dire pessimism. It’s a recurring theme—can we build an economic life that can preserve the planet, or is it already too late? My responsibility is to ensure that our students hear both perspectives.
We need to focus our attention on the existing systems of management and influence now in place and attempt to turn them toward sustainability. This includes national, state and especially local governments, corporations and nonprofit organizations.
Natural capital—the world’s stocks of natural assets that include soil, air, and water—provides us with a great deal of services essential to human life and, increasingly, to companies’ bottom lines.