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Sustainability in Business

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May 2014

The College of Business recently hosted a panel discussion on Business Sustainability that included panelists from Genesis Medical Center, John Deere, and Exelon.

mike sharpMike Sharp (at left) is Vice President of Support Services for Genesis Medical Center, overseeing Environmental Services and a broad spectrum of other areas. He explained multiple initiatives, ranging from waste management to the installation of a green rooftop.

William Stoermer, Senior Communications Manager at Exelon Nuclear in Cordova presented a number of Exelon initiatives. One of the most unusual was the company's fish hatchery where thousands of fingerlings are raised for release in waterways across the region.

laurie zelnio

Laurie Zelnio, Director of Environment, Product Safety, Standards & Energy at Deere & Company, shared the Deere sustainability model and a wide range of ecologically-focused practices.

Why should the College of Business care about business sustainability? In the past several years business leaders – and those who study business – have proposed that one way to enhance business performance is to pursue not just the important financial bottom line, but a "triple bottom line." This triple bottom line is often summarized in 3 -P's.

The first is profit. The next two bottom lines help put the first in context. People: this draws attention to how a business impacts stakeholders, in ways that have the potential to either enrich or impoverish. The third P is planet. Here we ask questions about how an enterprise draws resources from and returns them to the environment.

When put together, the 3 P's give us a lens that is a great fit with the mission of St. Ambrose University - enriching lives. The 3 P's together point us to the important question of stewardship. Knowing that we did not create the fundamental resources that become the building blocks of enterprise, we ask how we can steward them in ways that create profit, serve people, and care for the very planet itself in the process.

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