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World Environment Center

Creating Value for Business and Society

WEC shares the successes of the Cleaner Production Partnership in El Salvador and Guatemala
Read the full brochure here.

White House Announces New World Environment Center Initiative in Chile

The World Environment Center (WEC) applauds President Obama’s successful visit to advance the U.S.-Chile bilateral relationship and expand efforts to promote more sustainable economic development. The U.S. and Chile have launched a new public/private partnership for small and medium sized Chilean enterprises to implement cleaner and more energy efficient technologies that will reduce waste, carbon dioxide emissions, material consumption, and business costs. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, WEC will lead a new two-year project with Chileoliva, an industry association of Chilean olive oil companies. Through WEC’s signature “Greening the Supply Chain” initiative, small and medium sized companies will receive on-the-ground technical assistance and training for improving their business management skills and strengthening the economic, environmental and energy performance of their companies. WEC will also partner with other governmental and private institutions, including the Clean Production National Council to strengthen project activities and further replicate the successful cases developed during the project.

Dr. Terry F. Yosie, WEC’s President and CEO, commented that, “Progress in improving our economies and our environment results from top down leadership and the strengthening of bottom up capabilities. This initiative announced by The White House embodies this dual approach and will achieve tangible results that benefit the people of both nations. The World Environment Center is pleased to play an important role in this unique partnership.”

Read the full White House Statement here.

WEC and the U.S. Department of State Launch Cleaner Production Partnership in Morocco

March 8, 2011 - The World Environment Center has launced an innovative project to expand the sustainable development commitments of Moroccan businesses by reducing energy and water consumption, minimizing waste and raw material usage and lowering operating costs.  WEC is partnering with the Moroccan Cleaner Production Center (CMPP) and the country's leading national business association, the Confederation Generale des Enterprises du Maroc (CGEM), to implement the local activities and provide advanced technical expertise for the project.  The press release can be found here and in french here, and a project description is provided as well.

The 2011 Gold Medal Award for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development will be presented to Nestlé S.A. on May 19, 2011. Learn more:

View the full press release here.


WEC Gold Medal


Strategies to Ignite Broad Based Market Demand for Energy Efficiency November 9 and 10, 2010
30 Sustainability Experts from six countries recently participated in WEC's Roundtable event in Brussels, Belgium, hosted by Johnson Controls, Inc.;
the Results Summary is available here.

Brussels Roundtable Group


WEC Reports from the 18th Annual Net Impact Conference
Net Impact logo

2020: Vision for a Sustainable Decade


WEC's Virginia Fuller participated in the 2010 Net Impact Conference, October 28-30; read her highlights below from the discussions of 2500 business-school students and professionals on the latest thoughts on sustainability in business. 

The Buzz in the Hall...

Where should MBA students look within companies to start their sustainability careers?

  • MBA students aren’t clear on how to get into sustainability jobs. They know they are not being trained for the technical aspects of environmental improvement, but also can't be hired right into a CSO position and are unclear about the middle ground and/or entry points into sustainability roles for MBA graduates.
  • Harvard Business School's Srikant Datar (along with David A. Garvin and Patrick Cullen) found, in their book Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, that what executives want most from MBAs is the ability to put their business school knowledge into practice in the workplace.
  • MBAs face a great challenge in that society views business as both the lever with which to change the world for the better, as well as the cause for all of its ills. This presents a fine line for MBAs to walk. 
  • MBAs can enhance their skill sets by focusing on a “lattice” rather than a “ladder” approach to learning.  In other wording, thinking about systems and the inherent complexities will serve a graduate better than purely linear, or ladder-like, thinking.  Students must also be prepared to talk to stakeholders from all realms: the government, NG0s, civil society with equal aplomb.

Where does sustainability “fit” in curricula and in companies?

  • In a business school curriculum, should sustainability be a separate course or a concentration within the degree?  The buzz in the hall is that it is better to learn the traditional business skills and apply them to sustainability issues once on the job.  It is this latter application that must be taught.
  • In a company, at what level should sustainability issues be addressed?  Should this be a separate office or integrated across all departments?
  • Sustainability must be present in all aspects of a business, similar to ethics.  Aron Cramer, President and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, noted: “We expect everyone at the company to be honest, yet no one has a ‘department of honesty.’”



How is the role of business evolving in today's world?

  • Financial savings remains a key driver for companies’ environmental improvements.  Executives must make a business case for any investment that serves the dual purpose of benefiting the environment as well as the company. Incrementalism is the key to improving the environmental practices of companies.  Furthermore, it is the planning of the exact point at which a firm should switch over to the next new technology or operational adjustment that is the most important piece of the change process. For a company to be successful in transitioning to more sustainable business practice, it needs to have a plan – a roadmap - and it needs to stick to it. 
  • There is a decreasing trend in the government’s ability to solve societal problems; more and more, society is looking to business to address those problems.  Businesses, therefore, need to accept responsibility for this new role and engage in actions that serve to benefit society (and the environment) in order to be successful. The successful business will be the one that manages to bring benefit to society in terms of its product or service offered, as well as mitigate other related (or even unrelated) societal ills at the same time.  At the very least, a business that produces a fine product or service but harms people or the planet in doing so will suffer at the hands of an evolving and more socially attuned customer base.

Our Net Impact poster


Ross School of Business


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