Friday, November 14, 2008

Wharton Net Impact Day 0.5

I managed to make it through the first half of the day here at Wharton. The opening address kicked off by the Thomas Robertson, Dean of the Business School was interesting. Seems that since there is a "perception of a violation of trust" in the population due to the current financial crisis there is a need to restore the "sense of responsibility" in business education. Agreed, and shouldn't that be there anyway? The call to a renewed focus on ethics and corporate governance certainly echoes what is happening in the marketplace and the regulatory environment. Are mainstream schools poised to adopt the BGI model wholesale given the current state of affairs?

Moving on.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Chairman & CEO John Brock Carter Roberts, World Wildlife Fund President & Chief Executive Officer commented on the challenges facing the adoption of sustainability and the unique partnerships evolving to attack the climate change crisis. Coke & the WWF were not working closely together five years ago, and they commented that the fact that they are now is an amazing evolution. My main takeaway; companies are making commitments; they are moving in the right direction, yet the conversation still seems to be about how to be "less bad". We are in the business of selling more stuff, and that stuff has an impact, no matter what. I was noticing the presentation styles, something any good business school student should do; low on text, high on images and graphics...tell a story, I liked that.

When will we make the jump to creating less stuff with more value?

I am impressed at the breadth of topics available to the would be change agent. Session One was an understatement; there were 18 topics in 5 tracks from Social Entrepreneurship to Corporate Impact withing the session. I decided to join the President & Founder of Quaking Aspen at the session entitled "The Value Proposition of CSR and how it Affects the Bottom Line". Panelists included:
I liked the quantitative take on the analysis by Mr. Herman, looking at sustainability impact on investment performance, Cheri's honest communication about the advantages of being in a small private company with a leader committed to sustainability, and Mitch's excitement about the potential to take carbon out of shipping.

Rushing...gotta head to another session "Looking Inward: Why Internal Sustainability Communications Matter"...

1 comment:

R.Paul Herman said...

Thanks very much for the compliment on showing how quantifiable Human Impact drives higher Profit (HIP).

Glad you could attend Net Impact!

Also, our website is at