Much as the talk seems otherwise, corporate sustainability leaders and change agents may still need to function like an annoying little sister or brother. Eventually, companies will (should) notice the truth behind the nagging, and take steps to re-balance their values and fully commit to a sustainable future.
However, as even multinational corporations are (or seem close to!) approaching their respective sustainability pivot points, the emerging entrepreneurial side of sustainability and social change also deserves attention.
As I wrote in my latest HuffingtonPost piece, I’ve recently added another role to my writing and consulting career mix. Thanks to my work within the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, I’ve been seeing sustainable possibilities through undergraduate and graduate level entrepreneurial eyes. All I can say is: Wow!
I look forward to sharing what I learn with you. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from Sustainability’s Neglected Frontier: The Young and the Entrepreneurial :
A week ago I spent a day with representatives of the Pacific Northwest’s emerging generation of sustainability and socially-minded entrepreneurs, and it blew me away. To fully disclose, and though the thoughts I share here are my own, I participated in this event in my social media role for the University of Washington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, covering their Environmental Innovation Challenge (EIC). After being at this gathering, I realized that corporate sustainability likely has nothing better than the potential for paradigm shift that bubbles inside the men and women now attending our colleges and universities.
But, back to the actual event. As the 23 student teams made their two-minute pitches early on, it was all my Twitter-happy fingers could do to capture each of their cool ideas and smart thinking. And, I was not the only one impressed. Even the highly experienced Seattle-area entrepreneurs who judged the challenge seemed to have the same feeling as me, which was that our economy will do just fine — as long as we identify, support and encourage this generation of student sustainability innovators. (Many also said something like “Darn, why wasn’t I this smart when I was that age?”)
The students I am meeting are incredibly passionate and committed. Those of us who love our sustainability work have as much to learn from them as we have wisdom to share in return. It may be time to look around and see if there are ways to get involved with your local university’s entrepreneurial programs…