Ethical. Progressive. Intelligent. Consumer. (Company).
EPIC is Western Canada’s largest sustainable living and working expo. In a city with a plethora of green space, one of the largest inner-city parks in the world, and mountain ranges as the backdrop to beautiful ocean views, there’s no surprise that Vancouver has Canada’s strongest sustainability movement. The last weekend of May is witness to an expo that showcases both the new and the tried and true sustainable living strategies. This year it was easy to notice that the show is also integrating sustainability into the workplace.
MBA students with a desire to focus on sustainable business strategies should take notice. As a student of business in the 21st century ethical and sustainable business practices should be absolutely top of mind. As a result, SFU has indoctrinated a full credit ethics course and an equally weighed sustainability course as part of the mandatory curriculum for the SFU Full-Time MBA Program. These courses have been part of the MBA program for three years, and will continue to be a major focus in the one-year MBA degree. Further, sustainability and ethics teachings are making their way into the curriculum of the other core MBA courses. As this article will go on to explain, this idea of integrating sustainability into every-day business is something that the EPIC expo is starting to focus on. One key exhibitor, the David Suzuki Foundation, has a very interesting take on it all.
As an MBA student in Vancouver, with a distinct interest and focus on climate change, long-term, sustainable business practices, and a connection with nature and the environment, the David Suzuki Foundation is a standing pillar of support. Their mission is to educate and advocate social change into governments, businesses, and consumer households. Their primary focus is on climate change, health, oceans, and wildlife. A large part of their service in Vancouver is to work with small and medium sized business to help create a more sustainable workplace. An emphasis should be places on business students, especially MBA’s who will immediately be placed into management positions. These students have the ability to influence business from the top-down, thus creating a more natural adoption of sustainable business practices. Here are some basic tips on how you can improve your workplace’s carbon footprint today.
- Set ‘double sided’ (duplex) as the default setting on your printer(s)
- Go electronic instead of using paper copies: power point, e-subscriptions, and web resources
- Decorate with living plants to liven your workspace
- Take the stairs instead of using the elevator
- Enable energy saving settings on all equipment
- Open blinds and turn of lights whenever possible
Along with the Suzuki Foundation having a large presence and advocating sustainable business, EPIC also featured hundreds of other sustainable living and business ideas. Participants were able to get a first-hand view of the new Ford Tesla, the first battery powered vehicle capable of highway driving. The car is sporty, sexy, and has a range of 300 kilometers on one charge.
ZipCar was on site as well, as they are with most Vancouver trade shows. This organization provides an inexpensive alternative to vehicle ownership in Vancouver. Hundreds of cars are parked in strategic locations around the city which members, after booking online, can access and drive for short or long periods of time. The car-sharing concept is allowing individuals who only occasionally need a vehicle to use the service instead of purchasing a car. A member can drive anything from a Prius Hybrid, to a Ford Explorer or Pick-up. The prices are surprisingly reasonable, and gas is included.
One very popular exhibition was that of a living wall. This is a wall that has been constructed using living plants. The wall comes in both indoor and outdoor versions, can be customized for size, and even have their own irrigation systems. This concept is starting to catch on with some of the trendier European companies committed to sustainability. It will be exciting to see more living walls here in Vancouver.
EPIC also features an Eco-Wedding section that specializes in weddings centered around sustainability and environmental protection. One company touted the high long-term success rate of couples married under the context of an eco-wedding. In theory, this makes perfect sense, as a couple who share values of ethics and environmental sustainability might also believe in sustainable wedding vows.
Finally, because it is a favorite A Few Good Minds company, BC Hydro should be mentioned for their continued support of sustainable energy. The organization’s “Power Smart” advocacy group has penetrated homes and BC energy consumers, advocating energy conservation. The company has also committed to sustaining their own organization by reducing the use of large thermal stations and utilizing more run of river, wind, and solar power production. The organization is a great place to look if you are thinking about a career in energy, especially sustainable energy. BC Hydro’s Managers and Professionals in Development (MPID) program hires recent MBA graduates and other business students to complete a 2-year management rotation before being placed into one of the company’s departments. It’s a fantastic way to learn how the second largest company in BC can operate in a sustainable way.