DURHAM, N.H. – The first group of business professionals to enroll in the University of New Hampshire’s Certificate in Corporate Sustainability, a partnership with the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, has completed the program, which provides participants both practical knowledge and tools in sustainability and allows them to network with and learn from UNH faculty, regional business leaders, and a supportive cohort of peers.
Launched in fall 2011, the certificate is a collaboration of the UNH Whittemore School of Business and Economics, the New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR), and UNH’s Sustainability Academy. The certificate program is directed toward mid-level and senior professionals seeking to increase knowledge and functional skills in the practices and principles of corporate sustainability.
“The challenges we face globally demand innovation and creativity, attributes also necessary to drive business success,” said Tom Kelly, UNH’s chief sustainability officer and director of the UNH Sustainability Academy. “Participants take away new insights from this program that will enable them to drive towards key sustainability initiatives and goals in their workplace.”
The program is accepting applicants for the second year of the program, which kicks off in fall 2012. For more information, visit http://www.sustainabilitycertificate.org/ or contact Virginia Davidson, operations manager, NHBSR at 603-391-7437 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Josina Garnham, executive development program coordinator, Whittemore School of Business and Economics, at 603-862-1998 or email@example.com.
During final presentations by the 2011-2012 Certificate in Corporate Sustainability cohort, participants shared their work on wide ranging projects. These included enhancing community assistance programs with energy efficiency audits, identifying opportunities for making solar power affordable for all businesses, developing a business plan focused on the human aspects of social responsibility, developing marketing programs to help consumers clearly identify eco-friendly product attributes, understanding the challenges and opportunities in community-based sustainability efforts and creating the connection between an industry embattled in eco-issues with opportunities for healing.
For Matt Haas of IDEXX Laboratories in Westbrook, Maine, the critical aspect of his capstone project was that his company would see an immediate return on investment. “I walked away from the institute with a completely changed perspective on how we manage sustainability at IDEXX,” Haas said.
“As a result of a session on creating shared value, we have aligned our sustainability initiatives to our recently revised corporate mission: to be a great company that creates exceptional long-term value for our customers, employees and shareholders by enhancing the health and well-being of pets, people and livestock. This has enabled me to get buy-in from senior leaders. We are actively working on getting dedicated staff and resources to support sustainability related projects and reporting,” he said.
The certificate program commences with the Institute in Corporate Sustainability, held Nov. 7-9, 2012, on the UNH Durham campus. The institute focuses on tools, techniques and solutions for implementing environmentally and socially responsible business practices. Topics taught cover people, profit and planet -- from stakeholder engagement to triple bottom line accounting and understanding the impacts of climate change on the New England business environment. Participants may attend only the institute or can elect to apply the knowledge gained during the institute to a capstone project in their workplace. Capstone projects are designed to address the real-world sustainability needs of their employers, and participants are paired with mentors to facilitate implementing their project. Those who attend the institute and complete a capstone project will receive the professional Certificate in Corporate Sustainability.
“We introduced the Certificate in Corporate Sustainability program last fall to address an expressed desire by business professionals for opportunities to expand their understanding of corporate sustainability beyond what can be attained in a one-day conference, without committing to a full sustainability MBA program,” said Michelle Veasey, executive director of NHBSR.
“The institute provides the best of both worlds, providing access to the latest thinking in environmental and social responsibility combined with access to leading business practitioners. We’ve been inspired by what the first institute class has been able to achieve back in their professional environments, as demonstrated by their capstone projects,” Veasey said.
NHBSR builds and supports a network of businesses in the state and region committed to adopting socially responsible business practices, recognizing that people, principles and profits are inseparably linked. The organization provides varied educational and networking opportunities to encourage the expansion of sustainable business practices in the state. NHBSR members receive a 15 percent discount on the program. More information can be found at www.nhbsr.org.
“We are excited to continue and expand our partnership with NHBSR,” said Dan Innis, dean of the Whittemore School. “Both UNH and NHBSR are driving the growing green economy in New Hampshire. Sustainable business makes sense both environmentally and economically, and it is important that business leaders understand how to apply sustainability concepts to their products and services.”
The certificate program receives generous sponsorship and support from Timberland, a business pioneer in sustainability.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students. Home to the oldest endowed sustainability program in U.S. higher education, the UNH Sustainability Academy, UNH is an award-winning leader in integrating sustainability across curriculum, operations, research and engagement. Learn more at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.
The first group of business professionals to enroll in the University of New Hampshire’s Certificate in Corporate Sustainability has completed the year-long program. Pictured, from left to right, are:
1st row: Ed McGrath, BAE Systems; Kerri Cain, Timberland; Jenny Levy, Hypertherm; Tom Villnave, Timberland; Theresia Crossman, Dunkin’ Brands; Steven Boissoneau, self-employed; Matt Haas, IDEXX Laboratories; Nancy Rayna, IBM; Stacey Chiocchio, Hypertherm; Shannon Kossakoski, Market Street Talent; Andrea O’Brien, NH Small Business Development Center; and Jim Howard, UNH MPA program.
2nd row: David Worthen, Worthen Industries; Dennis Pierce, University of Connecticut; David Chapnick, Vantage Partners; George Parmenter, Hannaford Supermarkets; Bob Hasevlat, Normandeau Associates, Inc.; Mike Gass, Timberland; Tom Conneen, Timberland; Gary Lemay, PSNH; Bill O’Hearn, WPO Communications; and Atlanta McIlwraith, Timberland.
Photo Credit: Perry Smith, UNH Photographic Services