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Professor Nancy Kurland talks about climate change, sustainability and activism

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

1.) Briefly explain how you got interested in the topic of sustainable business.

Well, I was a professor in California and began to notice state-wide water issues. This became more apparent when I saw a case of water prices increasing because of the water belonging to a private company. I then began to become interested in sustainable business as a way to better preserve our water supply, along with other important issues.

2.) With issues like political unrest and climate change, how important is it to become more knowledgeable about the businesses you support?

Try looking at which has reports by companies and grades the company by the impact. There is also GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), which is a global initiative to have companies report their impacts in a systematic way.

Companies will have a GRI protocol to follow, which helps investors and consumers look at a specific company’s impact. You could also look to see if they are a B Corp, like GRI. The easiest approach is to go to a company’s website and look at the sustainability reports (if there are any).

3.) What is one tip you would give to young adults, particularly college students, that would encourage businesses to use more sustainable practices?

That’s an easy one! Unfortunately, it’s to find the right return on investment. Businesses want to know how they can do well by doing good, and so if you can show how your idea will not only help save the planet but will also save the company money or time or resources, then they’ll listen.

4.) How have you worked to create a more inclusive learning experience, both for yourself and others?

To create an inclusive learning environment, I try to learn students’ names right away; I like to also learn a little about them personally, to get to know them. I encourage students to consider different points of view. I try to use multiple examples, diverse examples. I encourage students to understand who the authors are of the articles we read, rather than to think that this is absolute knowledge. Someone created it, and who is that someone? I try to be very fair in how I grade, etc.

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