In the green spirit of the spring, let’s look at how business schools are working towards a greener environment. Can the future business men and women learn not only how to go out there and make millions of dollars, but also how to be environmentally responsible? The George Washington School of Business is one of the business schools that integrates corporate social responsibility into their business programs. GWU offers the so-called ”green” MBA in Environmental Policy and Management which focuses on the science, technology and social impact of global business, grooming the students to go work for the government, NGO’s and non-profits. Other universities in the Washington metro area who offer ”green” MBAs are the University of Maryland and the Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, who offer MBA programs concerning social and environmental awareness in business.
One of the former GWU students who graduated in 2009 is Mark Frieden. He decided to do the MBA in Environmental Policy and Management after reading about triple bottom line management, also known as the three pillars; people, planet and profit on the website beyondgreypinstripes.org.
”The main focus in the education was to learn how to make sure that companies have environmental responsibility. Take oil companies that drill for oil in the sea. There’s nothing wrong with drilling for oil, but they have to make sure that they do it in an environmental responsible way so that we can avoid disasters like the BP oil spill in 2010,” says Frieden, who’s currently on the board of DC Greenworks. DC Greenworks is a non-profit organization that among other things work with green roofs, rain barrels and rain gardens, urban agriculture and green job training.
It is not just business schools working to integrate corporate responsibility into the minds of business men and women. Net Impact is a non-profit membership organization for professionals and students who wish to use their business skills to support environmental and social causes. The organization was started in 1993 as Students for Responsible Business, and was renamed in 1998 to include both students and professional MBA graduates.
”Net Impact has been important for how business schools started to integrate environmental responsibility in their programs”, says Mark Frieden.
Net Impact is based in San Franscisco and has 280 volunteer-led chapters in business schools across the U.S. and countries on the other continents. Both George Washington University’s School of Business, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the University of Maryland have Net Impact chapters. The member students seek to build a network of business leaders commited to making a positive environmental, social and economic impact.