GreenBiz recognizes ASU's School of Sustainability in new report

The annual report calls ASU a "key player" to watch

The University has earned even further recognition for sustainability, this time from an environmental advocacy group for ASU's success in creating a multidisciplinary sustainability practice driven by an innovative spirit. 

In the 2019 State of Green Business report published in early February, Greenbiz, which has partnered with the University for years on sustainable business initiatives, labeled ASU as a "key player" to watch out for because of the University's wide range of graduate degrees and programs along with its "collaborative and transdisciplinary" approach. 

Joel Makower, the chairman and executive editor for GreenBiz, said he believes that no school is doing more than ASU to advance the field of sustainability in business.

“A lot of universities have sustainability programs — that’s not unique,” Makower said. “None to my knowledge has as many programs or as much diversity of programs as ASU does from very specific things like biomimicry and circular economy to the overall understanding of what sustainability means.”

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Nicole Darnall, an associate dean and professor for the School of Sustainability, said that ASU’s existing programs are diverse, and that students learn how to work together with different disciplines to create something new in the field of sustainability and address common problems surrounding sustainability.

“We don’t have a lot of discussion amongst us (in academia) to really understand the full picture of what we’re trying to manage,” Darnall said. “I think that is what the School of Sustainability has been trying to address by pulling together people within a similar space to address a much broader issue of sustainability, but to approach it from different perspectives.”

ASU president Michael Crow gave the opening address at the GreenBiz 19 conference on Feb. 26. 

Crow celebrated ASU’s sixth year of partnering with GreenBiz in Phoenix to promote sustainable business education and emphasized how both green businesses and ASU are thinking “green” and looking to the future.

“What we’re doing at ASU, both through being a part of this conference and other things that we’re working on is we’re trying to change everything that we’re doing, who we produce in terms of new graduates, how we produce them, what they study, where they go, what they work on, how they advance and other things that are happening,” Crow said.

Darnall said that dual-degrees in sustainability and business allow students to enter the private sector with unique expertise to “make the case for the critical change that’s needed within the organization.”

“If you’re able to convince businesses or make the case to the private sector that operating sustainably is a good thing, you could have enormous potential impact, not just for the improvement of society but also for the business itself,” Darnall said.

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Not only is the field of sustainable business great for the environment and the future, it’s also a fascinating field to be a part of, Makower said.

“I’ve been in (sustainable business) for 30 years and am never bored,” Makower said. “Being in sustainability is an extraordinary, exciting place (and) I think it’s one of the biggest sources of innovation in business right now.”

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