Sustainability strategies for Pittsburgh businesses
// Centers Feature
In October 2019, the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration launched the Center for Sustainable Business (CSB)—a center designed to make the University a world-renowned hub for applied research on sustainable business and further highlight the region’s leadership. Since then, the CSB has been hard at work fulfilling their purpose of knowledge creation, thought leadership, and teaching and training.
Led by CB Bhattacharya, H. J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics and a globally recognized author and researcher in the field of sustainable business strategy, the CSB received its initial grant funding from The Heinz Endowments.
Seeking to help the Pittsburgh region, The Heinz Endowments concentrates on advancing a sustainable future for our community and planet, successful learning outcomes for young people and their families, and a culture of engaged creativity for all our citizens.
“In collaboration with corporate partners and world-class scholars across the University, Pitt Business is committed to investigating the crucial questions that will enable new models and inform best practices in sustainable business,” says Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean. “We also feel that this is a pivotal component of our educational mission.”
“In collaboration with corporate partners and world-class scholars across the University, Pitt Business is committed to investigating the crucial questions that will enable new models and inform best practices in sustainable business,” says Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean.
With a wide variety of events, both in-person and virtual, the CSB helps companies learn how to leverage their investments in sustainability across all functions of the organization to generate better business and societal outcomes.
Semi-annually, the CSB hosts their Sustainable Business Forum, a peer-to-peer learning network that combines cutting-edge academic insight with open discussion of best practices, challenges, and opportunities that companies face in striving to embed the principle of sustainability throughout their organizations.
Most recently, the CSB created a bi-weekly podcast, “Sustaining Sustainability”, which explores sustainability lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic through short interviews with industry managers, academic experts, government officials, and civil society leaders. Listeners learn how to leverage this information to make the world more equitable and sustainable during an unprecedented time.
CIVIL SOCIETY LEADERS
In support of its mission, the CSB is guided by the substantive expertise, intellectual vision, critical depth, and professional connections of a high-level group of industry and civil society leaders who serve on the newly created strategic advisory council. The council advises the CSB on current sustainability trends in corporate settings, provides direction for innovative teaching and research agendas, increases the visibility of the CSB’s activities, and acts as a sounding board for CSB outputs to ensure that the center is delivering on its mission.
Likewise, the CSB surrounds itself with top-of-the-line corporate sponsors, including BASF Corporation, CONSOL Energy, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Enel, Evoqua Water Technologies, IBM, Peoples, PITT OHIO, PPG, and Tarkett.
“The CSB’s collaborative strategies for guiding organizations toward more sustainable practices will help improve regional environmental quality, promote a higher quality of life, and create a more prosperous future for all,” says Andrew McElwaine, vice president for sustainability at The Heinz Endowments. “We are pleased to support these important
efforts to equip businesses with the knowledge and leadership needed to become more sustainable.”
And if that wasn’t enough—there’s more. Over the past year, the CSB has been leading a cross-sectoral research team to envision a strategy for tackling the concurrent challenges of climate change, social and environmental injustice, and economic crisis. With a charitable donation and scientific support from Enel Foundation, the Marshall Plan for Middle America (MP4MA) Roadmap was created. The MP4MA aims to build a regional, multi-sectoral coalition of stakeholders to drive investment in infrastructure and energy diversification that will catalyze more equitable economic recovery while laying a foundation for the Ohio Valley (including Upper Appalachia) to be a global leader in cleaner energy resources and circular economy practices.
Support from key project partners included: Enel Foundation; the City of Pittsburgh and Mayor William Peduto; the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs; Steel Valley Authority and the Heartland Capital Strategies Network; and many others.
“Sustainability can’t be viewed as ‘someone else’s job.’ It’s only when individuals are trained and empowered as sustainability generalists that a culture of sustainability can take root and begin to yield benefits for all stakeholders both inside and outside of the company,” says Bhattacharya. “Our mission is to help companies tackle that all-important question of ‘how’ to best embed sustainability throughout the organization.”