contributed on October 8, 2016 by Danielle Shtab, Fordham College at Rose Hill.
The Sustainable Business Foundations, a core class for the Sustainable Business minor, was visited by E. Freya Williams, author of Green Giants: How Smart Companies turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses, this past Tuesday. She gave a presentation relating to her work with Futerra Industries as well as her book. The truly innovative book details the reasons that certain sustainable businesses have done so well, pointing particularly to the innovative leaders that those “green giants” have.
Williams engaged the class in an honest, open discussion about her experiences in Futerra and the reasons for writing the book itself. Her career spanned from leading initiatives for a variety of companies looking to market their sustainability to running a campaign to work on “Hopenhagen,” the initiative to connect people in a global community to address climate change.
Innovative companies such as Chipotle, Tesla and GE among others also took the spotlight in her discussion. “I often hear, what is the business case for sustainability?” Williams said to the rapt audience. And her answer? That sustainability is simply an integral part of business today. Businessmakers that are truly innovative have caught on to the critical mass of success in today’s world that is sustainable business.
After the presentation, students were encouraged to ask questions about her work and what she felt the trends of sustainable business were leading towards. She maintained that ethics were a core reason for her commitment to combatting the sustainability issues of today. Overall, the talk that E. Freya Williams gave enabled students to tackle not only the midterm projects of Michael Pirson’s foundations class but also the task of understanding the core ethics and ideas of sustainable business.