York U Faculty of Environmental Studies


Business & Environment Newletter 


…a resource for FES Business & Environment Diploma Program students, and the rest of the world.  





B&E Diploma Program Basics for FESers


Diploma Guidelines booklet


Paperwork needed by MESers for B&E diploma


Business & Environment Collective




Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS)


Perspectives on Green Business course


Sustainability at Schulich


Net Impact


People & Planet-friendly:

Questioning Business

Good Work


Green Business Links



Values-Driven Business











             Number 2   October 2006


Table of Contents

·         B&E Program Meeting October 10

·         David Korten to speak at FES

·         Farewell Tiffany!

·         Nicole Bassett on the B&E Collective

·         Elizabeth Kurucz leads Environmental Management course

·         MESer Brendan Biddlecom selected for mentorship program

·         Rob Macdonald offers energy course for next term

·         Net Impact holds sustainability orientation

·         Other B&E Student News

·         Upcoming Events

·         Feature Essay

·         Previous Newsletter


B&E Program Meeting October 10

GPLOGO13All students interested in business and environment issues are urged to attend the B&E program meeting on Tuesday October 10 at 12:30 in Room 140.  While the meeting may serve as an introduction to the program for some students, its main purpose is involve students in building the program.  Coordinator Brian Milani will review some of the initiatives planned or proposed, including research and internships, social and educational projects, and more.  Vets of the student B&E Collective will be on hand to describe its activities over the past couple years, and to facilitate discussion about activities that incoming MES students might want to initiate. 


One major topic that will be raised is a Green Product Information project, geared to providing information on green products, services and businesses to the Toronto region, making a concrete contribution to local green market creation. Related projects that have been proposed are a Green Knowledge Tools project (which would explore possibilities for “open source” information technologies in green market creation and green business evaluation); a State of the Local Economy/ local multipliers research project; and a local buying card project. Depending on student interest, other possibilities include projects involving green taxation, green procurement, and sustainability indicators.  The focus is on the cultivation of student ecopreneurial energy that (1)  that builds student environmental studies and green business knowledge while (2) making a practical contribution to ‘values-driven’ economic development in this area.  The more we can be of service, the more opportunities we can create for interesting internships, major paper & project topics, and jobs. 


Students will also be briefed on planned B&E education initiatives, like a two day Local Economy Development seminar led by Michael Shuman, and a Social Venture Institute for local businesses.  


B&E communications and culture will also be a featured topic.  MES II student Melissa Leithwood will summarize her proposal for a B&E Web Portal for York,  while possibilities for the B&E Newsletter will be raised and discussed.  What are the ways that our use of electronic technology and the web can further or support the educational and social goals B&E students?  Make your opinions known.  


The time of the meeting was chosen to make it easier for 5101 students to attend. Don’t forget your lunch.  For those who want to be part of things but can’t make the meeting, contact Brian Milani.




David Korten Speaks at York Korten3FES October 3

Noted author and activist David C. Korten is coming to York Tuesday October 3 as part of a promotional tour for his acclaimed new book The Great Turning: From empire to earth community.  Korten, who will speak at 7pm in HNES 140, is known for his critique of global corporations (When Corporations Rule the World and the documentary The Corporation), and for his articulation of ecological community-based alternatives (The Post-Corporate World). Over the past several years, he has been increasingly connected with the fast-growing Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), which he helped found in 2001 with others associated with the Social Venture Network.  The new local BALLE network—Green Enterprise Toronto (GET)—is the principle organizer of Korten’s Toronto visit, along with the Centre for Social Justice, FES’s B&E program, the Centre for Social Innovation, Faith & the Common Good, and other groups.  David Langille, director of the Centre for Social Justice, who teaches a Canadian Social Problems course at Atkinson Tuesday nights, was the initial organizer for Korten’s York presentation, which is now co-sponsored by the FES B&E program.   Korten will also speak the following night at OISE-UT, co-sponsored by the above groups, along with the OISE-UT Transformative Learning Centre, Grassroots Environmental Products, Raincoast Books, the Coalition for a Green Economy and the United Church of Canada’s Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit. 

For more information on the York event see this.


For some interesting history of the business sustainability movement—involving Business for Social Responsibility, the Social Venture Network, and BALLE, read this article, originally published in Multinational Monitor.




Farewell Tiffany!

One of the backbones of the B&E Diploma program (and much more), FES Administrative Faculty Secretary Tiffany Lord is leaving October 6.  For us, this is a sad day.  Tiffany handled her many administrative activities, and faculty & student requests, with so much grace, amiability and efficiency, that she will be sorely missed.  Tiffany has been the epitome of professionalism and friendliness.  Her administrative skills have been essential in keeping the B&E program going, and she was always ready to go the extra mile to help students or faculty, no matter how overworked she was.  Plus she has just been a great person to be with. 


Tiffany will be heading for Sault St. Marie with new husband.  Our loss is definitely Northern Ontario’s gain.  Many thanks for all your contributions, Tiffany! Our best to you in all your future endeavours. 




Nicole Bassett on the B&E Collective

Nicole Bassett entered FES in Sept. 2004 and successfully completed her final oral exam on August 29, 2006.  One of the founders and stalwarts of the B&E Collective student group, Nicole did her Internship with, and her Major Paper on, Patagonia, the progressive clothing and outdoor gear company based in California. While in Toronto, she was also involved with, among other things, innovative education on sustainable food systems.   Here is a little description she wrote to include here for the benefit of incoming students who might want to continue the work of the Collective. 

The Business and Environment Collective formed to bring together FES students who were interested in issues emerging in business around environmental responsibility.  The collective is an open organization that allowed for individuals to pitch ideas and the group worked to bring these ideas to fruition.  Some examples include organizing a panel discussion on the state of York University and sustainability, another was a fundraising and awareness campaign around wind energy, the collective also had a semesterly event called Books and Beers where members would read books on business and the environment and would convene to talk about it.  The most recent campaign was an awareness campaign around extended producer responsibility - toothbrushes were collected and a petition signed that was sent to the Minister of the Environment urging stricter policy on the disposal of products that cannot be recycled.


The Business and Environment Collective acts as a place where students from FES can share their ideas and support each other's research and education.  The like-minded group at the Schulich School of Business is called Net Impact and often events are co-sponsored by the two groups.

Note: the old B&E Collective website, originally developed by Lia Gudaitis, is still online, at www.becollective.org/, so check it out. 




Elizabeth Kurucz Succeeds David Wheeler Teaching B&E Core Course

B&E program co-founder David Wheeler has departed to Halifax, but the B&E core environmental management course, taking place this fall, is in good hands with Dr. Elizabeth Kurucz.  Elizabeth, who is a senior research fellow at IRIS, actually co-taught the course with Dr. Wheeler last year, and brings a wealth of experience to the corporate side of the B&E program.  For the past decade, Elizabeth has been the lead researcher on a number of joint organizational-academic research initiatives, spanning a range of sectors, including utilities, government, oil and gas, steel, chemicals, environmental services, automotive, finance and conservation.  She has worked as an organizational consultant for various firms, presented at numerous academic and professional forums, and carried on a variety of research—notably on organizational behaviour. 


The course itself, “Management Practices for Sustainable Business ENVS 6191/BSUS 6300,” takes a "triple bottom line" approach, defining sustainability in business as balanced progress towards economic performance, social justice and environmental quality. Throughout the weekly sessions and assignments, students critically examine components of a range of sustainability tools and techniques and how they are used by managers in a variety of disciplines in business to create value: e.g. marketing, product development, community relations, investor relations and other functions. The course, organized in conference format, is focused on unearthing the underlying assumptions of these approaches, as well as considering the managerial applications of these techniques.




FESer Brendan Biddlecom Selected for Prestigious Mentorship ProgramBrendan&Amy

Brendan Biddlecom, MES II, who received top prize at last spring’s Sustainability Reception for his green business proposal, continues to garner laurels and hardy recognition, as he was selected as one of eight winners in a continental competition.  The “Young Leaders Program” of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies selects particularly promising young people with an entrepreneurial and leadership bent for special mentorship in community-oriented business and community organization.  As reported in the last B&E Newsletter, Brendan has been causing waves in his Buffalo hometown in helping found a new community business network, Buffalo First, working with community animator Amy Kidron (in photo, with Brendan)—who was also selected as one of the lucky eight.  Other notable selections included former national BALLE staffer & author Merrian Fuller (now at UC-Berkeley) and Leanne Krueger-Braneky, current coordinator of Philadelphia’s Sustainable Business Network.  Brendan, who recently became a father for the second time, has generated increasing media attention through the summer with the surprisingly quick success of Buffalo First.



Energy Studies at FES

j0283597A number of B&E students have special interests in energy.  Prof. Rob Macdonald, co-founder of the B&E program and one of the Faculty’s outstanding energy experts, urges students needing guidance and discussion to drop by and talk.  He adds that, for those without a lot a background in energy, a useful option might be to take his undergrad course in the winter term, ENVS 3130 Energy and Environment—that MESers can upgrade to an Independent Directed Study (6599) course.  For those concerned, this is an opportunity not to be missed, since Dr. Rob will not be at FES much longer.  Not only is Rob one of the region’s experts on energy and environment, but he has been actively involved in alternative energy development, via WindShare, the Energy Action Council and his own micro-power projects.




Net Impact Holds Sustainability OrientationOana

On Thursday Sept. 28, Net Impact held its first main event at Schulich for York grad students interested in business & sustainability studies.  Hosted by new York U. chapter leader David Tunnah, the meeting provided an overview of Net Impact and sustainability studies at York, with feature presentations by Elizabeth Kurucz, course director of Management Practices for Sustainable Business (see above), and by Oana Branzei (photo, right), course director for MGMT 6500 “Sustainable Value Creation.” Dr. Branzei showed a short film on eco-innovation & landscape restoration in the Phillipines as an example of the sustainable value creation covered in her course. Brian Milani also gave a quick overview of FES’s Business & Environment program; while FESer Kristopher Stevens discussed York Sustainability Enterprise Consultants (YSEC), a small consulting operation run by York students (from Schulich, FES and Osgoode).  FES B&E students are encouraged to check out Net Impact’s website and watch for upcoming events.  




Other Student News

Summer 2006 saw the successful completion of the MES program for B&E stalwarts Mian Zhang, Lindsay Parks, Mike Dunbar, Brian Minns, Chris Coghlan and Nicole Bassett.  Mian’s studies were focused on Environmental Management Systems in China; Lindsay Parks researched sustainable development in the mining industry; Mike Dunbar’s Major Paper was on Sustainable Food Systems; Brian Minns wrote on Sustainable and Socially-responsible Finance; Chris Coghlan examined Nonprofit Enterprises & Sustainability; and Nicole Bassett looked at Patagonia as a case study of sustainable business strategy (see above).   



Upcoming events

Leading Edge 2006: Niagara Escarpment Commission’s conference on sustainability, healthy communities & biosphere research : Oct. 4-6, Burlington

Engaging Organic Intellectuals: Transformative Learning and Farmers' Transition to Sustainable Agriculture :

Oct. 31, 4:00 to 5:30 pm, OISE/UT, Room 7-162

7th Annual Global Conference on Environmental Taxation : Oct. 22-24, Ottawa

Toronto Regional Green Building Festival : Oct. 31-Nov. 1, Canadian Broadcasting Centre

Planet in Focus film festival : Nov. 1-5

GreenBuild 2006 : Nov. 15-17, Denver



Article of the Month          War, Murder, Rape…All for Your Cell Phone           by Stan Cox, AlterNet



Contribute to the FES Business & Environment Newsletter

This issue is the second of a continuing series.  It is intended to provide news, context, j0231178communication and continuity for York B&E students, but may also be of interest to many others, inside or outside the Faculty, who share our bias toward survival, justice, community and positive regeneration.  The newsletter can be a means of B&E students staying in touch with what others in the program are doing.  Hopefully you will supply us with news, descriptions of your internships and research, links, and more. Of particular interest is information that can help MESers develop research interests and skills that can practically contribute to green development, especially in the Toronto bioregion.   The more relevant our research becomes, the more opportunities—internships, research grants, jobs, connections—will come our way. 


If you have material or ideas for the newsletter, please contact Brian M.





“Economically, energy-efficiency is better than a free lunch—it’s a lunch you get paid to eat.”

Amory Lovins