…a resource for
People & Planet-friendly:
Table of Contents
The Business & Environment program lost its heart and soul this summer as B&E co-founder Rob Macdonald retired and headed off to his beloved Cape Breton. Rob (right, advising students at orientation) was the FES brains behind the program, which he co-founded with Schulich’s David Wheeler (who last year left for Dalhousie). A fixture at FES since the early seventies, Rob was trained as a physicist, but his energy concerns led to ever more cross-disciplinary realms within environmental studies. A strong advocate of bioregional thinking and community development, Rob was also involved in international development and spent several years on FES projects in Kenya. His energy interests never flagged, and encompassed both policy and grassroots alternatives—from small-hydro operations to the Toronto WindShare cooperative to his current super-energy-efficient green home project on Cape Breton. A tireless resource for FES students, Rob will be sorely missed. Thanks, Rob, and all the best in your current activities!
More Goodbyes and Hellos: More sad farewells must go to Schulich B&E stalwarts Elizabeth Kurucz, who taught the Environmental Management and Business Strategies courses in 2006-07, and Oana Branzei, who taught the Sustainable Value Creation course. These up-and-coming green business minds were well-appreciated by FESers who enthusiastically took their courses. Elizabeth and Oana will certainly be missed. Best of luck to them both in their new situations.
On the positive side, the B&E program welcomes back Tiffany Lord-Westah after a year away. Tiffany is the charming and super-efficient staffer for the B&E program who is always so helpful to B&E students and faculty. Special thanks must also go to Nardeen Faragella, who did such a great job while Tiffany was gone. FES has truly been blessed with imaginative and hard-working staffers, the glue that holds the Faculty together.
All students interested in business and environment issues are urged to attend the B&E program meeting on Tuesday Sept. 11 at in Room 141. The meeting is intended as an introduction to the program, as well as an information session on possible new B&E activities which can complement regular coursework for interested students.
In addition to the B&E Film Series (see below), new activity options include this Newsletter, a Green Manufacturing Workgroup, the GET Business Wiki-Directory, State of the Local Economy/ local multipliers research, Green Jobs for Social Justice action, and research into the Toronto waste economy. Depending on student interest, other possibilities include projects involving campus sustainability, university investment, local tax shifting, green procurement, and sustainability indicators.
Students, whether formally in the B&E program or not, are encouraged to propose their own ideas for education, action or research.
For those who want to be part of these things but can’t make the meeting, contact Brian Milani.
B&E Diploma program students—and students considering enrolling—should become aware, as soon as possible, of the requirements and deadlines for the program. Knowing, and meeting, deadlines is the student’s responsibility. This should, however, be an easy task since requirements are fairly minimal compared to other FES programs like Planning. Every issue of the newsletter will include links to the B&E program page, the Diploma Guidelines Booklet, and the handy list of “Paperwork needed by MESers for B&E diploma”—in the left-hand column at the top of every newsletter. These 5 or 6 simple items listed in the Paperwork file should be easy to submit. Refer to the Diploma Guidelines and Paperwork files first whenever you have a question about the program. Then check with coordinator Brian Milani or program staff organizer Tiffany Lord-Westah.
A delay in Schulich’s hiring of a new coordinator has resulted in a temporary change in core course scheduling; but it’s nothing that need affect B&E student plans—if you are planning ahead. Normally ENVS 6191 ( Schulich BSUS 6300.03), Management Practices for Sustainable Business is given in the fall; and ENVS 5113 (Schulich, BSUS 6500.030), Business Strategies for Sustainability, is offered in the Winter term. This year both of these Schulich courses will be offered in the Winter term. Students can take the courses in either year 1 or 2, or take them in any sequence.
Students enrolled in, or considering enrolling in, the B&E program are strongly urged to take ENVS 5150 —especially this year when Management Practices is not offered in the fall. Although technically still an elective course for the diploma, it is the unofficial FES ‘core course’—intended to provide a holistic overview of B&E issues. Please note that the list of approved elective courses in the Diploma Guidelines Booklet needs to be revised—something that can’t be done until a new Schulich coordinator takes over. But the list is still a convenient guide to FES course selection, even though some newer FES courses are not included. For this reason, feel free to consult with coordinator Brian Milani if you are unsure if a particular course qualifies as an elective, or if you want to make a case that a course you want to take should qualify.
Students should also be aware that they have the option of taking two courses from the Jacques Whitford Institute. One is on Environmental Management Systems, and the other on Environmental Auditing and Legislation. Each is usually offered on separate weekends in November and April, with the combination of both courses eligible for three FES credits. Each course is usually $350. Stay tuned for specific dates.
Finally, FES B&E courses like Perspectives are open to all FES students interested in economic alternatives or any issues relating to business or regulation. Similarly B&E research and project groups—and the film series—are open to all FESers.
B&E students will be pleased to discover that recent hirings in energy/climate and food specializations have also brought the Faculty substantial expertise in business and the environment. Mark Winfield, previously Director of the Pembina Institute's Environmental Governance Program, has published and developed policy on a wide variety of environmental issues, including energy and climate change. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and was also an associate faculty member at the U of T’s Centre for the Environment. One of Canada’s outstanding minds on environmental policy and regulation, Mark will be a great resource for all FES students.
Rod MacRae is a food consultant; and a former Research Associate of the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson Polytechnic University. He has also taught courses on the food system at FES as a part-timer, and supervised MES major papers. Rod did his PhD at McGill under sustainable agriculture pioneer Stuart Hill. From 1990 to 1999, he was coordinator of the Toronto Food Policy Council. He was co-author (with Wayne Roberts and Lori Stahlbrand) of Real Food for a Change, (Random House, 1999); and co-editor of For Hunger-Proof Cities: Sustainable Urban Food Systems (IDRC, 2000). Not incidentally, Rod is also a partner in the innovative eco-company Local Flavour Plus which helps create markets for local organic growers while greening institutional procurement. Rod, the brains behind LFP’s innovative certification system, can help FES students not only understand the food system but also transform it.
Jose Etcheverry has been the one of the Suzuki Foundation’s key climate campaigners and policy analysts. Taking his BA from York and his Masters and doctoral studies at U of T, Jose worked with the climate change team of the Global Environment Facility in Washington DC and for the Mexican Electricity Research Institute. While his official bio says that “his current research is focused on renewable energy technology transfer, training and education, climate change and energy policy,” those who know him are aware of his strong social justice concerns, and his innovative ideas for creating grassroots energy alternatives.
The Business Alliance for Local Living
Economies, the fast-growing network of “values-driven business,” met in
The main conference featured a braintrust of big-name plenary speakers, along with panels and workshops on a wide variety of topics relevant to grassroots enterprise and economic development. It was preceded by two days of preconferences—on money, on government & economic development, and on Local First campaigns—as well as a film series.
Because BALLE conferences highlight the most successful and visionary businesses and community development efforts, they are known to be exciting events. But culminating a year of unprecedented environmental awareness—including the expansion of BALLE to 52 local networks—an especially electric atmosphere prevailed, heightened by a number of innovative new initiatives showcased by the conference.
“Congratulations, 2007 is your year!” opening keynote speaker Van
Jones of the Apollo
Alliance told the delegates. “This is the year you’ve gone from freak to
sheik, from the margins to the mainstream.”
He cautioned them, however, that this move to centre stage now
confronts green business people with a moral dilemma: “Who is going with you,
and who are you leaving behind?”
Jones, the force behind
A parallel message was driven home by Paul Hawken the following day. Echoing the themes of his new book Blessed Unrest, Hawken argued that the modern environmental movement is but one expression of “the largest movement the world has ever seen” and which, at roots, is the outcome of a long history of struggle for human rights. Hawken is practically involved in giving voice to this gigantic movement, through his Natural Capital Institute’s Wiser Earth database of groups, individuals, issues and enterprises. The intention is to link every activist group in civil society worldwide in this database, searchable by group or issue. Betsy Power and Jon Ramer, NCI coordinators of Wiser Earth, conducted a participatory afternoon workshop on the project for the conference with a special emphasis on the implications for values-driven businesses.
The BALLE conference also served as the official unveiling of B Corporation, an innovative form of business certification, with which its developers intend to “change the DNA” of the business enterprise, in effect combining elements of the corporate charter movement with conventional green/social certification. In contrast to community chartering of corporations, B-Corp certification requires a commitment to social purpose and to stakeholders to be embedded directly into the company’s governance documents. Despite their greater liabilities and responsibilities, B corps benefit from a unique brand, a growing community, and access to a range of network services to improve performance. While B Corporations are currently designed for US corporate law, Canadian and other national initiatives are being discussed.
Other conference sessions spanned the range of topics, techniques and strategies relevant to regenerative (and not simply sustainable) development. They included “Ownership Structures and Succession Planning”; “Big Box Stores, Jobs, and Local Politics”; “Renewable Energy: Distributed Solutions”; “Financing Your Community-Based Business”, “Promoting Democracy Through Local Living Economies”; “Local Food Systems”; and much more.
Among the initiatives emerging from the conference for GET were steps
to formalize a BALLE
"Sustaining Communities and Development in the Face of Environmental
Challenges" was the theme of the 7th biennial conference of
the Canadian Society for Ecological
Economics, held July 26-28 in
students may be interested to know that FESers, led by Peter Victor and
Ellie Perkins, have been instrumental in founding and sustaining CANSEE,
This fall the B&E program will be sponsoring a bi-weekly lunchtime series of economically-oriented films intended to entertain and inform. Because some of the films are new, the schedule is tentative, but promises to be engaging in any case. Bring your lunch (or some popcorn) and gear up for some animated discussion. Here is the current schedule for the every-other-Thursday format in HNES room 140, :
** to be confirmed
by Chantal Brundage
Brundage [left] graduated the MES program with the Diploma in Business and
Environment in Fall 2005. Her MES program focus on small business and the
environment build on early research conducted during her Honours BA in
Environmental Studies from
I graduated the MES program with a completed Plan of Study in Small Business and Environmental Practices. Shortly afterwards, I was very fortunate to meet representatives from the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) who were seriously considering developing an energy and environmental conservation program for their members. This opportunity to implement the findings of my MES education resulted in my contribution to the creation of greenTbiz which I currently manage today. read entire article
by Arlita MacNamee
Arlita MacNamee, MES 2007, was (like Chantal Brundage & Lia Gudaitis) a dynamic part of the incoming class of Sept. 2004 which formed the
“Business & Environment Collective” 2004-2006
Corporate Social Responsibility is
often described as a movement in its infancy in
One of the first casualties of the
new wave of climate change awareness in
A conscientious group
of faculty and students have been meeting to discuss and influence the
University’s investments. The York
Coalition for Responsible Investment includes FES’s Ellie Perkins & Anna Zalik, Social Science’s
Darryl Reed, Math’s Walter Whiteley, Anthropology’s Peter
Harries-Jones, Sociology’s Penni Stewart, Amnesty
Political Science’s Simon Granovsky-Larsen, CERLAC’s Ricardo Grinspun, and
Over the last few months, the group’s focus has been simply
YCRI’s first public event has been scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26, , as part of the Colloquium on the Global South . All university community members interested in this vital topic are encouraged to attend. B&E students interested in SRI are also welcome to join and participate in YCRI.
by Lia Gudaitis
Lia Gudaitis, like Chantal Brundage and Arlita MacNamee (above), was part of the incoming MES cohort of Sept. 2004, which formed the business & Environment Collective. Lia developed and maintained the Collective’s website, and since graduation has been mainly working in Africa. She will soon be heading for a planning job in United Arab Emirates, but wants to maintain some connection with the FES B&E experience. Her offering here provides an interesting account of some recent B&E student experience, besides an invitation for current FESers to dialogue with Collective alums on B&E issues.
The business & Environment
Collective came about from a group of enthusiastic students in the
Business & Environment Diploma program at
b&E Collective: Who We Are
The b&E Collective is primarily… read entire article
Sept. 7 “Find Your Path to Sustainability: Green Your Small Business”, GET workshop with Rob Sinclair of Conscious Brands Inc.
Sept. 11 B&E program meeting: sign up for project groups (non-program students welcome)
Sept. 11 GET Smart speaker series: GET Network Director Chris Lowry, 7-9 pm, 215 Spadina
Sept. 12 Net Impact: Schulich Kick-off Barbeque, , in the Schulich court-yard.
Sept. 12 Coalition for a Green
Land Use Services (ALUS) program: Rethinking Agricultural Policy And The
Sept. 26 Socially
Responsible Investment at York,
panel organized by the YCRI, 2-4 p.m.,
Sept. 27-28 IIDEX/Neo Con
Oct. 11-14 La Jolla, CA, Social Venture Network fall conference “World Changing Ideas: Innovation in Action”
Oct. 24-25 Toronto Green Building Festival
Nov. 7-9 San Francisco Co-op America’s Green Business Conference
To Perspectives on Green Business course webpage
To Business & Environment program page
To FES homepage