York U Faculty of Environmental Studies

…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




Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS)


Perspectives on Green Business course


Sustainability at Schulich


Net Impact


Fair Trade at York


Sustainable Purchasing Coalition, York


York Coalition for Responsible Investment (YCRI)


People & Planet-friendly:

Questioning Business

Good Work


Green Business Links









             Number 4   December 2007


Table of Contents

Schulich Welcomes New Sustainability Head

Update on B&E Courses

Workshop Course Advances HNES Revitalization

Burma Tops Investment Concerns at YCRI

York Students Promote Procurement Potentials

Net Impact Generates Green Business Awareness

Fair Trade Update: Las Nubes Café  / Fair Trade Petition

Social Entrepreneurship Summit Reflects New Horizons

Ayesha Ahmed on GET’s wiki directory

Brad Zarnett on Greening a Business

Newsletter Futures

Feature Articles

Quotes of the Month

Previous Newsletter(s)


Welcome Dr. Husted

FES’s Business & Environment program partner, the Schulich School of Business, will be welcoming its new sustainability chief this coming January.  Bryan W. Husted will be assuming the Erivan K. Haub Chair in Business and Sustainability, as the long-awaited successor to B&E Diploma program co-founder David Wheeler who left for Dalhousie in summer 2006.  After receiving his BA, Masters and law degrees from Brigham Young University, Dr. Husted earned his Ph.D. in business and public policy at U.C.-Berkeley.  True to Schulich’s international flavour, he has extensive experience teaching and advising in Mexico, Spain, Brazil, and Bolivia, while writing on a range of topics including the environmental impact of NAFTA and corporate governance in Mexico. Prof. Husted’s main teaching will begin next fall, but students will likely have the opportunity to meet him this winter or spring.  Our best wishes to him in all his activities at York and beyond.



B&E Course Update: Because of the changes at Schulich, the scheduling of B&E core courses has undergone some changes this academic year.  Normally the Management Practices for Sustainable Business course (BSUS 6300 and ENVS 6191) is given in the fall term, and the Business Strategies for Sustainability (BSUS 6500 and ENVS 5113) is given in the winter term.  This year both will be given in the Winter term.  FES students, particularly B&E diploma candidates should be advised that quotas have been set on the number of FES students permitted in these courses.  A total of 17 places are available to FESers in the Management Practices course; and only 8 FESers can be accepted in this winter’s Business Strategies course.  Where demand exceeds supply, preference will be given to MESers in their second year.  In any case, FES students are urged to register as early as possible. 


Course directors for the Management Practices course this winter will be Markus Biehl and Detlev Zwick and it is scheduled for Mondays 8:30-11:30. Course director for Business Strategies will be Irene Henriques (left), and it will go on Wednesdays from 2:30-5:30pm.  


MES B&E candidates are reminded that, because the changes at Schulich have delayed updating of B&E elective courses, we are being flexible about what courses can be considered electives.  Feel free to make a case for a course you think is relevant to the program, even if you don’t see it on the list of approved electives.  The most current list is in the current Diploma Guidelines booklet, which can be accessed via this Newsletter’s upper left-hand menu.  All B&E students are encouraged to take ENVS 5150 Perspectives on Green Business, although it is officially still just an elective course.  Again, the most current information on the program is available in the upper-left menu of the B&E Newsletter.  B&E candidates are urged to become familiar with the Diploma Program Guidelines and deadlines.  All are also encouraged to officially notify Tiffany Lord-Westah in reception of your interest in the program, and to fill out a Notice of Intent to Seek the Diploma.   



BALLE 2008 Set for Boston in June

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, the leading values-driven business network in North America with over 60 local networks, has announced the site of its 2008 conference: on the campus of Boston University June 5-7 2008.  Ecopreneurs from Toronto’s BALLE network, Green Enterprise Toronto (GET) , will be present in force, including some FESers.  Interested B&Eers are urged to contact Brian Milani and check out the conference website. Early Bird Registration rate is $395 until Jan. 15.  Students can also contact Brian if they want to borrow audio (and plenary video) proceedings of the 2007 conference in Berkeley.  (See 2007conference program)  Now numbering over 200 businesses, GET is also playing a role in developing a BALLE-Canada network, as local networks are currently being organized from Newfoundland to BC.





Proposed Design Workshop Course Advances Sustainable HNES Project

                    by Linda O’Malley, MES I and Nadeem Anwar, MES I

A new course proposed by Peter Timmerman of the Faculty of Environmental Studies and Arlene Gould (left) of the Design Department will attempt to bring together students, faculty, and experts in a design charrette.  The purpose of this design charrette is to brainstorm and identify solutions, to build a vision of what the HNES building could be, and will conclude with plans for implementation. Look out for this 3-credit course on the MES listserve, entitled ENVS 6599I: Design for Sustainability: Greening the HNES Building.

      The workshop will take a broad-based approach to sustainability in the built environment

using the redesign of the HNES Building as a strategic tool for visioning,information sharing, scenario building, stakeholder engagement and modeling best practices in integrated sustainability planning. Architects, landscape

architects, industrial, interior and graphic designers will be actively involved in the process along with sustainability experts in green retrofit strategies.


The course is structured around five key dimensions of integrated sustainability planning for the built environment:

  • Physical ­ including all aspects of building restructuring, energy needs, maintenance, water and wastewater management.
  • Social ­ addressing user needs including healthy building environment, productivity, networking and stakeholder engagement, connecting to other buildings, building as a learning lab and curriculum tool.
  • Ecological ­ including landscape around the building, gardening, green roof, plant walls.
  • Economic ­ the business case for sustainable retrofits, financial and legal issues, strategic linkages to other campus initiatives.
  • Aesthetic ­ exploring, demonstrating and reflecting on 21st Century eco-aesthetics.


The workshop sessions will culminate with a design charrette focusing on synthesizing and expanding the learning, agreeing best practices, and modeling various options and phases in the Integrated Sustainability Plan for the HNES

building retrofit. Students in the course will be actively engaged in organizing and participating in the charrette, and documenting and assessing its outcomes.


Sustainable HNES, or SHNES, is a collaborative effort of students and faculty working towards the design and implementation of sustainability initiatives at the Health, Nursing, and Environmental Studies building at York University.  This greening the building project so far consists of a number of projects such as a green roof, a water efficiency retrofit, and a solar photovoltaic (PV) cooperative. In addition to these projects, SHNES is also working on organizational development.


In further good news, SHNES has been given the green light to continue to organize as a cooperative for the solar PV project (named SolarFES), and the project will be moving forward from here. To date $3,700 has been raised. For further information or if you would just like to get involved, please contact solarfes@gmail.com.




Burma Tops Investment Concerns at York Coalition for Responsible Investment:

      Student Petition now Online

The York Coalition for Responsible Investment (YCRI) is an initiative of concerned York students and professors seeking to put a social and environmental spotlight on the university’s investments.  Meeting approximately twice a month through the fall, the group is compiling basic information on the scope and nature of these investments while focusing attention on a particular investment impact: Burma.  The recent crackdowns by the military on the democracy movement in Burma have raised questions about both western government and corporate support for the regime.  Movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi, currently detained by the regime, has had to be careful about undermining possible negotiations by calling for disinvestment.  Unofficially, however, Burmese popular groups have encouraged the West to consider disinvestment, and information about corporations profiting in Burma has been spreading on the web. 

     YCRI has initiated a student petition calling for the university to review its Burma-related investments, and is working with a number of groups to raise awareness of the situation in Burma.  The petition, at the moment limited to students, urges “the York Foundation and York Endowment Fund to respond to the calls of the Burmese people, and divest from corporations who are doing business with Burma.”  It can be accessed online at http://www.petitiononline.com/YUburma/petition.html .  All FES students are encouraged to sign it.   A faculty and staff petition will likely follow shortly. 


YCRI participants have great hopes that this campaign marks the beginning of growing awareness about York investment. Co-chair FES professor Ellie Perkins (left) said “we’re pleased with growing interest in both Burma and investment generally.  Momentum seems to be building in the university community to address issues of socially-responsible investment.” 

      YCRI has been collaborating with the Colloquium on the Global South, which devoted one of its seminar series sessions (Sept. 26), to a general discussion of SRI, featuring some of the leading York experts on the topic.  A future session focused specifically on Burma is currently being discussed.  The next meeting of YCRI will be Wed. January 9 at 3pm in Room 307 of the Student Centre next to York Lanes.  All interested students and faculty are welcome. And everyone is encouraged to check out the YCRI wiki pages at http://ycri.wikispaces.com , especially the new Burma Disinvestment page at http://ycri.wikispaces.com/burma . 

      Other Relevant Links:

Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE)

Ian Howard/Net Impact Leader: Article on SRI

Canadian Friends of Burma



York Students Promote Procurement Potentials

Green procurement is one of the most powerful tools for positive social change, and universities are among the biggest purchasers in many regional economies.  With this in mind, the Sustainable Purchasing Coalition is organizing to raise awareness of, and to influence, York University’s purchasing decisions for the better.  A student group, the SPC is “particularly interested in (a) how York University can use its purchasing power to promote sustainability, and (b) how purchasing policy reform can be a model for how York builds its capacity to model participatory, multi-stakeholder decision-making, itself one of the critical dimensions of social sustainability.”

     The SPC is organized in four main working groups that are open to anyone interested in doing hands-on projects to consult with students, raise awareness and engage in dialogue, and develop support for specific campaigns.  The groups are Fair Trade, No Sweat, Responsible Investing, and Green Purchasing.  New members can join one of the four groups or just partake as general members.  General members work on things such as researching, being a liaison, postering, communications and writing articles, administrative tasks, etc. 

     Interested students are encouraged to find out more at the SPC website. 



Net Impact Generates Green Business Awareness

 by Natalie Ambler, NI FES Liaison

As we all know, great learning experiences happen outside the classroom and Net Impact offers such opportunities! Our Net Impact club is a community of Schulich and York Grad students engaged with using business for social and environmental impact. 

Recent events from this Fall 2007 have included:

• Sustainability Career Networking Reception – This popular event gave students an opportunity to network with peers, faculty and over 20 corporate participants.

• Sustainability Series - Claude Ouimet from InterfaceFLOR presented The Power of One: The Power to Change, the Power to do Something. Thanks to MES student Brad Zarnett for coordinating this speaker.

Schulich Sustainability Town-Hall Meeting - Opportunities, events and academics regarding Sustainability at Schulich School of Business were discussed by faculty, administration and students.


Upcoming Winter 2008 events include:

• Thursday January 10th : Sustainability Series - Jeremy Kendall, Chairman and retired CEO of SunOpta.

• Thursday January 10th: Semester Launch - Green Drink Mixer.

• Friday February 8th: Sustainability in Action Conference – stay tuned for more!


If you’re interested in business and sustainability at York, then keep in touch with Net Impact.


Also, attention 2008-2009 MES students:

We are seeking people who are interested in taking on a positive leadership role in next year’s Net Impact (MES liaison or other Executive Committee positions!). For a smooth transition it would be great to connect as soon as

possible. So send a note of interest to nambler@yorku.ca and find out more!




Fair Trade Update:  Las Nubes Café Opens  /  Fair Trade Day & Petition

Fair Trade took another step into the business and culture of York University on November 15, as the Las Nubes Café opened in the Computer Science and Engineering Building.  Besides selling one of the world’s most delicious coffees, the Café (right) is offering healthy food—salads, whole-wheat bread sandwiches, and zucchini and banana muffins. 


The opening of the Café highlighted Las Nubes Program Week Nov. 12-16. As most FESers are aware by now, Las Nubes is an acclaimed public-private collaboration among York University, Costa Rica’s Tropical Science Center, the local farmers’ cooperative, Timothy’s World Coffee and various community groups. Purchase of the Las Nubes Rainforest in 1998 was made possible by a donation from Toronto doctor Woody Fisher. The project constitutes a fusion of interests between rainforest preservation and fair trade. The Café substantially raises the visibility of not just the coffee but of fair trade, rainforest awareness, and values-driven enterprise on the York campus.  According to Las Nubes director Prof. Howard Daugherty, “When you make Las Nubes your coffee of choice, you are saying: I care about the well-being of coffee farmers and their families; I care about how coffee is produced; I care about issues of economic justice and fair-trade practices. And I like good coffee!”


On Nov. 29, the Fair Trade Coalition and the Sustainable Purchasing Coalition kicked off the holiday season with their annual Fair Trade Fair, including educational displays and a fair trade market.  On American Thanksgiving, one day before the environmental movement’s Buy Nothing Day, York fair traders offered a more positive alternative to the mindless consumerism and waste of the shopping season.  Fair trade coffee, chocolate, and clothing were among the items available for buying in a social and educational context in Central Square.  B&E students should be aware that fair trade is quickly transcending its previous status as fringe economics, as pressures for values-driven market transformation are growing economy-wide.  “Domestic fair trade” is being encouraged by green business and community economic development as “appropriate scale” is becoming the byword for energy, food and manufacturing initiatives in the era of Peak Oil.  Fair Traders point out that social and environmental regeneration are closely connected, and that questions of justice, participation and accountability are as relevant to these questions of scale as are those of environmental sustainability. 


Students, faculty and staff can painlessly support fair trade at York by signing the petition for fair trade coffee at York.

      Relevant Links:



Social Entrepreneurship Summit Reveals New Economic Horizons & Challenges

The MaRS Centre in Toronto was jammed December 3-4 with innovative entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, ecopreneurs, community developers, investors and government people—all part of an ambitious two-day Social Entrepreneurial Summit organized by MaRS, the Centre for Social Innovation, the Toronto City Summit Alliance and the Boston Consulting Group.  The Summit’s objective was to celebrate and connect some of Canada’s most innovative entrepreneurs. It included a series of workshops and panel discussions on topics ranging from accessing funding and financing to trends in social enterprise and the importance of entrepreneurial institutions. 


The Summit’s first afternoon was devoted to a Social Enterprise Think-in, which both surveyed innovative enterprise models in a variety of realms, before brainstorming how a more favourable environment can be created for nonprofit social enterprise.  On the second day, 250 participants included innovators from all over Canada for a series of presentations and panels representing various sectors.  The centrepiece of its celebratory  dimension was the Schwab Foundation’s competition for Canadian Social Entrepreneur of the Year.  The six finalists were all present, with the winner—Evergreen founder Geoff Cape--announced at the evening dinner.  FES alum Tzeporah Berman, head of Forest Ethics, was a finalist representing the ‘systems change’ category.  Tzeporah (right, with fan), who was one of the subjects of Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent film The Eleventh Hour, flew off to Bali that evening for the climate negotiations (see her blog).  Other finalists included Mike Labbe (Options-for-Homes, Toronto), Ian Gill (Ecotrust Canada, Vancouver), Tim Jones (Artscape, Toronto),  and Dr. Gilles Julien (Social pediatrics, Montréal). FES B&E alumnus Farouk Jiwa, of CARE Canada, previously honoured as one of Canada’s outstanding social entrepreneurs, was one of six jury members selecting the winner.


The summit tried to accommodate the needs of the diverse players encompassed in this “sector”—from NGOs and philanthropic organizations to coops and for-profit companies.  While official topic areas included policy, networking, and technical assistance, the focus, at least on the second day, was clearly on financing.  For the SE movement, the question is how we finance the vast range of social and environmental activities so essential for social and environmental regeneration?  For entrepreneurs, the question is how one accesses needed capital without selling out, figuratively or literally. For investors, one major problem is how one assesses real returns on investment, given the multidimensional and decentralized benefits of values-based production and exchange.  The Summit provided a glimpse of the imaginative strategies that the various players have hatched, besides giving all an opportunity to network and explore even greater possibilities. 


Relevant Links:

·         Equity-like Capital for Social Ventures: See this fascinating report by SES speaker Michelle Giddens, formerly of ShoreBank, now with the UK’s innovative Bridges Community Ventures


FESer Melissa Leithwood attended the SES representing Net Impact.  Her thoughts on the experience:

Participation in the Social Entrepreneurship Summit at MaRS facilitated my understanding of the field, key players calibrating social entrepreneurship in Canada, and the current financing and human resource issues surfacing. The Summit was a great networking opportunity to build and uncover overlap amongst participants and to genuinely learn about alternative, or hybrid, social enterprise models coming to fruition; Cabbages and Condoms Resort in Thailand, the Centre for Social Innovation, and Evergreen at the Brick Works - soon to feature the flagship Jamie Kennedy foundation -amongst many more.
   After returning, the week before, from the Ivey School of Business, where my co-authored teaching case with Dr. Oana Branzei on sustainability at Jamie Kennedy Kitchens was launched to over 250 HBAs, I was anticipating the Summit to be a great forum to augment my research in design and sustainable value creation. Finally, coming away from the Summit I'd heard time and time again the need to attract high caliber socially mindful talent into social enterprises, especially those with financial know-how, making the sector ripe for new graduates willing to accept the trade-off of, for the most part, uncompetitive funding in the pursuit of a passion filled career-path.

         Editor’s Note: Melissa has just co-founded, with Jennifer Jones, the first Toronto Net Impact 

                           Professional chapter.  For further info, check out its website.



FESers Help GET Get Linked

          by Ayesha Ahmed, MES II

Ayesha Ahmed, along with Keith Brooks, did an internship with Green Enterprise Toronto (GET), Toronto’s local living economy network, during the summer of 2007.  Part of her work involved helping GET begin a business/products/services directory that can simultaneously help green people’s purchases and support local/sustainable business. 

Green Enterprise Toronto has a new project cooking! It hopes to launch a website that will enable both consumers and business partners to collaborate with the help of technology such as Tiki Wiki software to constructively discuss various Green Enterprise in and around the Greater Toronto Area. Currently, the domain name of this website is still to be decided but has been tentatively named gettoronto.ca.


The website is attractively designed – thanks to TikiWiki which enables users to design and upload images in a user-friendly and hassle-free manner. Currently, the main theme color is a pleasant shade of blue as the background, with black color for the font. As with most software applications, the font size and various other visual effects can be effected by modifying the syntax (jargon for programming code). If the above seems very tech - heavy, no fear! TikiWiki is so easy and thanks to Michael Pilling – the dynamic Project Leader – just a simple double click of any page on the website allows the user to view the syntax (TikiWiki code) that brings alive a webpage on the website.

                 …See full article



Building Sustainability into the Corporate Strategy

                     by Brad Zarnett

Brad Zarnett, MES II, spent the summer of 2007 working as the Sustainability Co-ordinator for Nienkämper Furniture in Scarborough, Ontario.

My 2007 summer internship placement was at Nienkämper Furniture & Accessories Inc.  As the Sustainability Co-ordinator, my role was to design and implement a corporate sustainability strategy that would combine Nienkämper’s current environmental policy and practices with innovative new initiatives.  Co-operation within the company was excellent; I was able to freely explore all aspects of sustainability.  The role provided me an excellent opportunity to put my theoretical learning into practice. 


In a very short time period, 13 weeks, we were able to achieve many successes including setting the foundation for an environmental management system, undertaking a comprehensive energy audit, identifying a no cost wood waste removal alternative, developing relationships with NGO’s who were doing research on sustainable raw material, exploring the installation of solar panels, and laying the foundation for an eco-culture that would continue to embrace sustainability initiatives long after my direct involvement ended.

               …See full article


Newsletter Futures

In early January, students interested in writing and editing the B&E Newsletter will meet to discuss the next issue and horizons for it.  Most desirable would be for it to be more completely a product of the students.  Students who can’t work on it, however, are encouraged to make known what they want to see more of:  from campus sustainability, internships reports and possibilities, to profiles of FES and Schulich teachers and staff, book reviews, economic debates, discussions of courses, and more.  Students (in the diploma program or not) who would like to participate, email coordinator Brian with your preference of days and times to meet. 



Quotes of the Month

"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

Kenneth Boulding


"A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory."

Steven Wright


To Perspectives on Green Business course webpage

To Business & Environment program page

To FES homepage