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Free webinar series on sustainable business, Syrian education entrepreneur and the $500 million choc

As the Director of Sustainability at the Smeal College of Business, it is my responsibility to keep my mind constantly steeping in a solution of: 1 part business, 1 part technology, and 1 part each of environmental and social impact, including emerging science, news and events. (Stir together and steep for years until it reaches desired level of understanding).

In "That's News to Me" I share what I am reading with the growing Triple Bottom Lion community. I just finished Eliyahu Goldratt's THE GOAL and because we hosted a guest presenter on impact investing I listened to Michael Lewis' LIAR'S POKER.


Dow Joins Forces with Erb Institute to Expand Sustainability Literacy through Online Education Series

This goes in the category of Dang I Wish I Would Have Thought of That...I like what Michigan is doing for Earth Week with academics from several campuses.

"In celebration of Earth Day, The Dow Chemical Company and the Erb Institute of University of Michigan are partnering to host the inaugural Elements of Sustainability Series, a free online education event taking place April 16-20, with webinars posted daily at 3 p.m. ET.

The week-long webinar series will explore the fundamentals of sustainability as seven renowned academics share their expert insights on the leading global challenges shaping the future of business, society and sustainability.

Webinars will go live at 3 p.m. ET each day and share the presenters’ unique perspectives, experiences and research in sustainability and business:

  • April 16: A Brief History of Sustainability and Business Transformation presented by Dr. Sara Soderstrom, University of Michigan and Reducing Environmental Impacts Using Life Cycle Assessment presented by Dr. Jeremiah Johnson, NC State

  • April 17: The Follies of Neoliberalism: A Sustainability-Oriented Approach to Business and Society presented by Dr. Tima Bansal, Ivey Business School

  • April 18: Climate Change: How to Tackle a Wicked Problem presented by Dr. Daniel Vermeer, Duke University and Consumer Perceptions and Behavior presented by Dr. Kaitlin Raimi, University of Michigan

  • April 19: Decision-Making for the Triple-Bottom-Line presented by Dr. Joe Arvai, University of Michigan

  • April 20: The Next Phase of Business Sustainability presented by Dr. Andrew Hoffman, University of Michigan"


Today’s Chic Look? ‘Upcycled’ Clothes (Wall Street Journal)

Upcycling clothes are Ralph Lauren and other high end retailers

Image credit: "An upcycled jacket from Polo Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2018 collection F. Martin Ramin/Wall Street Jounral. Styling by Anne Cardenas

There is downcycling (bad) and upcycling (good) and it's good to see big brands following consumer preference for the good. This follows trends in many industries for not just greener products but better products.

"Polo Ralph Lauren, Missoni, Vetements and other labels are digging into their archives or scouring vintage stores for old garments that can be refashioned into different ones, a practice they call upcycling. Designers say they are extending the life cycle of clothes that might otherwise be discarded in landfills."


Syria's refugee children: Futures lost to the war and one girl's campaign for education (Aljazeera)

Muzoon Almellehan and Malala Yousafzai. Image Credit: Malala Fund blog

The news headlines and soundbites about Syria can (admittedly) numb my better sensibilities. I found this story enlightening, humbling and amazing.

Muzoon Almellehan, 20, has spearheaded a campaign to promote the right of refugee children to an education. She stands before a daunting tide of a generation of Syrians without the opportunity to get an education because of the war. According to the UN agencies, some 43 percent of Syrian refugee children in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq are out of school.


Hershey to spend $500 million making more sustainable kisses (Chicago Tribune)

Image credit: Luke Sharret/Bloomberg

From Wal-Mart's much lauded Gigaton project to Starbucks goal to make coffee the world's first sustainable crop, the supply chain is receiving a lot of attention as a hot spot for greater resource efficiency and responsible investment.

"Through its so-called Cocoa for Good program, the company will invest the funds through 2030 to support four key areas: nourishing children, empowering youth, building prosperous communities and preserving natural ecosystems. The initiative's goals include eliminating child labor and increasing shade-grown cocoa, which can be productive for as much as 15 years longer than plants grown in full sun."


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