Sustainability: From the Fringe to the Core of Business

From: Green Mountain College
October 10th, 2012 | 0 Comments

Henry Ford once said, “Business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.”

In 2012, as business continues to feel the change of consumer expectation and engages in a social media age echoing the words “Corporate Responsibility”, the issue of sustainability rises to the top. Now more than ever, the shift from selling a product to creating one’s brand identity means the growth or death of a company seeking to compete in a marketplace of adopters. If you don’t adapt, you face desertion along with the stubborn, status quo likes of an older generation, wondering why you didn’t figure out sooner that how you produce is increasingly as important as what you produce.

Seeing a deep need and rapid growth in the segment of “green lovers”, Amazon.com acquired online retailer Vine.com, a place for buying green products without the hassle of sifting through the millions of listings on Amazon’s main site. Vine.com’s model highlights the specific needs and wants – by product – of their visitors and key audience. Shoppers are able to narrow searches by toxin-free and even support local business while ordering online by specifying a desire to purchase from vendors within 100 miles of their home.

The launch and acquisition of Vine.com is a great example of how businesses update or increase their offerings to keep their consumers happy and interested. As brands develop new ways to remain relevant to a powerful and vocal niche, so must they develop the expertise within their ranks to research, observe, address, and meet the needs of the green community. In response, the sphere of higher education has reached a point of high demand for bachelor’s and master’s programs with an emphasis on green and sustainability issues, particularly in business.

The entry into green programs at universities and colleges across the country ranges from a young professional seeking additional expertise to a career veteran looking to sharpen their skills and increase their value within a corporation or organization. In addition to corporations growing their brand identity as part of a community of innovators, colleges and innovators must continually adapt to the learning needs of students by practicing what they preach. For example, colleges and universities that have been offering traditional campus programs are now offering online degrees to decrease the carbon footprint among adult learners who would otherwise face lengthy commutes to participate in higher education.

The lesson of these model changes and shifts in ideology is holism. Systems, industries and brands depend on an all-hands-on-deck approach to survive in a start-up and take-off age. As business embraces a once fringe sustainable concentration, and leads projects and initiatives for their survival using green tactics and operations, the demand for sustainable degrees, particularly MBAs, will see an exponential impact.

Sponsored by Green Mountain College

Green Mountain College is located in Poultney, Vermont and fronted the Sustainable MBA movement. Green Mountain College offers an online Sustainable MBA that fully integrates the principles of green enterprise and business in each course. Committed to its cause, Green Mountain College has received numerous awards in relation to its sustainability efforts. More information can be found at greenmba.greenmtn.edu.