'Irresistable' Ideas for Sustainable Business Educational Campaigns
Trudy Heller, Executive Education for the Environment, USA
Previous GIN Conferences emphasized the URGENT need for societal transformation to sustainability, noting the rapid industrialization of China and Vietnam. This poster/presentation questions how the ideas and practices of sustainable business might reach a “tipping point” and spread rapidly, like an epidemic.

As an interdisciplinary field, sustainable business education is framed in many different ways – depending on the home discipline of the instructor or practitioner. This poster/session seeks to connect theory and practice by highlighting three ideas that underlie many, disparate approaches to the greening of industry. This poster/session nominates three ideas, and invites others, for their “stickiness,” or potential to spread rapidly and drive change.

The first idea is that we are in the midst of a second industrial revolution. We had plentiful natural resources and scarce labor during the first industrial revolution. Now we have scarce natural resources and plentiful labor -- a situation requiring much more efficient use of natural resources. Practices supported by this idea include, energy efficiency, development of renewable sources of energy, and product dematerialization.

The second idea is to eliminate the concept of waste entirely. The output of all industrial processes would, then, be either biodegraded in an ecosystem or used as input to another industrial process in an industrial ecology. Practices supported by this idea include recycling, take-back and extended producer responsibility, industrial ecology, life-cycle analysis, and product service system analysis.

The third idea concerns serving emerging markets. Anyone can see, the thinking goes, that several planets would be required to absorb the pollution if China or India, for example, develop with an environmental footprint as large as that of the USA . This idea supports the development of "leapfrogging" and disruptive technologies, the innovation of eco-products, and the rethinking of business models and marketing.

Examples of theory and practice will illustrate each idea.