20
Jan
2017

Sustainable Business Fridays: Whoopi & Maya’s Cannabis Line Grows Sustainability

More than half the U.S. population lives in states with medical or adult use cannabis laws on the books. As the nascent cannabis industry grows, some business owners are careful to establish sustainable operations from the beginning. Maya Elisabeth, co-founder of Whoopi & Maya and founder of Om Edibles, is one of those smart business owners.

Maya Elisabeth began working in California’s cannabis industry after graduating from San Francisco State University. In 2008 she formed Om Edibles, an all-female collective, focusing on high-quality ingredients, including sun-grown cannabis. Om Edibles products have won seven High Times Cannabis Cup awards and Elisabeth enjoys a reputation as one of the best creators of medical cannabis products in California. In 2015, Elisabeth partnered with Whoopi Goldberg to create the Whoopi & Maya line of medical cannabis products, focused on providing relief from menstrual pain.

In this episode of Sustainable Business Fridays, Bard MBA student Jennifer Shelbo explores how Elisabeth’s choices, from cultivating sun-grown cannabis using organic methods to sourcing fair trade and organic ingredients for her product lines, demonstrates that incorporating sustainability into business operations is a recipe for success.

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5
Jan
2017

Sustainable Business Fridays: Progress: One Local Bite at at Time

All politics is local—none more than climate policy in the US after January 20, 2017. In the absence of the prospect of wider national action, local businesses have a significant opportunity to enhance the local economy and combat climate change through their operations. Glen’s Garden Market, based in Washington, DC, has been doing just this. From sourcing products within the Chesapeake Bay watershed to powering its stores with clean energy to providing living wages, Glen’s has been quietly pushing the environmental and social sustainability envelope while also incubating other small businesses as suppliers.

Emily Robichaux, a student in the Bard College MBA in Sustainability program, sat down with Danielle Vogel, a former Capitol Hill staffer and creator of Glen’s Garden Market, a local grocery store sourcing “good food from close by,” to discuss the role of mission-oriented small business in sustainable food systems and local economies.

Vogel earned a law degree and worked for ten years in federal policy, serving as domestic policy adviser to Congressman Christopher Shays and a Department of Justice environmental litigator enforcing the Clean Air Act. From December 2008 to March 2011, she was environmental counsel in the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman, where she helped draft the American Power Act. When the bill died, Vogel made the shift from policy to practice, becoming the fourth generation of grocers in her family while bringing a sustainable and local twist to the business. Vogel has been profiled in the Washington Post and Bloomberg for her approach to “making progress one bite at a time.”

Subscribe to the Bard MBA in Sustainability program to stay tuned in to our twice-monthly podcast series featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet.

 
 
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15
Dec
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Completing the Cycle of Good with Positive Impact Points

Wendy Gordon never set out to become a tech entrepreneur. But, after several decades working with environmental organizations, she saw an opportunity. Wendy and her co-founder David Sand thought to themselves, “Wouldn't it be nice if there were a program where you could get reward points not just for spending money but for spending money wisely and for making other smart choices - like walking or biking to work, opting for renewable energy or a certified pre-owned iPad, or choosing clothes based on where and how they were made?” And so, they embarked on a journey to create PIPs Rewards.

An experienced entrepreneur and pioneer in the conscious consumer movement, Wendy is founder and CEO of ‘Positive Impact Points’ or PIPs Rewards. A trademarked brand of 3P Partners, a Certified B Corporation, PIPs leverages the power of points, smart tools and games to record and reward daily life choices that deliver personal and planetary benefit. PIPs won Best Game prize in NYC BigApps 2014, the nation's leading civic innovations competition.

Wendy also co-founded Mothers & Others with Meryl Streep in 1989 and originated the Green Guide, which was acquired by National Geographic in 2007. She has co-authored numerous books, including the award-winning True Food: 8 Simple Steps to a Healthier You (National Geographic, 2009). She serves on multiple boards including Rainforest Alliance, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Green Sports Alliance and Eugene Lang/The New School.

 

Subscribe to the Bard MBA in Sustainability program to stay tuned in to our twice-monthly podcast series featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet.

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1
Dec
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Entrepreneurship and Giving Before Taking

Martin Freeman of Bard's MBA in Sustainability spoke with Adam Kearney, Founder and CEO of Propsboard, to discuss his early beginnings as a community organizer. Kearney raised over $96,000 in four months for a family in need, taught himself how to code, and founded Propsboard-- a peer recognition start-up that uses office TVs to amplify company’s superstars. Kearney's company digitized Google’s Peer Recognition tool, giving Propsboard the edge that it needed to compete in today’s marketplace. This interview also dives into Kearney's successes, failures, and timeless lessons on the road to becoming a serial entrepreneur.

 

Prior to founding Propsboard, Kearney was the CEO of Connectome, now acquired, a music intelligence company that specialized in search, discovery, and recommendations. He sits on the board for The Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, his alma mater. He is also the cofounder of Philly Startup Leaders, a flagship program featuring a fully integrated Startup Bootcamp and Accelerator helping up-and-coming entrepreneurs with strategy, vision, and execution.

“You have to be comfortable with failure, the unknown, and be relentless”.

- Adam Kearney 

 

Subscribe to the Bard MBA in Sustainability program to stay tuned in to our twice-monthly podcast series featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet. 

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17
Nov
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Recycling the Unrecycleable with TerraCycle

Alistair Hall from Bard’s MBA in Sustainability spoke with Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, to dig into this question, ‘why does garbage really exist?’

What is garbage? It’s a question that Szaky has been working to solve. Szaky and Terracycle start from the premise that everything can be recycled. Glass, metal, plastic are all recycled because there’s a straightforward business case to do so, but how about cigarette butts, paint, diapers, and more?

Terracycle’s imaginative approach and drive has taken them to 20 different countries, three seasons of a hit reality TV show, “Human Resources,” and the title of “The Coolest Little Start Up in America” by Inc. Magazine (to name just one of their many accolades).

The following Q&A is an edited excerpt from a Sustainable Business Fridays (SBF) podcast. SBF brings together students in Bard’s MBA in Sustainability with leaders in business, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Podbean.

 

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4
Nov
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Housing With Compassion, Development With A Vision

Sven Thiessen of Bard's MBA in Sustainability spoke with Elizabeth Celaya, Director of Organizational & Community Development at Hudson River Housing, Inc. Elizabeth oversees the agency’s Community Building & Engagement Department, and provides leadership to chart a course for future growth through strategic planning, partnership development, and fundraising.

Elizabeth spearheaded the creation of the Middle Main Revitalization initiative in the City of Poughkeepsie, a cross-sector collaboration focused on revitalizing the heart of the City’s Main Street. Starting with a shoestring budget and a handful of interested citizens, Elizabeth has spent the past six years growing this initiative into a key driver of change in the City of Poughkeepsie. Under her direction, the Initiative is responsible for coordinating monthly community meetings, community leadership trainings, neighborhood marketing, cultural events, economic development, and other activities that build strategic relationships and focus on strengthening the assets of the neighborhood. Recently, this work has expanded to include a focus on rural communities in Dutchess County which are facing unique affordability and economic development challenges.  

Subscribe to the Bard MBA in Sustainability program to stay tuned in to our twice-monthly podcast series featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet.  


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19
Oct
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Benchmarking Company Performance and CSR Practices

Reagan Richmond of Bard's MBA in Sustainability spoke with Bahar GidwaniCSRhub CEO and Cofounder. Gidwani shared his thoughts on the evolution of ESG metrics and the potential of uncovering “dark data” to drive greater transparency in corporate sustainability. His years of experience running large technology-based businesses and work on Wall Street brings a great depth to the topic of data and corporate sustainability reporting.  

Sustainability professionals are becoming inundated with surveys, reporting frameworks, and guidelines. As the reporting metrics evolve, the industry needs more accessible and consistent ways to evaluate performance. CSRHub is working to do just that. With more than 94 million pieces of corporate sustainability data in its database, CSRHub is making many publicly-available data sets easier to browse and access.

 

Subscribe to the Bard MBA in Sustainability program to stay tuned in to our twice-monthly podcast series featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet.  

 

 

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10
Oct
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Sustainability In the Name of Innovation & Awareness

Katie Ellman of Bard's MBA in Sustainability spoke with Maureen Kline, Vice President, Public Affairs & Sustainability, Pirelli Tire North America on the role that innovation and technology plays in the present and future of the tire industry, to not only make it more sustainable but to also continue to improve performance and safety. 

In addition to her work with Pirelli, Maureen also writes a weekly column on sustainability for www.inc.com.  She also chairs the board of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada and sits on the advisory board of the Corporate Responsibility Association where she co-chairs a Thought Leadership Council on Brand and Reputation Management.

Subscribe to the Bard MBA in Sustainability program to stay tuned in to our twice-monthly podcast series featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet.  

 

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25
May
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Macy’s Systems & Technology: Managing Change and Developing Human Capital

On May 6th, Bard MBA in Sustainability will be speaking with LaTrice Ross, Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Macy's Systems & Technology.

LaTrice works to ensure an inclusive environment where all employees are treated with respect. Prior to joining MST, LaTrice worked with Step IT Up America, which was a program designed to train and assist minority women in starting careers as IT consultant. According to Eban Goodstein, Director of the Bard MBA in Sustainability, "Inclusive human resources strategies are fundamental to the integrated bottom line and we are very eager to speak with Latrice to hear how Macy's Systems & Technology is applies these practices throughout their ecosystem."

Join the Bard MBA in Sustainability program for our twice-monthly dial-in podcast series over your lunchtime featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet.

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2
May
2016

Sustainable Business Fridays: Impact Investing, Women’s Leadership and Financial Literacy with Silda Wall Spitzer

On April 29th, Bard MBA in Sustainability spoke with Silda Wall Spitzer, Director and Principal, NewWorld Capital Group.


NewWorld Capital Group focuses primarily on business development and deal origination for both growth and infrastructure project investments and works to support the Firm’s portfolio companies. Wall Spitzer also serves as a member of the NewWorld Infrastructure Team. Before NewWorld, she was a Managing Director at Metropolitan Capital Advisors, an investment firm focusing on value opportunities, where she led strategic and business development. Wall Spitzer also served as First Lady of New York State where she worked to support the Administration’s goal of reducing fossil energy consumption 15% by 2015 with her initiatives promoting green buildings, alternative energy, and local food sources. Her I LIVE NY program engaged constituents to create livable communities and sustainable jobs.

Join the Bard MBA in Sustainability program for our twice-monthly dial-in podcast series over your lunchtime featuring sustainability leaders from the New York City area and across the planet. Sustainable Business Fridays convenes every first and fourth Friday of the month during the semester, with special guests selected by students in the Bard MBA in Sustainability program. 
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