UConn Faculty Explore Sustainability Initiatives through CIBER “Green Business: Australia” Program

The University of Connecticut Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) hosted the inaugural “Green Business: Australia” Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) program January 7-19, 2013.

Objectives of this development program focused on how Australian businesses are incorporating sustainable development strategies for environmental, social, and economic benefit.

During the 12-day program, 11 participants from UConn and other schools visited businesses across the country’s East Coast, attended lectures and engaged in discussions with faculty from the University of Queensland Business School, and explored areas of environmental, cultural, and historical importance.

“It was a fantastic faculty global learning experience,” said Katherine A. Pancak, professor of finance & real estate within the UConn School of Business. “The [FDIB] program provided several opportunities for participants to explore a wide range of sustainability initiatives in Australia and to interact with leading business educators and researchers in sustainability.”

The program started in Sydney, where participants visited Perfect Potion, an award-winning Australian skin care brand; Lend Lease, a world leader in sustainable real estate development, construction, and property management; and Infigen Energy, an investor in renewable energy sources. The group also visited with Muru Mittgar, a local Aboriginal community, and learned about Australia’s indigenous population’s land stewardship philosophy.

During free time, some of the group had the experience of a lifetime by participating in BridgeClimb Sydney®, completing a twilight climb up and down the upper arch of the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Following their time in Sydney, the group went on an excursion to Lady Elliott Island, an eco-resort that is part of a national park on the southernmost island in the Great Barrier Reef. Participants were able to observe how the resort operates on a sustainable basis by using solar technology and employing numerous measures to protect the island’s environment.

In Brisbane, the group was hosted by the University of Queensland Business School. Head of the School and Academic Dean Andrew Griffiths, one of the first scholars in the world to study corporate resilience and adaptation to long-term global climate change, spent a considerable amount of time with the group, offering perspectives on industry sustainability and sharing strategies for integrating sustainability topics across the business school curriculum.

Presentations were made on a wide spectrum of environmental, economic, and social sustainability issues by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, the Sustainable Minerals Institute, Origin Energy, the Global Change Institute, and Blue Care Australia.

In addition to making site visits to Virgin Australia and RockCote Enterprises, the group gained valuable experience with carbon management and trading issues by participating in the CarbonGame, an industry carbon trading simulation developed by the UQ CarbonLab. They also toured Australia’s largest rooftop photovoltaic solar system, featuring over 5000 solar panels that save over 1700 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually.

The second Green Business: Australia FDIB is tentatively scheduled for January 2014.

PHOTO: 1st row (l-r): Daniela Gyulai (UQ), Nora Madjar-Nanovska (UConn), Faye Larson (St. Catherine’s University), Maurice Gervais (Simmons College), Shantaram Hegde (UConn), Ariel Ho (UQ), Mary Henderson (St. Catherine’s University). 2nd row (l-r): Steve Diack (UQ), Sheryl Blanchard (UQ), Kelly Aceto (UConn), Katherine Pancak (UConn), Mohammed Hussein (UConn), Brian Hentz (UConn), Daniel Burkard (UConn), Andrew Griffiths (UQ).

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