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Heinz Endowment Grant

The Heinz Endowments Awards $800,000 to Pitt’s Center for Sustainable Business  

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 10, 2021 – The Heinz Endowments has awarded an $800,000 grant to the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Sustainable Business (CSB) to advance its guidance of companies to generate better business and societal outcomes. 

The Center, established in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, has been working since 2019 to help students and companies learn how to leverage investments in sustainability. This new, two-year grant brings The Heinz Endowments’ overall support of the CSB to $1.175 million. 

The grant announcement comes amid the COP26, the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which concludes Nov. 12. Held in Glasgow, Scotland, it is being attended by the United States and other countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994. 

“The Center’s collaborative strategies for guiding organizations toward more sustainable practices will help improve regional environmental quality, promote a higher quality of life, and create a more prosperous future for all,” said Andrew McElwaine, vice president for sustainability at The Heinz Endowments. “We are pleased to support these important efforts to equip businesses with the knowledge and leadership needed to become more sustainable.” 

Attention to the health of our people, the health of our planet and the economic health of the companies has never been more important in business, said CB Bhattacharya, the H.J. Zoffer Chair in Sustainability and Ethics and a globally recognized author and researcher in the field of sustainable business strategy, who leads the CSB. As a prime example of this relevance and strength of the CSB community, during COP26, Accenture — an S&P 100 as well as CDP climate change A List company — joined as the newest member of the Center to participate in the biannual Sustainable Business Forums and thus further engage this thinking across its teams. 

 “It’s only when individuals are trained and empowered as sustainability generalists that a culture of sustainability can take root and begin to yield benefits for all stakeholders both inside and outside of the company,” Bhattacharya said. “Our mission is to help companies tackle that all-important question of ‘how’ to best embed sustainability throughout the organization.” 

Chris Gassman, associate director of the CSB, said the grant will be used to help the member companies as well as the broader community, with increased emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses, which create half of the jobs in the Pittsburgh region. The funding will support sustainability research, benchmarking, informational sessions and other education resources, all driven by the Center’s three priority workstreams: 

  • Decarbonize Middle America efforts will increase the number of companies with working 2030 Target strategies aligned to the Paris Accord’s 1.5 degrees Celsius ambitions for a just transition to clean and circular economies. This includes the Center’s Marshall Plan for Middle America initiative.
  • Workforce 100% efforts will increase the number of companies that turn rhetoric into action with strategies toward workforces 100% representative of their communities with decent work for all by 2030.  
  • ESG Rosetta Stone efforts will increase the Environmental, Social, Governance literacy of Western Pennsylvania in partnership with Doughnut Economics Action Lab and others to attract literate talent into more leadership roles in all sizes and levels who are able to collaborate across all functions by 2025. 

The Center works with a diverse group of global and regional companies who are committed to investing in research and education on best practices and innovation in the field of sustainable business strategy. Sponsors include: Accenture, BASF, Consol Energy, DICK’s Sporting Goods, Inc., Enel, Evoqua, IBM, Ingevity, Peoples, PITT OHIO, PPG and Tarkett. 

“In collaboration with corporate partners and world-class scholars across the University, Pitt Business is committed to investigating the crucial questions that will enable new models and inform best practices in sustainable business,” says Arjang A. Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean. “We also feel that this is a pivotal component of our educational mission.”  

The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to its work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls Southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive. 

Media coverage of this announcement: PittwirePitt Business