Thought Leadership that Drives Value for All
The Center for Sustainable Business strives to push the boundaries of creative and innovative thinking regarding the role of sustainability and partnership in corporate business models. As such, this branch of the Center focuses on collaboration, networking, and knowledge-sharing surrounding best practices, challenges, and experiences in implementing more sustainable business strategies.
The Sustainable Business Forum
The flagship program of the Center’s direct engagement with companies is the Sustainable Business Forum (SBF). All companies who sponsor the Center are invited to participate in the SBF, a peer-to-peer learning network that combines cutting-edge academic insight with open discussion of best practices, challenges, and opportunities that companies face in striving to embed the principle of sustainability throughout their organizations.
The SBF is designed to help companies learn how to leverage their investment in sustainability to create more business and social value. At the SBF, this primarily takes place through four major channels:
- demonstrating the linkages between sustainability and all aspects of the organization,
- sharing best practices across companies,
- sharing insights from the latest academic research, and
- integrating feedback from relevant non-corporate institutional partners.
By facilitating the sharing of experiences and lessons learned across companies and integrating leading academic research on sustainability and business outcomes, we help companies magnify the impact of every dollar invested in sustainability in order to generate value across the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit.
With the SBF, our unique approach involves hosting full-day, semi-annual meetings (each fall and spring) that bring together sustainability managers from leading companies with their colleagues from other departments (e.g. human resources, investor relations, marketing, etc.) to demonstrate the linkages between sustainability and other departments within the company, thereby maximizing the value of these investments.
Each meeting of the SBF has a theme (e.g. Sustainability and Investor Relations) and attendees work together to problem solve around shared challenges. Across meetings, the sustainability manager from each sponsor company remains a constant, while the other company representative rotates depending on the theme. By encouraging the building of bridges between sustainability officers and department heads within diverse companies, we encourage a culture of commitment to the principle of sustainability that will have lasting impacts on organizational strategy.
While companies are the core members of the SBF, each meeting is informed by other relevant institutional partners germane to the theme of the meeting, such as regulators, government officials, academics, foundations, and NGOs. We also work with colleagues at the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN), the implementing agency linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to incorporate information about the SDGs as they relate to SBF meeting themes.
To summarize, the advantages of participating in the SBF for member companies are as follows:
- Learn how triple bottom line strategies (i.e. People, Planet, & Profit) create value for different functional areas within the company.
- Discuss best practices, opportunities, and challenges of implementing sustainability strategies with other companies.
- Formulate and implement strategies that maximize both business and societal value.
- Engage in bespoke opportunities for research, executive education, or other customized assistance in the sustainability arena.
Companies who sponsor the Center at any level are guaranteed exclusive access to the SBF and all of its amenities as part of their membership package.