In our first year, we’ve made great strides in promoting business sustainability, and we have much more in the works for the upcoming years.
Current Year: 2019-20
Throughout the year, In the Green has brought guest speakers to share their research, knowledge, and resources.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Speakers Event
In the Green hosted The Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace event in Spring 2019, which included a panel of three guest speakers who discussed the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace followed by an open Q&A session. The guest speakers included the Director of the Womxn’s Hub, Tamara Austin; the Director of the Disabilities Services Center, Karen Andrews; and an Intern at the LGBTQ Resource Center, Charlie Crain.
For many in the audience, it was their first time hearing about the Pink Tax, LGBTQ+ barriers, and disability numbers. Many of the attendees spoke with the speakers afterwards and commented that they have never been to such interesting and fun events
Due to positive feedback from our audience, we plan to host future panelist events that highlight more aspects of social sustainability.
Weighing in on Zero Waste
In the Green conducted a 5-day waste audit of Paul Merage in Week 1 of Spring Quarter 2019, which included weighing the dumpster bins, sampling trash bags to sort, and noting the amount amount of recycling/landfill/composting bins on site. From the results of the audit, we found three main problems:
- Merage only has a 26% diversion rate from landfills, whereas UC’s goal of being zero waste requires 95% diversion. 30% of trash in weight found in the landfill is recyclable. With the recycling bin overflowing, this indicates there is an insufficient amount of recycling cans throughout the area.
- Among the two Merage buildings and their courtyard, they have the following amount of bins: 13 Recycling Bins, 61 Landfill Bins, and 0 Compost Bins.
- From the dumpster site that Merage manages, they have the following amount of dumpsters: 1 Recycling Dumpster, 2 Landfill Dumpsters, and 0 Compost Dumpsters.
- To increase the accuracy of sorting trash, we will be placing labels on all sides of the bins instead of the current situation in which bins have zero or one info-graphic.
- We applied for a TGIF grant to install recycling bins and compost bins. We will have a total of: 56 Recycling Bins, 61 Landfill Bins, and 4 Compost Bins.
- Thanks to the help of Anne Krieghoff, Facilities Management Sustainability Program Manager, we now have: 2 Recycling Dumpsters, 2 Landfill Dumpsters, and 1 Compost Dumpster.
Business Ethics and Business Sustainability Course Proposal
Although UCI is recognized as one of the greenest campuses in the United States, there are 0 ethics/sustainability management courses recognized by UCI. Thus, we authored a 68 page report in June 2018 to propose creating business sustainability and ethics courses within the Paul Merage Undergraduate Curriculum. The paper analyzed businesses, UCI, and Merage in terms of sustainability. It also included a survey among 117 students who took management courses. Overwhelmingly, students are in favor of business sustainability and ethics courses. 116 out of 117 students want courses related to business sustainability and ethics. 98% of respondents believe those topics are necessary in today’s global market.
Food Recovery Program: “Zot Bites”
In an effort to address and reduce food waste across campus from catered events, Fresh Basic Needs Hub is launching Zot Bites, a text message notification system alerts students when food is available after a catered event on campus. In the Green is partnering with Fresh Basic Needs Hub to pilot the program at Merage. Merage hosts catering events daily with all of the food thrown away in the landfill. This program will both mitigate food insecurity and reduce waste.
Case Study Competition
The primary purpose of the Case Study Competition is to build a relationship among business, the planet, and society. A sustainable business case study competition would allow students to tackle the interrelated business and sustainability aspects companies face. This competition is not focused on the bottom line, but rather the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit). Undergraduate and graduate students would form teams to provide solutions to a case challenge presented by the sponsored company.
Sustainable Business Expo
Various local businesses in the environmental sector, as well as local businesses with sustainable practices, will be attending the event to recruit student interns and/or employees. The event will be primarily held for business administration students, but it will be marketed to the entire UCI campus community. The goal is to let students know there are many ways to contribute to environmentally responsible companies even if they are not actively studying environmental science.