Sustainable Business Conference connects students with green companies 

JMSB Dean Sanjay Sharma welcomes guests to the 2010 Sustainable Business Conference. Magnifying glass

JMSB Dean Sanjay Sharma welcomes guests to the 2010 Sustainable Business Conference.

On March 19, the student-run John Molson Sustainable Business Group (JSG) was proud to hold the sixth annual Sustainable Business Conference in the MB Building.

As always, the goal of the conference was to connect JMSB students with businesses that have incorporated sustainability into their practices.

“The day was geared towards how businesses should implement sustainable practices and how sustainability will become the norm,” said conference co-organizer Philippe Noeltner. “This is what will give businesses the competitive edge in the future.”

He and co-organizers Alessandra Boezio and Gaurav Bishnoi were pleased to invite speakers from a variety of businesses staying ahead of the curve to show students sustainability works.

The speakers were IBM Managing Consultant Jean Francois Barsoum; Advisory Services partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Pierre Taillefer; Director of Éco-quartier Peter-McGill Paul Antoine Troxler; the Samuel C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University Stuart Hart; Manager of Environmental Affairs (Canada, Latin America) at World Color Press Inc. Jennifer Ross Jones; and a panel discussion featuring Groupe Adaptation’s Pierre Alexandre Hurtubise, and Takt Etik sustainability consultants Chrystal Healy and Philippe Lanthier.

The final presentation of the day was Cohesion Strategies’ Cristiane Bourbonnais, who was part of the team that has spent the last two and a half years revamping the STM’s image and practices.

Cohesion Strategies helped the STM understand there was value in responding to the public’s desire to see the transit system become more environmentally friendly. Since they unveiled their new blue-green-yellow chevron campaign in May last year (along with measures such as several hybrid and higher-capacity buses and increased metro services), the STM has experienced a dramatic upswing in positive public image, building on the perception that public transport as a viable, green way to avoid using automobiles.

“There was genuine interest and real curiosity based on the presentations,” said Boezio of the nearly 200 people in attendance.

“Businesses want to recruit and accommodate top talent,” she says. “If top students are equipped with sustainable values, there are many innovative companies willing to invest in new people with new ideas,” Boezio said. “Businesses are beginning to adapt to them. You really can change a business from within.”

“I learned that it is possible, that you don’t have to be afraid of being sustainable. You just have to go for it,” said Noeltner.

From its beginning in 2004 until 2008, the conference was organized by Sustainable Concordia, but moved wholly into the JMSB in 2008 with the development of the JSG, the organizing group for the last two years.


Concordia University