The Leeds School of Business has a long-standing commitment to sustainable business practices that stretches back more than 20 years. The Leeds School believes that environmental stewardship and social responsibility are consistent with running a profitable business. Indeed, a central message underlying the entrepreneurial emphasis of the school is that enormous opportunities exist to “do well by doing good” in environmental, social, and ethical terms, all while maintaining and enhancing economic sustainability.
The Leeds School’s overarching goal with its sustainability initiatives is to educate and inspire students to become values-driven leaders who create sustainable businesses and develop new innovative models that transform how we do business in all sectors. It is noteworthy that a broad array of Leeds’ business partners, such as the natural and organic products industry in Boulder, the sustainable real estate development community, and the burgeoning Colorado renewable energy industry, have all contributed significantly to the realization of this goal. In addition, local and nationally-recognized, values-driven business leaders are woven into the Leeds educational experience; students regularly engage with such leaders in the classroom and the workplace through projects, speaking engagements, and internships.
Leeds students benefit from the wide array of sustainability activities at CU-Boulder, which nicely complement their sustainability-oriented coursework at the Leeds School. The CU campus was recently named the #1 US green campus by Sierra Magazine; is top-ranked as a sustainable campus by the Sustainable Endowments Institute; and was selected to be an Ashoka Changemaker campus for its interdisciplinary program on social entrepreneurship.
Sustainability is a collaborative effort at the Leeds School, combining the efforts of the Center for Education on Social Responsibility (CESR), the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Real Estate Center, as well as the efforts of individual faculty members and divisions. CESR focuses its efforts on promoting a discussion of values and on corporate social responsibility; the Deming Center specializes in environmental, food, and energy sustainability; and the Real Estate Center a leader in the integration of sustainable principles into real estate and development. The Real Estate Center’s Initiative for Sustainable Development provides partnerships, advisory services, research and teaching.
Together, these organizations and the faculty of the Leeds School offer a full spectrum of opportunity for students seeking to immerse themselves in learning about social and environmental challenges in business settings. Courses of study and experiential opportunities involving sustainability are available to graduate and undergraduate students alike.
Across the Boundaries
In addition to their own specific offerings, CESR, the Deming Center, and the Real Estate Center have built bridges to establish collaborative initiatives that cross traditional business school boundaries. For example, CESR and the Deming Center coordinate efforts on "values-driven entrepreneurship" to support not only social entrepreneurship but also the integration of values and sustainability principles into business models and practices. In 2010 CESR along with ICOSA Magazine, in collaboration with the Deming Center, cohosted a conference for business students in local universities on Conscious Capitalism. The Real Estate Center's 2009 conference on Climate Change and the New Frontiers of Urban Development was also cosponsored by the Deming Center. All three groups offer mentoring programs and share resources and ideas, preparing students for employment in the rapidly expanding field of sustainable business.