Certificate In Sustainable Business Workshop held by Victoria Hurth

“The sustainable marketing, it was relevant to both the course and future.” Ba Marketing

Earlier in the year a group of students met in Mast House to learn more about Sustainable Business, and its far reaching consequences from the highly experienced Dr Victoria Hurth. With sustainability being such a buzzword which is lobbied around, both within the media and the business world, having an understanding of the concepts and its applications within business is incredibly beneficial from both an academic and employability standpoint.

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The one day workshop was structured so that the concept of sustainability could be viewed as a holistic theory. Sustainability was introduced first, with references to energy consumption and the pairing energy crisis. Concepts such the need to take a step back from fossil fuels to be truly sustainable were introduced to students. Take an electric car for instance, the energy used to power the auto-mobile is perceived as “cleaner” than diesel fuel, however if this electricity has been generated from a fossil fuel in the first place, it negates the assumed environmental, and accompanying benefits.

how much energy we use

After the initial overview of sustainability was covered we moved onto concepts such as economics and accounting with reference to sustainability. I found this particularly interesting as an individual who has an incredibly basic knowledge of economics I found this aspect both interesting and accessible, Victoria introduced the concepts and encouraged discussion and questioning. One of the key concepts we covered in this section, was Integrated Reporting: a concise method of communicating the strategy, governance, past performance and future prospects of a business or organisation. All of which lead to the creation of value in the short, medium and long term.

Victoria managed to keep the workshop interesting through a variety of mediums, including videos. She introduced us to Interface Flor, a business operating upon the concepts of a closed loop system, the company manages to eliminate waste, potential waste cuts of carpet tiles are reprocessed to once again create a functioning useful product. Another service they offer is rental of carpets, where they maintain the product until the end of its life, when they reprocess it ultimately creating a service.

“The big picture on sustainability that involves economics, concept and marketing towards a sustainable future.” Msc Business Management Student

An interesting thought we finished upon was that of marketing, and its ability to impact upon sustainability. Recently companies like Shell were putting pressure on the government to permit drilling for oil in the Arctic, a move which would have irreversible and far reaching environmental consequences. Greenpeace wanted to find a way to both stop this from happening and raise awareness. Lego and Shell have a long standing partnership, Legos toys often feature the companies branding, Greenpeace decided to create a haunting and simple video to put pressure on Lego and speak to the brands audience, predominately parents of young children. As a result of the video embedded below, Lego dropped their partnership with Shell, affecting the business and promoting the message of the charity further.

“Well structured, well presented, discussion good!” Msc Business Management Student

Like all of our weekend workshops the event was catered and had tea and coffee facilities available, with lots of small breaks scheduled throughout the workshop. The last break was a cupcake one, which everyone was grateful for. The sugar rush was a perfect accompaniment to the final concept of sustainable marketing, giving us all a final sugar rush.

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Yum!

The workshop was incredibly comprehensive, and structured so to introduce a brief but ultimately very full understanding of sustainability, and how it isn’t ever one single thing. Alongside the introduction of the concept, real life business case studies and applications were introduced. As shown above with Interface Flor, aspects of sustainability can be fully ingrained into a business, its processes and ethos to not only place them in a standing of high moral stead, but also increase profitability and minimise loss. By implementing their closed loop system, Interface Flor has transformed what would previously be a worthless, or potentially costly waste item if disposal is considered, into a new product which can now make the company money.

This is a workshop we have repeated annually for a number of years and always proves popular, keep your eye out for future instances of both this workshop, and others events.

previous years workshops
Students with their certificates from the 2013 workshop.


Emily Lane
Emily Lane

futurescentre@plymouth.ac.uk

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