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Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2009

Voluntary carbon offsets allow people to invest in projects that allegedly counteract their greenhouse gas emissions. But can voluntary offsets help slow global warming? Or are offsets simply a way for guilt-ridden consumers to buy their way out of bad feelings? —By Matthew J. Kotchen

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2009

Find out how Nau, an ultra-cool outdoor clothing start-up from Portland, Ore., tried on too much, too fast. —By Suzie Boss

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2009

E + Co connects the dots between energy, poverty, and the environment. —By Suzie Boss

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2009

Research finds human extinction looms near if consumption levels do not decrease.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2009

Britain tries building carbon-neutral housing to address its housing shortage. 

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
[photo - Solar Power]

Report from Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance outlines four scenarios for industry “glocalization."

Resource: News Article
[photo - Penguin]

On a trip to the continent, students and business leaders explore the impact of warming, and potential solutions.

Resource: News Article
[photo - China’s Solar-Panel Boom and Bust]

How a mad dash into a burgeoning sector turned into a scramble for support.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Companies Emphasize the Environment Over Employees]

A professor of organizational behavior argues that "human sustainability" may pay off too.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Trae Vassallo, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and cofounder]

For this venture capitalist, it all comes down to connecting with people – from family to coworkers to customers.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Spring 2006

Does an organization’s size correlate with its effectiveness? By Mark Dowie

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Winter 2005

Environmental lawyers around the world join forces via E-LAW. By Laila Weir

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2005

The Kazakh biologist, activist, and environmental prize recipient discusses how radiation continues to taint her country's soil, water, crops, and livestock.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2004

How employees push their companies – little by little – to be more socially responsible.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2004

Why does the social sector need social movements?

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

Using existing microfinance institutions and recent developments in the carbon credit markets on the supply side to facilitate the adoption of clean energy for the very poor.

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Wal-Mart]

In 2005, Wal-Mart's CEO announced a corporation-wide environmental sustainability initiative to go green. The company would take drastic measures to cut down on waste, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions, thus generating savings that would be passed on to the customer. Andrew Ruben, who spearheads the effort supported by consultant Jib Ellison, explains to a Stanford MBA audience in this University podcast why Wal-Mart is engaging in sustainability.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Gary Hirshberg]

Can businesses deliver strong returns to shareholders while also promoting the health of people and the planet? In this audio lecture recorded at Bridging the Gap, the 2005 Stanford Net Impact conference, Gary Hirshberg, the phenomenally successful pioneer of the organic foods industry, utters a resounding yes.

Resource: Audio
[photo - William McDonough]

When it comes to environmental sustainability, William McDonough is nothing less than a hero for the planet. In this audio lecture, he discusses how he has designed eco-friendly buildings with unique properties, such as the ability to produce oxygen. He urges his audience of Stanford Graduate School of Business students to set goals not toward an efficient bottom line of doing the wrong thing less badly, but rather toward the effective top line of doing the right thing.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Amory Lovins]

Oil dependence is an unnecessary problem, argues Amory Lovins, an internationally recognized expert in energy policy. In this audio lecture, Lovins demonstrates how, by the mid 2040s, the United States could reduce its need for oil completely and strengthen its economy in the process. Addressing the 2005 Stanford Net Impact conference audience, he talks about the fundamental shifts that the American society needs to undergo to make this scenario a reality.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Dr. Pamela Hartigan, Jacqueline Novogratz, Bruce McNamer]

From clean water to disease control and global climate change, a new breed of business people is designing sustainable solutions to promote international development and reduce global poverty. Hear from the leaders in this panel discussion about how they are applying business discipline to improve livelihood in many different nations.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Unleashing Green Chemistry: A Societal Need and Business Opportunity]

A panel on the the importance of mainstreaming and investing in green chemistry for the future of energy and the environment.

Resource: Video
[Video-Al Gore: Leaders Must Supply Vision, Values & Goals]

The Stanford Graduate School of Business View from the Top Series hosted former Vice President Al Gore where he spoke to over 600 students on leadership, solutions for the climate crisis, and sustainable capitalism.

Resource: Video
[Video-Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Perspectives from California]

California, the ninth largest economy in the world, recently launched a new carbon cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, leads this program that could provide a model to support other regional or national efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Video
[Video-US-wide Carbon Policy: Two MBAs' Perspectives]

As part of the annual Conradin Von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment, Mike Volpe, MBA '13, and Jake Saper, MBA '14, lay out an argument for a US-wide carbon policy.

Resource: Video
[Video-James Sweeney: A Sustainable Energy System]

James Sweeney, director of Stanford's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, discusses green cities at a Stanford GSB conference.

Resource: Video
[Video-Stanford's Guatemala Service Learning Trip, 2008-3]

Getting Passionate About the Supply Chain: On a 3-hour bus ride, students debated the coffee supply chain and what could be done. For John Joseph, it "was fun to see how passionate they were about it."

Resource: Video
[Video-Stanford's Guatemala Service Learning Trip, 2008-2]

From Bean to Cup-of-Coffee Complex: Students first thought the coffee supply chain was boring. The more they experienced Guatemala, the more they realized the story was far more complex.

Resource: Video
[Video-Stanford's Guatemala Service Learning Trip, 2008-1]

On a service learning trip to Guatemala, John Joseph, MBA '08, and classmates visited small producers right up to the Starbucks' organization, as well as NGOs like As Green As It Gets.

Resource: Video
[Video-Stanford's Guatemala Service Learning Trip, 2008-6]

Environment and the Supply Chain: MBA student Tom Mercer, Class of '07, got a chance to see different views on the supply chain from varied perspectives: the corporate perspective (Starbucks), as well as those of individual coffee farmers.

Resource: Video
[Video-Stanford's Guatemala Service Learning Trip, 2008-11]

The trip to Guatemala gave Sarah Garrett, MBA '08, the opportunity to discover where that cup of coffee that she enjoys daily comes from, seeing the whole process from the farmer growing the beans to the final step of getting that cup of coffee from the servers at Starbucks.

Resource: Video
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases
No Results Found
[photo - Stefan J. Reichelstein]

In 2010, REI considered adding photovaltaic solar panels to the roofs of some of its facilities for both financial and environmental considerations. This case discusses the company's experience with solar power generation as well as providing representative assumptions for parameters in the financial analysis.

Resource: Academic Case

The Global Environment Fund (GEF) is a private equity fund focused on investments in environmental and energy solutions in both developed and developing markets. The case recounts two previous GEF investments in emerging markets, a South African forestry company and a Southeast Asian waste management business, as examples of successful management strategies for creating value in emerging markets.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Jesper B. Sorensen]

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, EcoPost manufactures construction posts out of the thousands of tons of plastic waste produced daily by the city. The posts, which are manufactured using second-hand industrial equipment, are frequently used to build fences, park benches, and other objects. Because lumber is very scarce in Kenya, and subject to theft and termite damage, the posts sell very well, and the company has trouble keeping up with demand. The company’s directors are seeking financing to purchase new equipment and scale and diversify their production. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Charles Holloway]

Venture capitalist Atul Kapadia was inclined to provide seed funding for Sujeet Kumar and Michael Sinkula to found Envia Systems, a lithium-ion battery company. Admittedly, Envia was little more than the founders’ vision of an affordable electric vehicle and the potential of playing in a very large market. But for Kapadia, it was precisely these two key ingredients that made Envia attractive and akin to other early-stage investments he had made at Bay Partners.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Ken Shotts]

A reliable, safe, supply of drinking water is essential to the survival of communities and efforts by municipalities to improve their respective drinking water supply are prolific. This case provides an overview of the water supply issue and profiles cases where implemented programs have succeed and failed in both local Californian as well as abroad communities in Singapore and Australia.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefan J. Reichelstein]

Environmental stewardship was part of REI's culture and corporate purpose since the company was founded. The corporate social responsibility group, which oversaw the environmental sustainabilityprogram, took the approach that social and financial objectives should not be viewed as a tradeoff and instead would lead to creative and innovative solutions.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Condoleezza Rice]

The U.S. has pursued a number of punitive economic sanctions to isolate the Islamic Republic of Iran for its refusal to comply with international inspectors regarding its suspected nuclear weapons program. The effectiveness of these sanctions, however, has been undermined by inconsistent application, inadequate enforcement and competing financial interests from private banks and corporations.To what extent should national governments and multinational institutions restrict private sector activity in the interest of national security?

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Robert A. Burgelman]

The case details the strategic decisions of Nissan's developement of the LEAF, the first mass-produced all-electric car. The case covers the inception and launch of LEAF; the marketing strategy for the case; and an overview of the electric car industry.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Hau Lee]

Mountain Hazelnut Venture Limited was founded with economic, social, and environemental objectives. It planned to distribute young hazelnut plants at no charge to a large number of subsistence farmers in Bhutan; it was also the first 100 percent foreign direct investment company in Bhutan. This is an example of supply chain management, environment, and entrepreneurship in developing economies. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Nature plays an important role in maintaining the flow and purity of water. Human activities often degrade the quality and/or quantity of water flowing to downstream users, but maintaining natural ecosystems, and sound conservation management by those living upstream in watersheds can help provide a clean, reliable supply of water for downstream water users. This case introduces the concept of ecosystem services and “payment for ecosystem services,” in which stakeholders pay in order to preserve or restore the ability of nature to provide these services.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Stefan J. Reichelstein]

In 2010, REI considered adding photovaltaic solar panels to the roofs of some of its facilities for both financial and environmental considerations. This case discusses the company's experience with solar power generation as well as providing representative assumptions for parameters in the financial analysis.

Resource: Academic Case

The Global Environment Fund (GEF) is a private equity fund focused on investments in environmental and energy solutions in both developed and developing markets. The case recounts two previous GEF investments in emerging markets, a South African forestry company and a Southeast Asian waste management business, as examples of successful management strategies for creating value in emerging markets.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Jesper B. Sorensen]

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, EcoPost manufactures construction posts out of the thousands of tons of plastic waste produced daily by the city. The posts, which are manufactured using second-hand industrial equipment, are frequently used to build fences, park benches, and other objects. Because lumber is very scarce in Kenya, and subject to theft and termite damage, the posts sell very well, and the company has trouble keeping up with demand. The company’s directors are seeking financing to purchase new equipment and scale and diversify their production. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Charles Holloway]

Venture capitalist Atul Kapadia was inclined to provide seed funding for Sujeet Kumar and Michael Sinkula to found Envia Systems, a lithium-ion battery company. Admittedly, Envia was little more than the founders’ vision of an affordable electric vehicle and the potential of playing in a very large market. But for Kapadia, it was precisely these two key ingredients that made Envia attractive and akin to other early-stage investments he had made at Bay Partners.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Ken Shotts]

A reliable, safe, supply of drinking water is essential to the survival of communities and efforts by municipalities to improve their respective drinking water supply are prolific. This case provides an overview of the water supply issue and profiles cases where implemented programs have succeed and failed in both local Californian as well as abroad communities in Singapore and Australia.

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All

The article examines environmental issues related to supply chains and supply chain management. Attempts to introduce sustainable practices into supply chains often meet with unexpected financial or environmental costs.

Resource: Research Paper

Establishments in better managed firms are significantly less energy intensive. Better managed firms are also significantly more productive. These results suggest that management practices that are associated with improved productivity are also linked to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - gulf_oil_spill_source_la_times]

Consumer and environmental groups, angry over the spreading oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, are calling for a boycott of BP, the oil giant that owns the well gushing oil onto beaches and marshes. According to research by Phillip Leslie and Larry Chavis, boycotts do in fact work and they're something businesses should be concerned about.

Resource: Research Paper

Managers and marketers can motivate consumers to participate in environmental conservation programs by telling them how the majority of other people behaved in the same situation. Researchers specifically studied how to ask hotel guests whether or not they wanted to reuse their towels during the course of a stay. The study highlights the benefits of employing social science research and theory—rather than business communicators’ hunches, lay theories, or best guesses—in crafting persuasive messages. Guests given a description : "the majority guests in this hotel asked to reuse their towels," were 9% more likely to make the same decision than guests who were simply asked to "help save the environment" with no information on comparative behavior. Guests were motivated even further when the description matched their social demographic even more closely. They were even more likely to reuse their towels when told the majority of people staying in their room in the past had done so.

Resource: Research Paper

Some types of regulations governing disposal of electronic waste can reduce the world's mountains of devices waiting to be recycled, and also slow the rate of new product introductions says Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Erica Plambeck.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Designed for students with strong modeling/optimization/simulation skills, this course allocates more time to environmental and energy science and its implications for management and policy, and less time to the basics of modeling/optimization/simulation. Students apply spreadsheet modeling, optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation to resource management and environmental policy.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

This course explores the fundamental science of ecosystems, climate, and energy. Students learn to apply spreadsheet modeling, optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation to resource management and environmental policy.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Sridhar Narayanan]

This course addresses numerous questions about how to initiate and sustain green marketing. It also explores what technological and marketing innovations are likely to arise in the future.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

This speaker seminar examines the overlap and synergies between the business and environmental fields. Weekly speakers include leaders from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

Resource: MBA Course
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Markets have tremendous potential for solving environmental problems. Through case analysis, guest speakers, and the creation of business plans in environmental entrepreneurship, students will learn to apply core business principles of finance, marketing, economics, operations, accounting, and more to the provision of environmental goods and services.

Resource: MBA Course
Innovators : All
[photo - Robyn Beavers]

Leading a Social Innovation Study Trip lands Robyn Beavers, MBA '10, in a new industry.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jeremy Sokulsky]

Jeremy Sokulsky, MBA '04, President, Environmental Incentives, discusses how he's drawing upon the tools and training he received from the GSB to help make a difference.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Katie Hill]

A Stanford GSB student looks at the value of renewable energy in the developing world. 

Resource: Student

Jack shares his unexpected adventures on Kangaroo Island, Australia, and how his discovery in habitat restoration has become an international example.

Resource: Alumni

"Gib" shares his passion for America’s Great Plains and the possibility and promise of creating a prairie wildlife reserve of three million acres, and the hope it represents.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Robert A. Burgelman]

The case details the strategic decisions of Nissan's developement of the LEAF, the first mass-produced all-electric car. The case covers the inception and launch of LEAF; the marketing strategy for the case; and an overview of the electric car industry.

Resource: Academic Case

The environmental sustainability movement has long been pushing for the development of renewable energy resources. Yet to have a significant impact in the energy market, any renewable alternative must be scalable, argues Haas School professor Severin Borenstein in this audio lecture. Speaking at the 2010 Climate Policy Instruments in the Real World conference at Stanford, he suggests where policy interventions should be focused so as to pave the way for the greater appeal of renewable technologies.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Marcia McNutt]

The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was one of the most disastrous and costly environmental sustainability crises on the planet. How were cultures affected, how were decisions made to address the situation, and what leadership lessons can be drawn from this unprecedented event? In this university podcast, expert Marcia McNutt offers her insights. The event, part of the Von Gugelberg Memorial Lecture on the Environment, was hosted by the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Professor Matthew E. Kahn]
Increasing energy consumption poses a serious threat to environmental sustainability. In this university podcast, delivered at the Stanford Climate Policy Instruments in the Real World conference, UCLA professor Matt Kahn reflects on what heat waves and increased natural disaster risk may do to households, landowners, and the general economic climate.
Resource: Audio
[photo - Hau Lee]

Mountain Hazelnut Venture Limited was founded with economic, social, and environemental objectives. It planned to distribute young hazelnut plants at no charge to a large number of subsistence farmers in Bhutan; it was also the first 100 percent foreign direct investment company in Bhutan. This is an example of supply chain management, environment, and entrepreneurship in developing economies. 

Resource: Academic Case
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