Mediating business with environment

By Janice Tran

Next Fri. will be a big day for the Haskayne School of Business.

Every year for the past 38, the business school hosts an annual conference that unites University of Calgary students with corporate Calgary to learn, discuss, share, and even celebrate current trends in business.

“The idea behind the conference is to expose business students to a specific topic in any industry,” said Business Day Conference event coordinator Lisa Marks. “It basically shows students how commerce works in the real world, outside of the classroom walls.”

The conference is a day-long event, running from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will include a continental breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner reception. The university facilities will hold the event and play host to approximately 250 guests comprised of students and members of the corporate community.

In the past, the conference has dealt with issues like entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership. This year, the school is spreading the green fever and will be focusing the conference around the environment and sustainability. Their slogan, “Think Green: The Business of Environment,” involves two distinct ideas that embody the conference’s objectives.

“By environment, we’re talking about taking care of the planet and making sure our personal lives and corporate communities are sustainable,” said Marks. “By business, we are saying that you’re going to learn about green initiatives in business, in commerce and in everything that companies do everyday.”

The conference will showcase nine speakers throughout the day, all of whom are distinguished individuals in the field of sustainability and environmental initiatives. One of the keynote speakers is Nexen vice-president of safety, environment and social responsibility Dr. Randy Gossen. He will address the crucial role of corporations in global sustainability. Gossen will discuss how companies can integrate economic, environmental and social considerations into decision making while still enhancing shareholder value.

“Responsibility rests with the business sector,” said Gossen. “I spend a fair amount of my time going around the world, speaking about the value of corporate social responsibility and the fact that it is not the flavour of the day and needs to be ingrained into the corporate culture.”

Gossen admitted he still has a long way to go–but he is optimistic.

“There is growing emphasis and momentum around implementing corporate social responsibility, but is it implemented 100 per cent?” he asked. “No. But the gap is narrowing.”

Other keynote speakers will include Deloitte and Touche corporate responsibility consultant Rob Abbott, and award winning journalist and author Andrew Nikiforuk. The conference will also feature break-out sessions and panel discussions led by leading specialists in the field.

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