Business students ask executives: Is it easy being green?

When Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, calls for “corporate social responsibility” and environmentally friendly policies fell mostly on deaf ears in the business world.

Today, the green movement has moved from the fringes to the mainstream of society. To prove that point, the Olin Business School chapter of Net Impact is hosting an event featuring major corporate executives charged with promoting corporate responsibility and sustainability.

“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Making an Impact on Business,” will be held at 4 p.m. April 23 in Simon Hall 112. Panelists include Betsy Cohen, vice president of sustainability at Nestlé; Carol Clark, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Anheuser-Busch InBev; and Natalie DiNicola, Ph.D., director of international partnership development at Monsanto Co. Daniel Elfenbein, Ph.D., assistant professor of strategy at the Olin Business School, will moderate.

“This panel will talk about how its CSR shapes the company brand and image in the minds of its customers,” said MBA student Bethany Blackburn, an officer of Olin’s Net Impact chapter. “Each company approaches CSR differently and the panelists will elaborate on why her company has taken that particular approach.”

Net Impact is an international organization composed of business professionals, MBA students and undergraduates committed to making a positive impact on society by growing and strengthening a community of leaders who use business to improve the world.

Net Impact currently has 103 full-time MBA members. In addition to sponsoring educational events, the group is dedicated to encouraging environmental sustainability on campus; providing career guidance and resources for students seeking social impact careers; and promoting curriculum changes to include social impact themes.