January 30, 2012

Net Impact Conference

Post By:
Nolan Green
MBA Candidate, 2012

This year, four BU MBA students (along with nine undergrads) made a cross-country trek to Portland, Oregon for the Net Impact National Conference. Net Impact is a worldwide organization dedicated to leveraging the resources of business for the social good across all sectors. Those with an interest in working in Corporate Social Responsibility, cause marketing, non-profit management, social enterprise and other related fields tend to join Net Impact as a way of further exploring those interests. The conference was an opportunity for the future leaders of these spaces to network and share ideas, inspiration, and best practices.

It was also an opportunity to hear from those who have already proven their leadership in these areas. We heard from Sally Jewell, CEO of REI, the outdoor goods company about embedding sustainability into nationwide retail operations. We also heard from Hannah Jones, Chief Sustainability Officer of Nike, who described the journey that Nike had taken around social responsibility, being transformed into one of the thought and operations leaders in this space. Between the keynotes and the breakout sessions, nearly every topic under the Net Impact umbrella was covered by an expert in the field. In my sessions, I learned about marketing to socially-conscious consumers and companies who pay living wages while enjoying high levels of profitability, among other topics.Perhaps one of the most invaluable aspects of the conference was the expo, where approximately 80 corporations and non-profits showed up to educate the attendees on their sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts. This included a wide range of businesses, including Honest Tea, Target, and Sprint as well as non-profits serving a variety of causes. This was an opportunity to learn about these organization’s socially-conscious efforts and in a few cases, a chance to learn about job and internship opportunities.
If you are a sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or non-profit junkie, I would highly recommend considering attending the conference next fall in Baltimore. Meanwhile, here at SMG, our graduate and undergraduate NI chapters are continuing to put on a number of exciting events, culminating in the BU Net Impact MBA case competition in the spring. For more information about Net Impact at BU, visit http://smgworld.bu.edu/clubnetimpact/.
(photos from the Net Impact website and Facebook page)

Nolan is a 2nd year MBA student in the PNP program, also concentrating in Marketing. He is the Vice President for External Relations for the GSM Net Impact Chapter. He is interested in a career in marketing for socially responsible businesses.

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