Mar 04 2015

Students Assess Commercial Viability of Larva Meal
Johnson students, under the guidance of Mark Milstein, clinical professor of management and director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, explore the larva meal business and suggested to Cornell agricultural scientists to focus on aquaculture as an initial market.

Feb 24 2015

A Short Trip to the Future

The future of energy looks inspiring and hopeful to student participants in the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, where a Johnson team won second place in the [Em]Powering Grid Resilience Competition.

Feb 09 2015

On the Ground: Cornell Center Demonstrates Benefits of Applied Research
SGE demonstrates the benefits of applied research.

Feb 06 2015

For the Love of Big Cats
Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and CEO of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), spoke at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (SGE) colloquium, encouraging students to be a part of wildlife conservation efforts and to use private sector approaches to achieve conservation goals. 

Jan 27 2015

Johnson students selected for OneEnergy Scholars program
OneEnergy, a developer of large-scale clean energy projects, this year selected two Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management students to participate in theOneEnergy Scholars program.

Jan 15 2015

Growing Africa’s roots
“Today, Africa is what China was 15 years ago,” said the founder and CEO of Heartland Global, Lloyd Le Page.

Jan 07 2015

A Fresh Set of Eyes

Corporate clients value the insights they obtain from Johnson Immersion Learning teams

Dec 24 2014

Johnson team takes home D-Prize for ‘Eduquer’

Sid Kannan, MBA ’15, and Murali Kumar, MBA’15, have been awarded the D-Prize for their social venture, Eduquer. The prize includes a grant of $12,000 and a mentorship. Tapping into their passion for education, Kannan and Kumar entered the D-Prize competition with a social venture plan based on idea that a family benefits most if the daughters are educated. Their challenge: ‘Fewer than 50 percent of young women in developing countries will finish high school because they cannot afford fees. A $250 scholarship can quickly change a girl's life. Create a fundraising website and raise money from industrialized nation donors.

Their venture, Eduquer, plans to raise funds from developed countries to provide scholarships to girls attending schools in less privileged nations. The venture initially plans to focus on high school education to girls in poor, urban regions of countries like India. Eventually, the base will be spread across genders, age and nations. Their prize money will mainly be used towards marketing and brand building.


While Eduquer raises money here, Kannan and Kumar hope to collaborate with NGOs and government organizations at the grassroots level in developing or under-developed countries that are already involved in education – to insure quick delivery of funds. They also have a pilot in Kenya, Africa with the NGO “Watch Me Go,” which was started by a D-Prize winner Katie Wood last year. “We want to partner with organizations which already have a system for identifying girls,” Kumar said. 

Eduquer is essentially a crowd-sourced funding platform with a twist. The team’s first step is to make Johnson the fund raising epicenter. The nucleus of Eduquer starts with student ambassadors and is based on the notion that students are already enthusiastic about education. “Starting with Johnson at Cornell, student ambassadors will use social interaction to influence students around the world to contribute a nominal amount of say $20. These students will in turn influence other students to contribute and so on. Once these students graduate and have higher disposable income, they are likely to donate larger sums of money. The fact that they have donated previously will significantly increase the likelihood of larger donations,” they said.


Harnessing social media is at the heart of this venture. What would start with student ambassadors spreading the word among their peers and network will in due course form a large network of students and professionals. “We want Eduquer to function beyond us,” said Kumar. Eduquer aims to open chapters in various schools and universities across the United States and recruit ambassadors. The goal is to spread such chapters across other developed country universities. The target of Eduquer is to be a self-functioning organization, which with time, grows bigger organically – through ambassadors. “We wanted to start a social movement, rather than a social venture,” said Kannan.


About D-Prize

D-Prize is dedicated toward expanding access to poverty-alleviation solutions in the developing world. Many solutions to poverty already exist; the challenge is distributing these solutions to the people who need it most. D-Prize tackles this by challenging social entrepreneurs to develop better ways to distribute proven life-enhancing technologies, and funding early-stage startups that deliver the best results.

For more information about the competition and previous winners, please visit:


- Pallavi Rao



Dec 15 2014

Cornell’s Frontier Markets Initiative Partners to Address Eye Care in India

The Frontier Markets Initiative, a collaboration between Entrepreneurship at Cornell and Johnson’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, has announced a partnership with the international development UK-based organization Sightsavers. The goal of the partnership is to innovate a business model that can sustainably deliver primary eye care solutions to India’s urban poor.


Worldwide, 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired, with approximately 90 percent of those living in the emerging and developing economies.


Under the direction of Dr. Erik Simanis, Head of FMI, a Cornell team will work closely with Sightsavers in Kolkata, India to conduct market research, and then design an offering and business model that can overcome key challenges that have hampered previous ventures within the eye care industry to profitably reach this segment. “Apart from consumers’ low incomes and erratic cash flows, poor infrastructure limits a business unit’s reach, while the high-touch marketing needed to drive demand for eye care services raises operating costs. So it’s the perfect business storm.” 


The project builds on tools and learnings developed through prior partnerships headed by Simanis to reach mass market consumers across emerging and frontier economies, including recent partnerships with SC Johnson in Ghana and with Unilever in Nigeria and Bangladesh.


For Sightsavers, a global non-profit founded in 1950 that today operates in more than 30 developing countries, the partnership is part of a broader strategy to explore how market-based approaches can complement the organization’s more traditional philanthropic efforts.  According to Anna Gerrard, Sightsavers’ Manager of Private Sector Engagement, “The challenges associated with urban primary eye health in developing countries open up new opportunities for radical innovation at the bottom of the pyramid. Our aim is to create a market-based solution that meets the needs of the poor living in urban slums, whilst also having robust financial foundations to enable Sightsavers to reach scale.”


About The Frontier Markets Initiative:

The Frontier Markets Initiative conducts applied research on profitably opening up new mass market opportunities in emerging and developing economies. The goal of FMI is to build corporations’ and entrepreneurs’ capacity to profitably serve these markets by deepening the field’s understanding of key success drivers, and creating innovation and management tools effective in meeting the unique challenges they present.


About Sightsavers:

Sightsavers is a registered UK charity (registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people with disabilities. In the six decades since its founding, Sightsavers has:


- Supported over 483.4 million treatments for blinding and potentially blinding conditions
- Carried out over 8.14 million operations to restore sight
- Trained more than 0.5 million primary eye care workers
- Carried out rehabilitation training for 149,000 blind or low vision beneficiaries
- Supported 30,000 blind or low vision children to gain a school education 

For more information, please visit

Nov 26 2014

When Business Must Go Beyond

Fred Keller, Founder and Chairman of Cascade Engineering: “Why Business, Why Now: Solving the World’s Toughest Problems”

When Fred Keller, founder and chairman of Cascade Engineering, came to campus Nov. 13 as a guest speaker in David J. BenDaniel’s course on business ethics, he made the case for businesses to get engaged in solving the world’s toughest problems. A pioneer of sustainability in manufacturing as well as visiting senior lecturer of management at Johnson, Keller addressed a room filled to capacity with Johnson students and students from other Cornell University schools.

How long can we sustain the world’s growing population, already an unprecedented seven billion people, given the planet’s finite resources? Keller asked. He pointed out that our current narrative still hinges on Milton Friedman’s doctrine of maximizing shareholder value; however, that is no longer enough. It is time to move from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to corporate social opportunity (CSO). Earlier, at a student round-table, Keller had made an interesting point about aligning emotion and duty: Doing something good and feeling good about it, vs. not doing something good and feeling bad. Cascade Engineering has a history of doing good because that has been Keller’s intent from the outset.

When Keller founded Cascade Engineering, he knew he wanted to make a positive impact on society and the environment along with achieving financial success — to create a business that would faithfully implement the triple bottom line. Cascade has a number of programs that support these goals. The most notable one is its welfare-to-career program, which employs people on welfare, giving them a chance to work, earn, and gain a respectable livelihood. While this program initially faced resistance within the company, it has resulted in many instances of people who have achieved success by becoming independent, self-supporting individuals.

Cascade also encourages its own employees to come up with initiatives that support the company’s triple bottom line goals. One employee’s initiative resulted in the “pink cart” program for breast cancer awareness, whereby the company makes and sells pink garbage carts and donates $5 to the cause for every cart purchased. On the environmental end, Cascade focuses on renewables, recycling, and zero landfill policies. 

”Lazy thinking” as Keller calls it, is the downfall of business. “[Businesses] just do the math to make more money,” he said citing the BP disaster and the GM ignition system failures as results. Other companies, such as Herman Miller and Patagonia, are leaders in sustainable thinking. He also cited the $100 million Closed Loop Fund as a prime initiative of sustainable thinking involving mega-consumer goods conglomerates like Unilever, PepsiCo, P&G, Walmart, and several others that aim to provide zero percent interest loans to municipalities and below-market interest loans to private companies to develop local and recycling infrastructure. Keller is a member of the advisory group at the fund.

Keller urges businesses to work with B-Corp, Shared Value Initiative, and the Center for Higher Ambition. Today, business is at a tipping point, said Keller, noting: “We can take it from here towards the good or the bad.”

At Johnson, Keller teaches the course “Sustainability as a Driver for Innovation.” He is a former member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council, advising Secretaries of Commerce 2004-2011, and serving two years as chairman. Keller serves as chairman of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation board of trustees and has served as a director of Fifth Third Bank and Meijer, Inc. He also chairs Talent 2025 in Michigan, a CEO-led organization that aims to improve the quality and quantity of the regional talent pool. A Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Keller earned a BS in materials science and engineering from Cornell University and an MS in business management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

—     Pallavi Rao

Nov 12 2014

PUMP, a film about America’s love affair with oil

Yossie Hollander, producer of PUMP, speaks at screening at Johnson


The Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise recently presented the documentary PUMP to Johnson students, faculty and other Cornell students. Directed by Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell, PUMP’s main message is that it’s time to move away from reliance on oil and consider alternative fuels. The documentary begins with footage from the late 1800’s when John D. Rockefeller first struck oil. The story then unfolds revealing America’s absolute dependence on oil and the monopolistic market it has created.


The documentary was released in September 2014 and has already garnered interest from the media and academia alike. Oil sympathizers will not be surprised about the image of the autocratic nature of oil companies presented in this documentary.  Similarly, the anti-oil believers have been trying to pave the way for alternate fuels for some time now. The directors of the documentary want to reach the consumers, make them think and jolt them into asking questions and bring an awareness regarding the long term “price” for the dependence on oil.


A staggering $380 billion was spent in 2013 on importing oil last year. And if juxtaposed against the dollars spent protecting the military these oil interests in the Middle-East, the US positions itself in a problematic position. Not only is America going to need more oil in the coming years, but it will be challenged with internal conflicts from the Middle-East. Historically, the documentary points out that every time the price of oil went up, markets crashed and recession followed.


Following the film screening, PUMP producer Yossie Hollander, addressed an auditorium and answered questions ranging from the corrosive nature of ethanol to trying to influence the moral compass of oil companies. The answer is not necessarily electric cars or ethanol tanks or biofuels. Hollander does not claim to know the answer. Instead, the documentary explains at length the economic, social and environmental benefits of these alternate fuel sources.


Hollander is also the founder of Fuel Freedom Foundation. Fuel Freedom means that gasoline, diesel, methanol, natural gas, ethanol and electricity compete on equal footing both at the dealership and at the pump. This approach aims to bring down the price of oil to $2 per gallon (and it currently hovers around $3 per gallon). But the true price of oil, according to research organizations, is close to $5.50 per gallon. This will only go higher especially in China and India set to consume most of the world’s oil in the next two decades. Consider this – in 2000, China sold less than a million cars and in 2013 it sold close to 15 million cars.


The message of the documentary ultimately is - open the market and give people more choices. Hollander hopes that through this video, the awareness created will fuel action from citizens. If enough people feel passionate about alternate energies, it could give rise to a petition which in turn could prompt big chain businesses like Walmart and Costco to open alternate fuel pumps at their stores.


Pallavi Rao | Volunteer Staff Writer 



Oct 22 2014

Alum urges students to drive clean tech revolution
Dan Miller '78, managing director and co-founder of The Roda Group talks to Johnson students about climate change and business opportunities in clean tech.

Oct 17 2014

Fusing good citizenship with business strategy

Leaders in Sustainable Global Enterprise speaker Chris Librie, senior director of living progress and strategy at Hewlett Packard corporate affairs, claims that “sustainability is more than charity. It is a tool to drive competitive advantage.”


Speaking to a Sage Hall lecture room filled with Johnson and other Cornell University students Sept. 24, Chris Librie, senior director of living progress and strategy for corporate affairs at Hewlett Packard, focused on driving sustainability within and outside the organization, and the actions HP has undertaken to see them to fruition. Librie spoke as a guest lecturer in a course offered by the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise: Leaders in Sustainable Global Enterprise Colloquium. 


Sustainability is not just about compliance for HP, according to Librie. It is the fusion of good citizenship and business strategy. “Sustainability is more than charity. It is a tool to drive competitive advantage,” he said. With this in mind, HP uses its technology to drive economic, social, and environmental sustainability — the three pillars of sustainability, or the triple bottom line — through such programs as HP Life, eHealth Centers, and HP Earth Insights.  HP Life is a program focused on encouraging entrepreneurs through business and IT education. HP’s ten eHealth Centers in India are mobile health care units created from used shipping containers that operate on cloud-based IT and connect rural doctors to urban medical centers. The company plans to launch 25 more of these in the next year. HP Earth Insights concentrates on providing software assistance to wildlife conservation efforts.


Librie also touched on HP’s recycling initiatives. One way in which it is addressing rudimentary methods of recycling in less developed countries is through its partnership with East African Compliant Recycling. Together, they have established a first-of-its-kind electronic waste recycling plant in Kenya. “We want to expand this to other countries too, but collecting material back from the consumers is quite challenging,” he said, emphasizing that communicating to consumers and changing their habits about recycling is an uphill task.


“Having a nuanced understanding of sustainability, this lecture gave me a picture of how HP markets sustainability rather than an in-depth look at practice,” said Amber Thomas, MBA ’15, who attended the lecture. “I did find it insightful that significant internal marketing and influencing is necessary to achieve change within a corporation.”


The lecture elicited a number of questions from students about the actual, quantifiable nature of these projects. Librie explained that while a lot of actions by HP relating to sustainability cannot yet be directly translated into numbers, correcting this is next on his agenda. Along with current financial goals (to drive reputation and ratings), Librie plans to introduce sales goals. How much will sustainability contribute to the bottom line? This might be the question many companies are asking and looking for answers to.

—    Pallavi Rao


Oct 07 2014

The 2014 Johnson Energy Connection: Fueling Interest in Renewable and Alternate Energy
Energy sector alumni share developments and concerns about the future of energy

Oct 06 2014

Natalie Grillon MBA ’12: Bringing transparency to the fashion supply chain
“Just as the food industry is changing and pursuing transparency and sustainability, the time is ripe for fashion to follow suit,” Grillon says. “Disruptive innovation is needed.”

Sep 24 2014

Johnson MBA Students Organize and Lead Climate March Contingency

Business is the largest catalyst for change, when it comes to transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy, writes Jeremy Kuhre, MBA ‘16

Sep 19 2014

New solar farm set to flip switch to 'on' Sept. 19

Cornell launches new solar farm a 2-megawatt array that will produce about 2.5 million kilowatt hours - 1 percent of Cornell's total electricity use.

Sep 17 2014

Sustainability is a business opportunity says Prof. Mark Milstein

Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise Director Mark Milstein delivers the inaugural lecture in Johnson’s Thought Leaders Series.

Aug 20 2014

Johnson’s SGE Club Receives Net Impact’s Silver Chapter Standing
Johnson's SGE Club is award Silver standing by the national Net Impact organization.

Jul 07 2014

Insights on Doing Business at the Base of the Pyramid

Johnson’s Mark Milstein shares lessons learned at Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations in New York City

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