Student Expertise Fuels Knowledge Exchange

by Agata Kostecka, MBA ‘11 (11/25/10)

Agata Kostecka, MBA ‘11

The Sustainable Consulting Affinty Group organized a Knowledge Exchange, which allowed members to share their passion and expertise.

A consulting firm's most important assets are its people. In Johnson's Sustainability Consulting (SusCon) Affinity Group (AG), the same holds true. That's why in November, fresh from the excitement of the Net Impact conference, the SusCon AG organized a Knowledge Exchange, which allowed members to share their passion and expertise with the rest of the group and the Johnson Community as a whole.


Johnson's Sustainable Global Enterprise program draws students with a variety of interests across the broad spectrum of sustainable enterprise. The Exchange proved no different. Seven first and second year students gave presentations either about their work prior to Johnson or their internship experience to a packed room of students fortified with pizza.


Hala Hassoun began the discussion with an analysis of how marketing departments at major companies have adapted to serve customers who are increasingly aware and interested in sustainability issues.


Then, first year Rishi Sood broke down the mechanics of the European Union Trading Scheme (ETS) for carbon and carbon equivalent emissions and carbon offsets. The presentation sparked a lively discussion of acceptable offset projects, measurement and verification challenges, and what a global system might look like post 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol expires.


Kavya Krishna took the floor to diagram the basics of biogas and how it is made in a rural setting. She drew on her experience with SKG Sangha in India. We learned that these rural biogas converters have the ability to neutralize methane and produce a sludge slurry byproduct that can be made into compost and sold for additional income.


To continue the discussion, Rob Matelski and Jake Shirmer explained the different green building rating systems, going into detail about LEED, the most widely used standard in the United States. Attention to building emissions is warranted as buildings contribute 40% to global carbon emissions.  To channel student interest in this area Johnson's SGE club has recently created a Green Buildings Affinity Group, led by Rob.


Closing out the evening were John Tauzel and Kevin Smith, speaking on the U.S. agricultural system and its complicated maze of organic standards. Although organic agriculture has increased at a breakneck pace, it is still a drop in the ocean of conventional agriculture. This last conversation brought the student group full circle back to Net Impact's keynote speech by Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Yogurt which served as an inspiring call to action for MBAs about to enter the workforce. The Exchange was a great example of how diverse our actions can be.