News  News Brief: Management students go green

Students from across Canada will convene at McGill this week to discuss ways to mix business with sustainability.

The sixth annual McGill Business Sustainability Conference, which begins today and runs until Saturday, is focusing on the theme “Awake.”

According to conference co-chair Jacob Schickler, this year’s organizers chose the theme in order to reflect on the prominence that sustainability initiatives have taken in recent years.

“Five years ago, people used the word sustainability in a different way, it was a buzzword,” he said. “It’s not about people turning their lights off anymore; it’s about how we’ve become awakened to the fact that we have to do something right now.”

The conference organizers hope participants will critically analyze current sustainable business models, and discuss those that are mutually beneficial to the environment and the economy.

While the daytime sessions – which bring together representatives of corporations, NGOs, and professors for small presentations – are open only to pre-registered attendees, students may purchase tickets to attend either of the two keynote speeches, taking place on Thursday and Friday evening.

Tonight’s keynote speech features Steven Guilbeault, a founding member of Équiterre, which campaigns for ecological agriculture, fair trade goods, energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation in Montreal. He is also a spokesperson for Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign.

Robert D. Weese, a Vice President at General Electric (GE) Canada who works with all levels of government in support of GE’s Canadian business, will give Friday’s keynote speech.

The conference will also host green groups from various universities at a sustainability fair from 3-5 p.m. on Friday in the Shatner ballroom, which is open to the public.

Both keynotes take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday’s speech will be held in Moot Court, Chancellor Day Hall, and Friday’s speech will be held in Bronfman 151. Tickets to each event are available at the door and cost $5.

– Will Vanderbilt