Transforming a conventional business into a sustainable one is no easy task.
All too often, managers and supervisors have difficulty anticipating challenges and are unable to see the bigger picture or know how to make a difference in the world.
Creator of UVM’s Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate program, Matt Mayberry is trying to change that by helping professionals expand their perspective. His goal is to help leaders anticipate long-term consequences of business decisions, enhance their collaboration skills, and develop both sustainability and financial acumen.
Mayberry, founder of the consulting firm WholeWorks, will teach the Sustainable Certificate program, an eight-week online program designed for those interested in incorporating environmental sustainability into their business decisions.
“I think this is a very challenging time for a lot of professionals because business is so complex. They want their organizations to have a positive impact on society, and they want to play a role in that, but they find it difficult to see how they can help lead change,” says Mayberry, whose client roster includes major brands such as Nike, Dow Corning, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Core content will be used from UVM’s Sustainable Innovation MBA program, which is ranked Number 1 Best Green MBA in America by the Princeton Review. Combined with WholeWorks’ simulation-based approach modules, participants in the program will create solutions to complex problems as they work toward becoming a more sustainably-minded organization. Mayberry explains the benefits to simulation-based learning which pushes management teams and stakeholders into roles that face compelling scenarios, challenges, and tensions.
“The simulation exercise helps participants feel more confidence. They can figure out a way to enlarge their scope and move their agenda forward in a way that’s positive,” says Mayberry, who also teaches in the UVM Sustainable Innovation MBA program and previously taught at Green Mountain College.
The Power of Environmental Sustainability in Business
Companies such as Seventh Generation and Griffith Foods are examples of global businesses committed to social responsibility and sustainable practices. Seventh Generation produces non-toxic and environmentally friendly household products that align with its mission “to inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations.” Griffith Foods is developing an inclusive business model by working with smallholder farmers in developing countries to sustainably source its herbs and spices.
“The first step is being open to the idea that addressing some of these big problems can be good for business,” Mayberry says. “The key is to realize that sustainability is a tremendous source of innovation. By solving real problems like food waste or water pollution, your company can also create new products and become more competitive.”
Mayberry, who is based in Manchester, Vermont, founded WholeWorks in 1997. The business world has certainly changed over the past two decades, but the benefits of the simulation exercises used in the Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate are more relevant than ever.
“We’re helping people lead change in their organizations, and people learn best by doing. It’s one thing to intellectually know something, and it’s an entirely different thing to effectively do it—especially when you’re under pressure,” he says. “Our simulations are practice fields where leaders can experiment, learn from their mistakes, and build their confidence.”
Registration is now open for the Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate. Classes start January 21.
Discounts are available for groups of 5+ participants from the same organization and 20% off for UVM and UVM Medical Affiliates, $300 off for Net Impact Members.