Sustainability: It Just Makes Business Sense

Jack Levis, Director of Process Management – UPS, spoke about the role of optimization and sustainability for his company.

Last Friday, 180 students from various colleges, faculty, business leaders, and community members gathered together to discus sustainability at the second annual Net Impact Sustainability Summit.

This year’s theme, Sustainability: It Just Makes Business Sense, was reflected by a group of speakers who discussed how sustainability incentives were practiced in their businesses from local to global levels.

Attendees enjoyed break-out sessions where they discussed questions or case studies posed to them by the speakers. The companies represented in this summit included Iowa-based Kum & Go (purveyors of over 400 convenience stores in 11 states) and multi-nationals Coca-Cola and UPS.

Sally Mason, President of The University of Iowa also discussed the future of sustainability on campus.

Representing their respective institutions:

  • Jack Levis – Director of Process Management – UPS
  • Adam Hammes – Manager of Sustainability – Kum and Go
  • Dave Katz – SVP of Midwest Region – Coca-Cola Refreshments
  • Sally Mason – President – University of Iowa

Dave Katz gave insights on how Coca-Cola is reducing waste in landfills.

Each company presented current sustainability business practices within their business model.

Adam Hammes explained how new LED lighting, solar panels, and efficient coffee makers have saved Kum and Go hundreds of thousands of dollars and reduced their environmental impact.

Dave Katz explained some of the steps Coca-Cola has taken to reduce the amount of waste they send to the landfill each year and efforts they are making to ensure they are not a burden on the world’s waterways.

UPS took another approach to reducing their environmental footprint through data analytics, implementing GPS tracking and internal package routing, which has eliminated millions of miles driven per year and tens of thousands gallons of fuel.

To wrap up the summit, Sally Mason encouraged all in attendance to think outside of the box and utilize one’s imagination to continue down the path of sustainability. She discussed the university’s 2020 energy goals, the construction of new LEED-certified buildings on campus, and reiterated the fact that if sustainability is to work in business, that it needs to just make business sense.

This Summit was hosted by the Tippie Net Impact chapter, which is comprised of 30+ active members who focus on sustainability, non-profit work, and corporate social responsibility.

If you are interested in learning more about the summit or Net Impact, contact me, Net Impact president Kyle Bogler, at kyle-bogler@uiowa.edu.

Kyle Bogler

About Kyle Bogler

I'm a 2013 MBA Candidate in the Strategic Innovation Career Academy. I'm an avid sports fan (Ravens, Orioles, Hawkeyes), woodworker, organic gardener, and connoisseur of BBQ. I spend my free time outdoors with my black lab Lucy or watching documentaries. I aspire to someday work as a Sustainability Director or Sourcing Director for eco-friendly products from around the world.