On Aug. 6, students in the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program presented the results of their summer-long Capstone Workshop project to fellow students, program faculty and colleagues at Columbia University.
As the final degree requirement for students enrolled in the MS in Sustainability Management program, the Capstone Workshop is designed to integrate the distinct fields of the program’s sustainability management curriculum. Students must draw on both the practical skills and the analytical knowledge they have gained in their courses in order to address crucial sustainability management issues as consultants for a real-world client. This summer, students undertook a project to develop a high-impact clean tech innovation program for The Climate Group.
“Our students have both the sustainability knowledge and management tools to help organizations solve tough environmental problems,” said George Sarrinikolaou, the faculty coordinator of the Sustainability Management Capstone Workshop. He added that this summer’s project for The Climate Group “highlighted the link between sustainability and management, demonstrating that it takes well-run organizations to slow climate change.”
The project gave students a chance to gain practical managerial experience as they worked to solve one such “tough environmental problem”: accelerating the pace of low-carbon innovation, despite the challenges the sector presents.
Kent Santin, a student who participated in the Capstone Workshop this summer, praised the course. “Our project was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I got to work with such a talented team,” he said. “I learned a lot from this project, primarily in regards to gathering and assessing various data sources. But the biggest thing I learned were the complications involved with managing a group as large as 16 people. The skills I have learned from being a part of this project will undoubtedly be helpful in my career, and I look forward to applying them.”
A full description of the Summer 2013 project is available below.
Project: Developing a High-Impact Cleantech Innovation Program
Client: The Climate Group
Instructor: Kizzy Charles-Guzman
The Climate Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization working to inspire and catalyze leadership for a Clean Revolution: a low-carbon future that is smarter, better and more prosperous for all. Launched by Rt. Hon. Tony Blair and 20 CEOs/VIPs in 2004, The Climate Group works internationally with a coalition of member companies, states, regions, cities and public figures. The Climate Group inspires leaders by communicating a compelling narrative for change; equips them by delivering evidence of success; and works in partnership with them in driving transformative change. The Climate Group is currently working in the low-carbon innovation space in a number of ways. The Climate Group plans to consolidate work with a small group of partners and our network of members to accelerate uptake of disruptive low-carbon innovation. The project addresses the following questions, focusing on The Climate Group’s network in the United States and United Kingdom only:
- What are the key needs of entrepreneurs and potential strategic partners in larger businesses, and how can The Climate Group support these?
- What other models are in existence for this type of work, and how can The Climate Group best add value to the space and our partners?
- How best to fund the work The Climate Group is proposing? Via membership fees, sponsorship or philanthropic funding?
- What constitutes best practice in establishing strategic partnerships for low-carbon, clean tech companies?
The Climate Group has developed an initial outline plan but would like to advance its thinking in this area before its Climate Week NYC series of events in September 2013, which provide an opportunity to communicate the organization’s plans to its partners.