Dylan Beach talks about Net Impact, a student club at Weatherhead, and its aim to use business as a force for environmental and social impact.
Dylan Beach is in the full-time MBA program and the president of the CWRU chapter of Net Impact. He sat down with Director of Student Experience, Alexis Hayman, to discuss the chapter's work and vision.
What drew you to become involved with Net Impact as a business professional?
First of all, I am not a business professional, I am a natural resource management person. I made the pivot to business to bring sustainability to the business world. That is what Net Impact is about, helping people use their business degrees to have a positive environmental and/or social impact. My hope was to help students find ways to bring their values to companies and bring sustainability concepts to those paths.
Tell us some of the projects Net Impact has going on.
We recently created a Net Impact Service Corps, which engages with local organizations on consulting projects. This year, we worked with Evergreen Cooperatives. Evergreen includes four businesses that have the same social mission to hire within poor communities and give employees ownership of that company over time. The concept is about economic inclusion in business. These businesses are for-profit endeavors with a social mission underlying their business model. Our Net Impact projects connected students with these "social impact businesses." We sent four groups of four students to work on market research projects. On April 6, three of those groups will meet at noon to present their recommendations to the CEO of City Green Growers, one of the businesses of Evergreen Cooperatives. This event is open to all students.
On March 24, we are having an evening with sustainability professionals at Michelson and Morley. This is an opportunity to talk to professionals, including Andrew Waterson, the head of sustainability at Key Bank.
Sounds great! Can you tell us about Net Impact next year?
Among many great projects, we have been helping the new leadership develop an event where we would host someone from a large investment banking firm to talk about Impact Investing. We are hoping that by bringing in a speaker with a national and international scope we can reach a larger audience. Next year's leadership also wants to expand the number of companies engaged by our Service Corps.
Thank you, Dylan, for all the work you have put in this year and for sharing with us today. Do you have any parting thoughts?
If you don’t understand the value of sustainability in business, you are giving yourself a disadvantage in the marketplace. This is about improving operation efficiency and capturing new markets. This is about aligning your business on a trajectory for success. Sustainability is about relationships and understanding how business connects to the rest of the world. Without this understanding, business cannot be an agent of world benefit.
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