The exciting work of the Center for Business & Environment

Wow! Its been quite some time since we last posted… Between the application deadlines and the holidays, we have been absolutely swamped. I tasked Sarah with doing some blog posts on some of the amazing work that the Centers and Programs are doing here on campus. They are an incredible resource for our students and many are quite prolific in the field!

Sarah started with CBEY. Did you know that in this year’s applicant pool, Business and the Environment was the most popular area of interest selected?

From Sarah:

The Center for Business and the Environment, or CBEY, is a joint initiative of the School of Forestry and our neighbor, the Yale School of Management (SOM).  CBEY (pronounced “see-bay”) examines integrative business approaches to address environmental issues.  The Center draws together distinguished faculty from different schools on campus, research assistants, and business partners and entrepreneurs to develop market solutions to global challenges of sustainability.  The motivation of the program is two-fold.  First, CBEY helps develop students’ professional growth and interest in topical areas with outreach for students to faculty.  Second, it opens a lens for the outside world to address environmental issues in business.  CBEY provides resources, analysis and insight on reshaping our current economic system to help current businesses reduce their environmental footprint and develop future businesses that create environmental benefits.

CBEY is a student-driven center, and its programs are created in collaboration with students at both F&ES and SOM.  Faculty involved with CBEY work hand-in-hand with students to figure out how to materialize student ideas for research projects, conferences, speaker series and workshops.  This year, for example, CBEY will host two webinar speaker series.  The series, “Blueprint for Efficiency” and “Nature’s Returns”, focus on energy efficiency and ecosystem services, respectively.  Due to student interest in engaging a professional audience, the series are both directed toward the perspectives of what a working professional would be interested in learning.  CBEY then creates a library of talks with public access to these series on Yale iTunes U from the recordings.

I had the opportunity to discuss CBEY with its director, Stuart DeCew.  He is a graduate of the joint F&ES/SOM program.  He told me that the joint degree program between F&ES and SOM in environmental management is actually the first of its kind in the country (over 30 years).  The joint degree has grown quite a bit since it started and around 40 students are currently enrolled in the program.  I could hardly write fast enough as Stuart described just a few of CBEY’s incredible projects.

For example, some students are currently in the process of building environmental businesses at Yale. Joint degree student Aaron Paul (MBA/MEM ’13) just won 100K at New Haven Investment Fund’s Pitch Competition hosted by the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI). CBEY works closely with YEI to support and enhance the ecosystem for environmental entrepreneurs.   In addition to the large prize from YEI, Aaron also received a $10,000 Sobotka Seed Stage Venture Grant from CBEY for his startup project – a line of organic fertilizers called Shoots™ .  Aaron was one of three teams to receive a seed-stage venture grant in 2013. The program is run in the fall each year at the Center.

Read next week to learn about more exciting projects, scholarships, internships – and how you can get involved!