Sustainability is a broad and multi-faceted issue. This semester we worked with a wide range of “clients” on projects that will support their efforts to move in a more sustainable direction.
The Om Boys Food Movement is working on spinning off the Buy One Feed One Program to become its own non-profit, a stand-slone entity similar to 1% for the Planet. B1F1 would license the Buy One Feed One certification to other companies who can help feed malnourished children. In turn, B1F1 does the due diligence on non-profits feeding children, the paperwork and reporting, and a credible third-party to help consumers trust the company and spread the reach of B1F1. They were looking for recommendations on what it would take to launch a non-profit, what model 1% for the Planet uses for licensing, and a small business place to see how many partner companies B1F1 org would need to sustain a full-time employee.
At Capital Brewery when it comes to sustainability, their philosophy in business dovetails nicely with their commitment to the environment: do what’s right, seek out every improvement for the customer, the community and the world, even the bottom line. In fact, the green choice, they are constantly discovering, is often the best choice.
Capital Brewery wishes to find a way to insert native prairie seeds into cardboard coasters with their information printed on the coaster. This project involved checking feasibility, identifying potential suppliers for all materials, and a process for the brewery to follow to obtain the final product.
Travel Green Wisconsin promotes smart, environmentally friendly business practices. The program was looking for a team of students to help identify and quantify the benefits of joining the Travel Green Wisconsin (TGW) Program. The team suggested appropriate metrics and recommended ways to gather information. The purpose of this semester project was to provide the Travel Green Wisconsin program with information that allows program administrators to explain and quantify the benefits of participating in the program.
The goals of this project were to recommend ways to integrate sustainability into day-to-day operations. They were looking for an energetic group of students who would use their knowledge and creativity to guide them toward what it takes to integrate sustainability initiatives at their corporate level, mid-level and field positions. Recommendations were to draw on what was happening at other waste disposal companies, but needed not be limited to what was happening in that sector.
The UW Haiti Microfinance Project (http://ww.bus.wisc.edu/business-sustainability/microfinance/uw-haiti-microfinance-project/) began in 2010 to help Haitian people devasted by the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Access to capital is extremely limited in Haiti. By providing easily-secured, low interest micro-loans, the UW Microfinance Parternship’s (UWMFP) mission is to use the principles of microfinance to help citizens rebuild businesses and regain long-term financial independence.
The project has reached about 100 Haitians and a total of $8,000 has been loaned out. However, they have not established metrics to assess the effectiveness of the project, outside of number of loans, amounts of loans and percent repayment. A micro-finance project should be evaluated on the impact of the loans, not just the raw numbers of loans.
They wanted recommendations of a comprehensive suite of metrics that would provide evidence that the loans were making a difference to people in Haiti.
For the last four years, a team of students created a conference that over 300 people attended. The students are responsible for inviting top speakers, organizing the conference, and marketing the conference to students and business people from around the state. The student’s task would be to work with Tom on the planning and coordination of the conference. This would be a large conference, held in early December in Madison. They were responsible for making this conference a success.
At present there are several systems for creating key performance indicators to identify and measure sustainable action at a business. The Green Tier Program was looking for a team of students to evaluate existing systems and recommend a suite of key performance indicators that would help WI businesses share information about their sustainability performance. It is possible that their recommendations may vary somewhat by size of business, or sector of business, but these variations would hopefully be exceptions to the rule.
While medical infrastructure in Ethiopia is improving, access to care is often hampered by lack of availability of simple medical devices and consumables. Local programs are already underway in Ethiopia to improve emergency, maternal, and neonatal health. These programs offer valuable insight into medical device needs and create an opportunity to expand the supply chain for public health. Based on this important feedback a local entrepreneur has developed a proposal to begin manufacturing a Bag-Valve-Mask (BVM) medical device.
Ethiopia already manufactures several other commodities using plastic and rubber materials. Local manufacturing will reduce the cost per device by using local resources and materials. The device can be made out of inexpensive materials with a disposable mask; eliminating the need for complex assembly and reducing the risk for cross contamination or infection.
The local entrepreneur needs a business plan that identifies initial investment, short term revenue, and long term revenue.
Dane Buy Local is a coalition of 650 local independent businesses, organizations, and citizens in and around Dane County, Wisconsin, acting in alliance to keep our communities prosperous and sustainable.
Dane Buy Local sought a team of students to provide recommendations that would increase the likelihood that Madison would be chosen to host the 2015 BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) Conference.