Student Projects Fall 2011

Lands’ End

What is the current “eco- footprint” of shipping and packaging materials used at Lands’ End?

Lands’ End is committed to a superior level of service and connect with their customers through catalogs, on the Internet, through Sears retail stores and in their Inlet shops. As a company with a history of innovation, they are strongly committed to minimizing their impact on the environment and they are beginning the journey towards sustainability via a focus on product, policies and actions.  Developed a baseline for current packaging. Researched what other similar retail and online apparel companies offer. Are there non-apparel companies that offer great “eco-friendly” packaging that could be adaptable to Lands’ End? Contrasted and compareed results.  Suggested packaging alternatives that could improve our overall packaging “eco-footprint”.

Conscious Capital Management

Conscious Capital Management is a sustainable wealth management firm that specializes in financial planning and investment management services for individuals and business who prefer social conscious and sustainable values in their portfolios. Two projects were done with CCM.

1. Marketing: A group was assigned to develop an effective marketing campaign to promote Conscious Capital Management. Including utilizing social media, advertising, and cost effective ways to get investors who are interested in sustainability. The group recommended what ways are most feasible and cost effective to grow our market share. This project included projections of success, costs, and methods.

2. Community Investing & Microfinance:Analyzed community investing groups and microfinance companies on the viability of their investment offerings. The goal was to include offerings in these areas as part of our overall sustainable portfolio investment strategy. The group was contacting these companies or organizations and gathering data on the risks, return potential, and the impact of their offering on sustainability.  The group recommended whether these offerings are feasible options for clients to invest in.

UW Purchasing Lab Supplies

One of the easiest ways for a large institution to bring about change is to use its purchasing power to shape the behavior of vendors.  The UW buys a lot of stuff; office supplies, food, furniture, paints, cups and other disposables, etc.  Most purchasing at the university is coordinated through UW Purchasing.  In addition, the UW Sustainability Task Force recommended a better connection between students and what they are learning, and the operations side of the university.  The following project arose from that recommendation. A team was asked to develop recommendations for “greener” options for some of the larger lab supply categories.  Asked to obtain information about alternative green (greener) products that have the potential to become campus standards.  The project entailed research on 5-10 of the largest use item categories and result in a recommendation on new specifications that could be included in future purchase contracts. To reach this determination, the team should consider the elements of the product which make it a better environmental choice for the campus (durability, recycle content, re-use capability, disposal advantages, etc).

Kemah Power, Vertical Wind Turbines

A team will work on a business plan for advancing vertical wind turbines to the Grant level.  The business plan would form the basis of future grant requests to take this idea to the implementation level.  There are a many uses for the various ideas or patents (highway sign VAWT’s, multiple VAWT’s mounted on poles thus creating a “Power Tree” which could be used in many ways (farms, towns, etc.).   Each of these may require a separate business plan.

City of Milwaukee

Research downspout disconnection ordinances in other municipalities; develop the outline for a model ordinance for Milwaukee


SERRV is an international fair trade non-profit with a retail store located in Madison. Their mission is to eradicate poverty wherever it resides through Fair Trade principles and practices. Traditionally, our customers are middle-aged, educated women. However, in order to continue growing and raising awareness, we want to reach out to a younger demographic, largely 18-24 year old women, both university students and young adults. In order to do this, they would like assistance to:

  •  Assess the interest of young women in fair trade and willingness to pay more for those standards
  • Develop messaging that will motivate young people to support SERRV through their purchases, volunteer support or donations
  • Understand the type of image SERRV needs to develop in order ot be a compelling brand for young people
  • Understand what categories/products are most attractive to this demographic
  • Finally, how can we attract new customers while also maintaining our older customers?

Plan and Coordinate the Forth Annual Sustainable Businesses Council in Wisconsin

For the last three years, a team of students put together a conference that over 200 people attended.  With their guidance, we invited top speakers, students and business people from around the state to gather together to learn about sustainability.  There was great support for doing this again this year.  Your task would be to plan and coordinate the conference.  This would be a large conference, held in early December in Madison.  You would be responsible for planning the conference, securing sponsorships, preparing and distributing invitations, and generally making this conference a success.

Recommendations for Developing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Green Tier’s Recruitment Strategy

This reports provides recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Green Tier program’s marketing strategies and communication outlets. Utilizing social media and a well designed website will help Green Tier reach their goals of generating interest in the program, increasing enrollment, starting dialogue among participants, promoting the green bottom line, and strengthening companies’ relationships with the DNR. Implementing all three of the social media tools described, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, will each accomplish a separate goal while still working in conjunction with the others. Facebook offers an avenue to post multiple forms of media, and publically recognize businesses that go beyond the level of environmental compliance. Twitter aims to increase the overall scope of Green Tier’s marketing plan through methods like trending topics, and the total number of people aware of the program. LinkedIn establishes a base for Green Tier to find new professional contacts, and to demonstrate the opportunity for the DNR as a sustainable adviser.

University of Wisconsin Microfinance Partnership Tactical Business Plan

The UW Haiti Microfinance Project (UWMFP) began in 2010 to help Haitian people devastated by the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Historically, aid from the US and other countries has been given to Haiti with the sole purpose of providing goods and protection.  This practice has ignored the need to enable Haitians to become responsible for their livelihood and provide residents with the tools to develop businesses that will serve them into the future. The UWMFP’s goal is to create structures that will enable sustainable development.