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Finance and Business

Finance and Business

Finance & Business as a large unit of more than 5,000 employees and a diverse set of sub-units including the University Airport, Office of the Physical Plant, Housing and Food Services and Office of Human Resources chose to tackle this in a top-down bottom-up approach.  The Finance & Business leadership team held a retreat with the Vice President of Finance & Business and chose to create six sustainability priority areas that they would ask all of their sub-units to align with. Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist spoke at Penn State's ninth annual Colloquium on the Environment speaker series sponsored by University's Finance and Business Environmental Stewardship Strategy, and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

Each unit was then asked to set 3 goals each of which needed to align with one or more of the priority areas identified by the leadership team.  The process of educating on sustainability and aligning goal setting was appointed to the Sustainability Institute to facilitate.  Goals were set using the SMART goal framework and in the end 18 units set three one-year goals for fiscal year 12/13.

Identified Priority Areas:

  • Leadership
  • Engagement
  • Communication
  • Resource Reduction
  • Funding
  • Zero Waste

Key Lessons & Recommendations

  • Understanding sustainability and the breadth of what it means for your unit is an important first step.
  • Initially sustainability for most units equated to basic steps in recycling, composting and energy consumption.  These are important habits but are only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Focusing on the unit’s mission and its unique contribution leads to the greatest solutions and returns … the bottom of the iceberg.
  • Facilitation of units helped to deepen their understanding of sustainability and move units to their unique contributions and mission-relevant initiatives.
  • Leadership support is key to gaining buy-in.

Click here to download Finance and Business' Sustainability Goals.