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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : May/Jun 2004 : Special Section

Special Section

A Student's Perspective
Business as a Key Driver

By Marc-André Roy,
Schulich School of Business, York University

Special Section

Related Sections
Business as a Key Driver
A Diverse Set of Perspectives
Making a Collective Impact
Connecting Business and the Environment
Sustainability on a Large Scale
Opening New Opportunites
Useful Insights About Effective Leadership

In my undergraduate studies in Commerce, I developed a fairly right wing perspective on the role of business in society. Not completely Friedmanite, but close. At the same time, left wing, anarchic activist types were going on about all the ills that business had brought on the world. What they were arguing had some merit, although I disagreed with their confrontational and rebellious approach to promoting change, and the notion that all business is the devil. In reading and exploring different perspectives on the place and role of business in society, I became increasingly interested in reconciling these different perspectives in a practical way that would bring about positive change, using business as a key driver. As part of my studies, I developed practical experiences in sustainable development through a work term in microfinance in Benin, West Africa, and a major strategy consulting project to help DuPont Canada introduce sustainable business solutions in India. My involvement in Net Impact, a business and sustainability student organization was also hugely beneficial.

The value of this program for me was three-fold. First, it gave me the analytical tools to make strategic business decisions to contribute to the sustainable creation of environmental, social and economic value. Second, it helped me connect with and learn from other like-minded people. Third, it has invigorated my passion to use business to make the world a better place.

My academic, practical and personal experiences at Schulich have not only reinforced my own passion for business and sustainability, but shaped my career aspirations and goals. I plan on developing a career in sustainable private sector development in developing countries. I have recently accepted an offer of employment to do just this in the capacity of management consultant.

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