For 15 years, UNC Kenan-Flagler has been a leader in the research, education and application of sustainability for Carolina students and alumni, the state of North Carolina, and partners around the world. The School’s ‘triple bottom line’ approach empowers businesses to derive a competitive advantage by building strong shareholder value, environmental stewardship and societal well-being.
The Center for Sustainable Enterprise’s formal efforts to spread knowledge and use of a “triple bottom line” in business started in 1999. The School called this first program the UNC Kenan-Flagler Environmental Business Initiative. Later, the School changed the program’s name to the Sustainable Enterprise Initiative as the term “sustainable” came into wider use to describe the initiative.
In 2001, UNC Kenan-Flagler founded the Center for Sustainable Enterprise, which was made possible by joint funding from the Institute for the Environment and the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise.
The Center’s first co-directors were professors Stuart L. Hart and James H. Johnson. The CSE’s mission was education, research, and outreach to advance ”triple bottom line“ thinking.
Professor Albert H. Segars has led the CSE as its faculty director since 2004. Al Segars is an expert in how to innovate and manage technology, bring about strategic change, and commercialize new products in ways that align the interests of business with stakeholders concerned for people and the planet.
Under Segars, the CSE established a vision for its research based on 4 ”pillars“ of program strategy and expertise:
- Innovation & Design
- Financial Metrics & Models
- Economic Development
- Leadership & Corporate Governance
One of the first to teach and research sustainable practices
UNC Kenan-Flagler was one of the first business schools in the country to offer a complete curriculum (including an MBA Sustainable Enterprise Concentration) and to do research on sustainable business. The CSE’s work continues to lead the field and to broaden what the School offers in this area crucial to the future of business. The School continues to host major events – such as the NC Clean Tech Summit – which draw thought leaders and students from around the world.