Forum explores how green business can make sense and cents.

More than 100 participants attended the Green Supply Chain Forum in February, 2008.

As businesses strive to remain competitive, green initiatives can make a difference. Rather than being a drawback, environmentally friendly policies can “help companies be innovative, make money, fulfill their social responsibilities, and enhance their brands,” said Hernan Vera (MBA ’90), group director, supply chain solutions marketing, Ryder System, Inc., which sponsored a daylong “Green Supply Chain Forum” at Florida International University.

The College of Business Administration’s Ryder Center for Supply Chain Management, which conducts supply chain instruction and research, and the Institute of Technology and Innovation (ITI), part of the College of Business Administration’s Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center, co-hosted the event, which attracted more than 100 attendees.

Walfried Lassar, Ryder Professor; director, Ryder Center, and chairman, Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration, organized the Forum.

“Green supply chain management is not a fad,” said Forum organizer Walfried Lassar, Ryder Professor, director, Ryder Center; and chairman, Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration, a view shared by co-host Marc Resnick, ITI director.

“The growing prominence of green issues among supply chain professionals illustrates that an environmental bottom line can be both the right thing to do and a great source of innovation and cost savings,” Resnick said.

Conference brings interdisciplinary approach to examining business issues.

Though environmental tradeshows and fairs abound, this event focused on the broader business issues, looking at both the positive and negative sides of integrating green initiatives. In addition to this balanced approach, the event drew speakers from across disciplines—industry, government and regulatory agencies, consulting firms, and academia, a diversity that attendees appreciated.

Gregory Swienton, chairman and CEO, Ryder System, Inc., addressed attendees during the Forum.

Nanci Tellam, director, environmental services at Ryder, found the breadth of the presenters’ backgrounds and the use of both lectures and panel discussions helpful in enabling “participants to fully understand that they can integrate environmental mandates into a business plan and vision and what some of the difficulties are along the way.”

“Attendees came with many ideas and the willingness to share them with each other,” Resnick said, and Vera described the separate presentations and the overall impact of the day as “powerful.”

Senior Associate Dean Christos Koulamas and Gregory Swienton, chairman and CEO, Ryder System, Inc. welcomed the participants to the forum, which took place on February 7, 2008, in the Kovens Conference Center. Among other presenters, Gary Hirshberg, CEO, Stonyfield Farm, Inc. and author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World, gave a compelling lecture titled “Achieving Profitability through Environmentally and Socially Responsible Practices.”

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