CORVALLIS - The relationship between business success and sustainability is the focus of a special spring term course at Oregon State University that also doubles as a free public lecture series.

Sponsored by OSU's College of Business, the series, "Is Sustainability Good Business?" opens on Monday, April 5, in Milam Auditorium. Lectures in the series will be held every Monday through May 17 in Milam from 6 to 7:20 p.m.

Leading off the series will be Amory Lovins, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Hank Patton, executive director of the World Steward Organization, who will discuss "New Jobs and New Markets in Long-Term Wealth Creation."

Lovins is a nationally recognized scientist and consultant whose work has promoted resource efficiency in fields ranging from automobiles to energy. In his talk, he will discuss how using natural resources productively and efficiently is both profitable and better for the environment. He will address how companies can harness environmental performance for a competitive edge.

Patton founded World Steward, a non-profit organization working on economic and cultural partnerships with an eye toward protecting the interests of future generations.

This is the third consecutive year that the College of Business at OSU has taken a topical issue and created a combination course/lecture series. Two years ago, the college inaugurated the series with "The Enron Implosion," which looked at the effects of Enron's collapse. The course received national attention for its timeliness and public interest.

. Last year, the college followed up with "War on Main Street," which looked at how terrorism and the war with Iraq affected American businesses.

This year's theme of sustainability is particularly timely, according to Jack Drexler, an associate professor of business who is coordinating the course. "The series will examine the environmental, economic, social and ethical dimensions of sustainability," Drexler said. "There are some terrific guest lecturers coming in who will explore issues of sustainability in different industries and gauge its impact on the Oregon and U.S. economies. At the same time, they will shed light on how companies have succeeded - or failed - while trying to implement sustainable business practices."

One of those lecturers is Debby Kennedy, the director of the state's Brand Oregon Initiative, an effort by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and others to unify the state's communication and marketing efforts while developing public and private partnerships. In her talk, Kennedy will explore how differentiating Oregon - and leveraging its "sustainable" products - will help the state build a better brand image for business and consumers. Her presentation is scheduled May 3.

David Williams, the president and CEO of ShoreBank Pacific, will speak on April 12. ShoreBank Pacific is the first commercial bank in the U.S. to frame its business around environmentally sustainable community development.

Tim Nesbitt, the president of Oregon's AFL-CIO, headlines what should be an interesting session on April 19. Nesbitt has been active in promoting his organization's agenda through ballot measures and in the legislature, including the protection of Oregon's working families, the raising of minimum wage, and protection of unions. The series will look at the impact on people of such business practices as outsourcing and moving jobs overseas.

The entire schedule of the series follows:

April 5
"New Jobs and New Markets in Long-Term Wealth Creation," with Amory Lovins, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and Hank Patton, executive director of the World Steward Organization.

April 12
"Lessons from Financing Sustainable Businesses," David Williams, CEO of ShoreBank Pacific, a leader in commercial investment of environmentally friendly companies.

April 19
"Outsourcing's Effect on Local Communities," Tim Nesbitt, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO; and Kevin Cummings, communications representative of the Western United States-International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

April 26
"Innovators in the Natural Resource Economy," Karla Chambers, vice president of Stahlbush Island Farms; Wade Mosby, senior vice president of Collins Pine; and Steve Lawton, OSU associate professor of business;

May 3
"Brand Oregon," Debby Kennedy, director of Brand Oregon, a project initiated by Gov. Kulongoski and others to unify Oregon's marketing and communication efforts to attract business and tourists, among other goals.

May 10
"Sustainability: A Business Imperative," Bruce Hecht, Corvallis chapter coordinator of the Oregon Natural Step Network, will discuss how businesses can incorporate sustainable thinking into their operations; a panel of local business owners will share their successes and failures in implementing sustainable practices.

May 17
"Is Sustainability Good Business?" Mark Pagell, OSU assistant professor of business; Michael V. Russo, head of the Department of Management at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business; Roger Graham, chair of the OSU Department of Accounting.

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Jeanne Silsby, 541-737-6020