The 2009 Net Impact North American Conference, which took place November 13-15, 2008 at The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania was truly the most enlightening experiences of my life. I never thought that I would see a group as intelligent and passionate about social causes as I witnessed at the conference. It justly supported my belief that Corporate Social Responsibility is a fundamental part of any business model that hopes to succeed in the economy of the future.
I think it is important to note that Net Impact, and its conference, is not just a society of “Green” business professionals and intellects. The word that is more frequently used, but is often inappropriately believed to be synonymous with “Green,” is “Sustainability.” Sustainability does not just address care for the environment. It is also concerned with business practices that benefit all long-term stakeholders (Community, Employees, and Stockholders) in a company. As we suffer from the aftermath of the banking industry’s meltdown, which I believe was the result of an over emphasis on short-term gains, the importance of sustainable business practices have become especially important to me. Therefore, many of the seminars I chose to attend focused on social responsibility issues rather than ecological issues. Seminars such as: (RED) Harnessing the Power of Business for Sustainable Change, Getting Your Social Venture Off the Ground, and Just Good Business: Aligning Corporate Responsibility and Brand offered great evidence of what Fortune 500 businesses and emerging companies are doing to change the world for the better, while maintaining respectable profits.
I would recommend the Net Impact conference to ANY business student, because, as mentioned earlier, all business leaders will need to confront the issues of ecological sustainability and sustainable business models if they hope to succeed in the new economy. I cannot wait to build upon my knowledge next year!--