Posted April 24, 2008

Conference promotes 'green' business

Social Entrepreneurship
Photo by Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University
At the Third Annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference on April 9, 2008, the panel featured local 'green' business leaders (left to right) Christopher Bentley, Executive Vice President of FuelCell Energy Clayton Lane, Deputy Executive Director, Philly CarShare Ken Rosso, Fox MBA student and co-founder of Fox Net Impact, and Nadia Adawi, President of Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel.

At Temple’s third annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference, organized by the student M.B.A. group Net Impact, environmental and social issues were shown to be not simply political talking points, but also a strong consideration in business practices and investments.

The conference, titled “Will ‘Green’ Investments Change the World?” dealt with the financial aspects of running a socially responsible corporation. It was designed to highlight the importance of balancing profits and environmental sustainability, said MBA student Ken Rosso, who moderated one of the event’s roundtable discussions.

The Fox School of Business’ Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute sponsored the event and worked closely with Net Impact to ensure that the conference’s message was heard.


“In keeping with their commitment to use the power of business to make a positive impact, the Net Impact team really wanted to focus on the interaction between financial markets — business in a nutshell — and global climate change,” said T.L. Hill, managing director of the Enterprise Management Consulting Practice at the Fox School.

Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat, one of the conference’s speakers, said the Fox School of Business’ entrepreneurship program’s strong emphasis on socal entrepreneurship is one of the reasons why the program is consistently near the top of rankings such as those by the Princeton Review, U.S.News and World Report, and Entrepreneur magazine.

“Doing good is good for business,” Porat said.

Among the conference’s speakers was Bart Houlahan, whose nonprofit B Corporation certifies corporations that “create public benefit along with profit.” He stressed the importance of utilizing “creative capitalism” through “green” investments.

“There is going to be a new way to do business in the next 20 or 30 years,” Houlahan said.

“Environmental business is the future way to do business,” said Peter Seltzer, a senior entrepreneursip major with a minor in environmental studies. “That’s why these conferences are so important.”

The first of two panels, consisting of investors and entrepreneurs including Clayton Lane, co-founder of PhillyCarShare, and Nadia Adawi, president of Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel, followed Houlahan and discussed environmental sustainability while answering questions from the audience.

Philadelphia Fry-o-Diesel, a company that converts waste grease into biodiesel, and PhillyCarShare served as local examples of how “green” investing is more than an environmental fad.

“Green services thrive when they also deliver value like convenience or affordability to individuals and businesses,” Lane said. “Social entrepreneurs have found how to make that formula work. Green investing is here to stay.”

— Written by Tom Rice

For the Fox School of Business