Our call to creation care
Climate Pledge Arena is just over the hill from Seattle Pacific University. It’s not only home to our NHL team, the Kraken, and our WNBA team, the Storm, but it also plans to be the first certified net-zero arena in the world.
When you attend a game or concert at Climate Pledge, you can use your electronic-entry ticket as a free transit pass. The arena uses 100% renewable electricity, zero waste, and reclaimed rainwater for the ice. You’ll even find a giant wall garden made of 27 plant species.
Climate Pledge reflects the desires of many consumers and businesses to make their operations more sustainable to combat climate change. And while companies can make false claims about their environmental practices or engage in “greenwashing,” at SBGE we believe sustainability is about more than impressing stakeholders. Creation care is part of our Christian call to advance human flourishing through stewardship. That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of our Sustainable Management minor: People, Planet, and Productivity.
In this issue, you can learn more about our new minor, the theology behind creation care, and how our alumnus Alan Turanski takes stewardship seriously in his family’s honey business.
Charity Osborn Q&A: The demand for sustainability-focused coursework
SBGE recently launched our minor in Sustainable Management this Autumn Quarter. We met with Charity Osborn, associate dean of undergraduate students, over Zoom, and she explained how the minor is “a passion project sprung from deeply held values that the students and faculty share.” The minor focuses on people, planet, and productivity and positions students to address some of the most vital needs of our day.
Why did SBGE find it important to create a Sustainable Management minor?
It comes down to three things: SBGE’s mission and values, the demand from both students and employers, and our identity as a Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Champion School. PRME is a UN-backed initiative created to raise the profile of sustainability in schools around the world. Being one of five PRME Champion Schools in the nation is a natural fit for SBGE and our commitment to advance human flourishing.
How interested are SPU students in sustainability and the minor?
In response to a student interest survey conducted in 2021, nearly 29% of SBGE respondents indicated they were “very interested” in a sustainability minor; nearly 49% expressed “moderate interest,” and 17% said they were “slightly interested.”
A whopping 40% of our students said they were interested in pursuing a career that includes some aspects of sustainability, and 40% more said they might be interested.
How is sustainability becoming a more marketable area of expertise for graduates?
Our perusal of recent job postings confirmed that employers are looking for coursework in and knowledge of sustainability topics in addition to basic SBGE degrees.
For example, a job posting for a Supply Chain Lead at Microsoft requested a business degree and sustainability knowledge regarding the environment, health and safety, and human rights. Levi Strauss had a posting for a manager with a degree in accounting or finance plus sustainability reporting knowledge.
A move toward sustainability in business is certainly a trend. A recent PWC Global private Equity Responsible Investment survey reported that sustainability is moving from a periphery position (risk management) to a more central and integrated component of value creation.
The theology of environmental stewardship
By Thomas Parks, Instructor of Business Ethics
Students enter business ethics knowing about sustainability. Yet, the intrigue comes in clarifying that sustainability is not about being performative or socially engaged; it is a response to God’s command. The human, created from the humus, is called by God to care for creation in Genesis 2. Our call to steward creation is a call to practice sustainability in and through our work — even today.
Our work and lives, in action and inaction, affect God’s creation. Often, those who feel the effects first are those most neglected: the environment and marginalized communities. Those without resources often feel the consequences of environmental decisions first, while those with resources either benefit from that industry or have work-arounds to address those externalities. Buying clean water or air conditioners is not the solution to the problems industry has created. SPU students are thinking ethically and strategically about how to address these problems at their source. Amidst the brokenness, our work can seem so limited, but here it is important to remember Jesus, who came to provide salvation, was faithful within the limits of human form.
We are not called to be saviors; we are to intentionally engage the world through our spheres of influence. This is stewardship. As stewards, we recognize the limits that come with our roles, resources, and responsibilities. Recognizing the limits within our call is not an excuse to disengage, it underscores that sustainability and stewardship is a powerful invitation into God’s ongoing transformative work. We are called to pursue sustainability through the lens of stewardship, for if we don’t, we will never sustain the kind of enduring transformation we envision.
New sustainable business course underway
We are excited to announce that the sustainability minor’s first course, Introduction to Sustainable Business, launched this fall and is taught by Randy Franz, professor of management. Students are exploring the challenges and opportunities provided by sustainable management, learning about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and discovering Christian themes and values that advance human flourishing.
GloryBee: faithful environmental stewards
This 2019 Faith & Co. film demonstrates how business can honor God through stewardship. While a lot has changed at GloryBee since the video was released, the company’s commitment to stewardship remains as strong as ever.
The nonprofit, Save the Bee, has donated nearly $1 million over the last decade and recently hired its first executive director. GloryBee started selling Ukrainian sunflower honey in August at grocery stores, including PCC Community Markets, with 100% of profits benefitting relief organizations that provide food and health services to the Ukrainian people.
One of many changes in recent years is the expansion of GloryBee’s production efforts, including adding a facility in Ohio this spring. In addition, the Eugene operations will expand to a larger local facility in January of 2023, which will grow production capability from 20 million to 50 million pounds of honey annually.
Alan Turanski ’99, company president, is careful with the word “process.” “We don’t process honey. The bees make the honey,” Turanski said. “We just handle it gently and make sure it gets to the clients.”
To learn about fighting food fraud in the honey industry, listen to episode one of the Straight from the Hive podcast with Alan Turanski. You can also look for the “true source honey” certification, which ensures honey is pure and unadulterated.
Is SPU’s MBA program the next step in your calling?
If you want to become a leader who uses business to serve the common good, consider SPU’s MBA program. The program is newly enhanced with 13 graduate business certificate programs and is fully online, so you can receive a high-quality AACSB-accredited business education no matter where you live. The program is particularly relevant for anyone who wants to stay on the cutting edge of technology while also using business to advance human flourishing. Request more information today!
Pollard Scholars news
Scholars from around the world apply for the Center for Faithful Business’ Bill Pollard Faith and Business Research Fellowship each year. Selected scholars come to SPU for a short residency where they draw upon the Pollard Papers and other resources in SPU’s Faith and Work collection.
The Center welcomed five scholars for the Pollard Scholars 2022 June cohort. On August 8, the Academy of Management presented CFB Pollard Scholar Marcus Brauer (Estacio de Sa/UERI/UNIRIO) and CFB Fellow Denise Daniels (Wheaton College) with the MSR Best Scholarly Paper 2022 award. They won the award for their submission of “Workplace Spirituality and the Tension Between Profit and People: The ServiceMaster Case.” MSR (Management, Spirituality & Religion) is a division of Academy of Management.
Faith & Co. news
Faith & Co. continues to release new films for its courses on faith and work. Season Five explores faith and finance, and the season’s first film, Founders, is available now! The film highlights Ocean, a faith-based community that holistically cares for entrepreneurs. The entire four seasons of Faith & Co. films were translated into Spanish subtitles and are now available to our Spanish-speaking audiences.
Technology leader Jamila Conley spoke on transformation
We welcomed Jamila Conley, vice president of business transformation, at F5 for our Dean’s Speaker Series on May 4, 2022. Conley oversees mergers and acquisitions at F5 and is an advocate for women and people of color in technology. She talked about transformation both in business and personally. “Being very cognizant during your journey can take you a lot of places to build who you become as both a person and a leader,” she said.
Faith and the Imagination Event
On June 7, the Center for Faithful Business hosted a night with English poet Malcolm Guite and Canadian songwriter Steve Bell. Guite and Bell talked about what it means to trust each other in deeply collaborative work. The event highlighted the center’s mandate to “awaken prophetic imagination.”
We would like to honor beloved faculty who have recently left and welcome our incoming faculty members. We will miss Joon Sohn, assistant professor of international business, and Richard Dadzie, assistant professor of economics. We wish them the best in their new endeavors.
Kim Sawers, former professor of accounting, is now the vice president for business and finance for SPU.
Our new faculty members include Ange Kakpo, assistant professor of economics; Jack DeJong, associate professor of finance; Carmelita Omran, instructor of accounting; Mwoyondishe Jonathan Mvududu, associate professor of international business; and Tom Parks, instructor of business ethics and faith in the marketplace. Join us in welcoming our new faculty to SBGE!