Carbon offset recommendations by students adopted by the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at University of Victoria

The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is believed to be the first carbon neutral business school in the world

December 4, 2018, Victoria, BC: University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business will be investing in carbon offset projects that have been chosen by its students; emphasizing once again, that it is a leader in environmental sustainability. With this investment, the School will be offsetting its Scope 3 travel and commuting emissions – which make up the vast majority of its carbon footprint.

Earlier this year, the Gustavson School of Business held The 2018 Carbon Offset Pitch Competition. Through this competition, students were given the option of creating a portfolio – individually or as a team – with their selection of carbon offset projects from a list of carefully pre-screened projects. The school’s Carbon Neutrality Plus committee then reviewed all the submissions and selected five finalist portfolios. Following this, the faculty, staff and students voted for the portfolio they felt would have the most impact and best represented Gustavson’s four core pillars – International, Innovative, Integrative, and Sustainability/Social Responsibility.

“Last year, the Carbon Neutrality Plus Committee decided the offset project options that were then voted on by faculty, students, and staff,” says Simon Pek, assistant professor of sustainability and organization theory at Gustavson and co-chair of the School’s Carbon Neutrality Plus Committee. “This year our goal was to further engage and involve the students, and so we let the students develop the portfolios.”

The winning portfolio honours went to the aptly named “The Redeemers”, a team made up of three Bachelor of Commerce students: Mikiya Hobbs, Steve Hawkins, Gabe Velenosi. The team selected two offset projects for their portfolio – The Bundled Solar Power Project in India and The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project, right here in British Columbia

The two winning projects are both offered by Offsetters, a Canadian company focused on providing organizations and individuals with sustainable carbon-management and offset project solutions. The Great Bear Forest Carbon Project provides jobs for First Nations communities of the region and helps fund community improvement projects. The Bundled Solar Power Project helps improve social and economic well-being for the surrounding communities in India

The entire 2018 Carbon Offsets Pitch Competition was designed to be educational, inclusive, and engaging; especially for the students.  

“Making sustainable business decisions has always been a key focus for all of us at Gustavson,” says Rick Cotton associate professor at Gustavson and co-chair of the School’s Carbon Neutrality Plus Committee. “We know that students have great insights when it comes to sustainability, and we were keen on harnessing their potential in our decision making.”

The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is believed to be the first carbon neutral business school in the world. The School has been tracking its carbon footprint for over eight years.

“I am constantly impressed by Gustavson’s innovation, especially in regard to engaging their students in climate action,” says Kayli Anderson, managing partner at Synergy Enterprises, the company that calculates the School’s carbon footprint and generates its annual report. “By providing students with a key role in deciding on the school’s investment in carbon offset projects, Gustavson is making sure its students understand the importance of social responsibility and sustainable leadership practices.”