Friday, September 26, 2014

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC:

UNC Researchers Discover “Burping Estuaries”  
Public Radio East 
Large bodies of water absorb and store carbon dioxide. Dr. Hans Paerl, Professor of Marine Sciences at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, and Dr. Joey Crosswell, postdoctoral researcher, discovered that tropical storms and hurricanes can cause stored carbon dioxide to be released all at one time. “Burping estuaries” could be a significant source of CO2 emissions. The only way to lessen the effect is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that humans introduce into the environment. “And so that means controlling emissions, like agricultural emissions,” says Dr. Paerl, “which generate quite a bit of CO2.” 

Kenan-Flagler Business School Honored for Course Innovation 
The Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management and McGraw-Hill selected Lisa Jones Christensen, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, to receive the 2014 Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award. Christensen’s Sustainability Leadership Capstone course uses entrepreneurship to advance leadership skills and students’ knowledge of sustainable business practices through a framework that compares local and international sustainability issues. “They leave the formal classroom behind and join partners to co-create solutions to entrepreneurial challenges using a sustainability lens,” said Jones Christensen.

UNC Student Research Prepares Duplin County for Waste-to-Energy Facilities 
The Herald Sun 
A new plant to capture gas from hog waste and turn it into usable energy has been proposed for Duplin County, NC. As part of the N.C. Strategic Economic Growth initiative, recent UNC graduate Carolyn Fryberger researched fifteen communities with waste-to-energy facilities to help officials understand the potential impacts of hog waste energy generation and address concerns about potential odors. Fryberger reports that the odors can be reduced and controlled. The N.C. Strategic Economic Growth initiative works to help distressed areas by pairing UNC-Chapel Hill MBA students with private company leaders to create economic development plans for communities. 

College Campuses Commit to the Real Food Challenge
UNC Chapel Hill is one of 140 universities participating in the Real Food Challenge. An online calculator helps campuses measure and report on sustainably-produced food served to students. Using the Real Food Calculator, UNC is shifting university food spending away from industrial agriculture and empty calories and towards local, fair, ecologically sound, and humanely produced food. Last semester, student researchers at Carolina found that 26% of food served on campus in February was “Real Food.” Over 600 student researchers across the U.S. have used the online tool to review 84,297 products and $71 million worth of campus food purchases. 

Why Environmental Rankings Should Include Social Impact 
The Guardian 
While everybody loves a good top-10 list, sustainability rankings often fail to include social metrics that provide a more complete picture of a company's societal impact. Carol Hee, director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, says that if we define sustainability as the “triple bottom line” – measuring business performance in terms of its effects on people, the planet and profit –corporate executives and stakeholders are provided with a comprehensive lens through which to assess sustainability. To determine whether a company is authentically sustainable, Hee seeks information on the management team, the firm’s corporate governance and the culture. “I’d also want to know whether the firm was socially responsible,” she said. “How does the firm treat its employees, retirees and job applicants? Does the firm have non-discriminatory practices, pay a fair wage, offer safe working conditions and benefits like health care and paid time off?” Hee argues that social responsibility stretches beyond a company’s walls, extending to its interactions with overseas workers and the local community. 
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Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at