Door County Economic Development Corp and Sustain Door Partner in Presenting Sustainable Business Course

Do you worry about creating a “sustainable world”?  Do you wonder how your business could prosper while contributing to this goal?  Are you hungry for examples of businesses that are actually making significant progress towards sustainability?  The Natural Step for Business course, co-sponsored by Sustain Door, Inc. and the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) will provide a forum for local business and community leaders to explore answers to these and other related questions.  The course begins Thursday, September 10th and runs for a period of five weeks through October 8, 5:30-7:30pm in the DCEDC conference room. The course will be conducted as a book discussion with participants reading assigned chapters of The Natural Step for Business: Wealth, Ecology & the Evolutionary Corporation (Conscientious Commerce) by Brian Nattrass and Mary Altomare.

Outside of the purchase of the book, the course is free and open to any interested individuals.

The Natural Step is a flexible and adaptable framework based on indisputable scientific principles such as the laws of thermodynamics, which provides a basis for large and small businesses and other organizations to advance toward sustainability. By following The Natural Step in business practices, these organizations contribute to the efforts to preserve the conditions for life for future generations, while prospering financially.

“There’s a lot of interest in sustainability in the state,” says Renny Lea, small business co-owner and member of Sustain Door, Inc.  “What keeps most business people from looking into it is the time factor and defining what sustainability is.  The Natural Step has provided a framework guiding businesses toward sustainability, and we’ll be taking a closer look at how it’s done.”

In addition to group discussion about applying concepts found in the readings to local businesses and organizations, arrangements have been made for video and in-person presentations by experts in the field of sustainable development.  Highlights in the study circle schedule include presentations by Roger Kuhns, PhD who will speak from his varied experience and current position in sustainable development at Black & Veatch, Inc. about the economic factors that both drive and impact businesses’ efforts to incorporate sustainable practices.  Bryant Moroder of Sustain Dane, an organization which has moved Dane County, Wisconsin along a path toward sustainability, will speak about the City of Madison’s MPower program, a networking organization for early adopters of sustainable practices among organizations in that city.

Following is a schedule for The Natural Step for Business course.  To facilitate discussion, the course is limited to twelve participants.  For more information or to register for the class, contact Ann Hippensteel at or 920-743-3337 by September 4.

The Natural Step for Business Course Schedule:

Thursday, Sept 10 – Introduction to The Natural Step.  Film: A Passion for Sustainability (How fourteen businesses, including large companies like NIKE and smaller mom and pop’s like HotLips Pizza, operate according to The Natural Step framework.)

Thursday, Sept 17 – Part One: Designing the Future – Discussion about Chapters 1 – 3.  Film: The Business Case for Sustainability by Bob Willard, author of The Sustainability Advantage.

Thursday, Sept 24 – Two Case Studies: IKEA and Scandic Hotels – Discussion about Chapters 4, 5. Guest presentation: Sustainability: Its Drivers and Financial/Economic Impacts on Businesses by Roger Kuhns, PhD, Black & Veatch, Sustainable Development.

Thursday, Oct 1 – Two More Case Studies: Interface, Inc. and Collins Pine Company – Discussion about Chapters 6, 7.  Guest presentation: Sustainable Business Networking and the Madison Mpower Program by Bryant Moroder, Sustain Dane.

Thursday, Oct 8 – Part Three:  The Evolutionary Journey – Discussion about Chapters 8 -10.  Where do we go from here?

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