Fellow second-year student Dan Perera and I recently hosted the first Center for Business, Government and Society Fellows Seminar of the 2020-2021 academic year. I loved getting to work with Dan planning this session; he and I met last year on a pre-orientation trip trekking in Peru and it was fun to use being paired as session leaders together to catch up and discuss our overlapping areas of interest. We both wanted to focus within the general realm of climate and, building on my First-Year Project work with Patagonia and his summer internship experience looking at sustainability for Amazon, we focused the session on exploring intersectional environmentalism and the specific implications of carbon pricing for business’ decision-making.
It was so wonderful to see and talk with our cohort of fellows after being away at our summer internships! One thing I appreciate a lot about this group is their eagerness to listen to and engage with the concepts, topics, and ideas that other members of the cohort are most energized by; here is a group invested in solving issues related to education, global poverty, financial inclusion, racial equity (and many more) that was keen to hear what Dan and I had to share about climate change.
We divvied up into breakout groups for more in-depth discussions and I was struck by how personal these topics are. One classmate shared that her home is located within the district we had provided to the group as an example of the intersectional impact of climate damage, specifically the very real health harm from pollution.
When our breakout groups came back together to regroup and share observations and insights we had an interesting discussion about the incremental value brands can achieve for themselves (in addition to their carbon offsetting value) by taking more sustainable actions. Another one of my classmates taught me about a concept he discussed frequently in his internship that I had never learned before: an “inset”, a somewhat cheeky name to refer to a “offset” from a carbon removal project that takes place within the value chain of the company. I am excited to walk away from the session having gained a more nuanced way of thinking about insets and offsets that I am looking forward to applying in my Business and Climate Change class later this fall.