Sustainability and Leadership with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Joined by 90 MBA students from Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of Northern Carolina who came to Shanghai this September for their summer immersion program, Richard Brubaker, Managing Director of Collective Responsibility and Visiting Professor of Sustainability, from the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), was invited to speak on sustainability in China and share his 15 years’ experience in working in Asia to inspire and equip business leaders to bring about changes.

As the first speaker of the Day Two Session, Brubaker kicked off the session by explaining the role of sustainability in the Chinese economy. He showed how China has successfully transformed into an industrial economy and as the cities are expanding, the main sustainability concern for China is around delivering an economy to 7 billion urban consumers. This includes delivering food, water, housing, transportation, and infrastructure in an efficient way. To demonstrate his point, Brubaker used several cases studies to illustrate how rules and ways of doing business are changing in China. After his keynote speech, he then invited four social entrepreneurs to share their insights of doing business in China and how their practices fit into the big picture.

Monique Maissan, Founder, and CEO of Waste2Wear

  • As a sustainable textile company, Waste2Wear is working with local communities to promote the awareness of recycling, to incentivize waste facilities to recycle trash rather than incinerating it, and turn plastic bottles into textiles
  • Maissan shared with the MBA students the challenges she faced as an entrepreneur who built up a multi-national company while working with fractured manufacturing and distribution systems

Alex Przybyla, xFriends Integration Manager, Haworth

  • Haworth is an office furniture company who entered the Chinese market and established several offices
  • Przybyla talked about how his company entered the Chinese market, and how their concept of a new, collaborative style of corporate office spaces adapted to the Chinese context

Shiyin Cai, Founder of Dialogue in the Dark, China

  • Dialogue in the Dark is a social enterprise dedicated to promote awareness and create jobs for the blinds, disabled and disadvantaged
  • Cai told the students her story of enabling Chinese policymakers to understand blindness and changing society’s perceptions of the disabled via using experiential learning

Sebastian Martin, Founder of Cambio Coffee

  • Cambio Coffee is a social enterprise, which imports its coffee from Latin America and roasts in China
  • Martin shared how he recalibrated his business model to meet the needs of the Chinese market and how one can utilize their business strengths to bring about new channels of revenue

The keynote speech and the interactive workshops engaged students to think about what they can do to make a change and how their future strategies can fit into the bigger picture.

Should you wish to invite Richard Brubaker for keynote speeches, workshops, please reach out to Yuxin Wang at [email protected]

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