Hugh Fisher, BSC Associate
Current degree program: Second-year Jenkins MBA, Marketing Management concentration; Decision Analytics certification program
Hometown: Kannapolis, N.C.
Previous degree(s) & institutions: M.A., English, NC State ’07; B.A., English, UNC Wilmington ‘01
Areas of Interest in Sustainability: Sustainable energy, B corporations, CSR strategy for traditional organizations
Why is sustainability important to you? Why do you think it should be important to other students?
Because, both from an environmental and resource standpoint, and from a societal standpoint, we’re strongest when we stand together. If we, the future business leaders of the world, understand this fact, we’ll look at our responsibilities not only in the context of how we can maximize the benefits of our products and services, but how we can do so with an eye toward the well-being of others and building a sustainable business model for the future.
What first sparked your interest in sustainability? What made you realize that you wanted to incorporate sustainability into your education and future career?
Those of us who grew up in the 1990’s had messages about environmental sustainability ingrained in us through pop culture. But when I started working as a journalist, I saw headlines on resource consumption and business ethics and I started to wonder, where are we going? Even basic business ethics seem to have gone by the boards – I was too young to care about Enron, but the financial crisis of 2008 hit when I was just starting out, and made all of us take notice. Sustainable business practices are now survival skills. I think my generation realizes this more than any other.
What sustainability challenge would you most like to solve?
Access to sustainable energy. We’ve got new technologies that could be game-changers, and a lot of people who want to reduce the energy footprints of their homes and businesses. I’m interested to see how technologies like Tesla Powerwall home batteries might prove to be game-changers here. Even more interesting will be to see how such innovations might help meet the energy needs of the developing world.
What is your dream career, and how would you like to make sustainability a part of your day-to-day work?
As a marketing strategist, I’d like to help companies communicate their CSR efforts and their sustainability strategies in clear, coherent ways that are a natural fit for the business – rather than having it seem like an afterthought.
What’s your advice for fellow students who might be interested in sustainability, but don’t know where to start?
Network with students who’ve been a part of Net Impact and the Business Sustainability Collaborative, and attend as many events as you can. This is the quickest way to gain an understanding of the major players and the ways that you can add value to your education – and feel that you’re making a difference in whatever career you ultimately choose!