Duke Team Unveils New Corporate Stewardship Strategy at U.N. Climate Meeting

April 6, 2010
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Contact: Tim Lucas, (919) 681-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu, Note to editors: Deborah Rigling Gallagher can be reached for additional comments at (919) 613-8138 or deb.gallagher@duke.edu

DURHAM, N.C. – A team of faculty and students at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment have developed a new strategy for helping corporations integrate high-level environmental stewardship into their businesses practices and policies.

Deborah Rigling Gallagher, assistant professor of the practice of resource and environmental policy, presented the team’s work today (April 7) at a meeting of the United Nations Global Compact “Caring for Climate” signatories in Geneva, Switzerland.

The “next-generation, supra-environmental” strategy developed by Gallagher and her team employs a Web-based interface to provide managers and executives with access to essential information they need to incorporate stewardship practices and policies into their businesses’ organizational value chain. The practices and policies shared through the interface will help businesses identify “robust, actionable” solutions to address key environmental issues such as climate change, water, energy and ecosystems conservation, Gallagher says.

The strategy integrates insights from a series of webinars organized by the UN with assistance from Dan Vermeer, executive director of Duke’s Corporate Sustainability Initiative, and from detailed interviews with key firms and a survey of a broader group of Caring for Climate signatories.

The UN meeting, which runs through April 8, brings together about 150 climate experts, corporate practitioners and civil leaders from around the globe to share cutting-edge practices for managing risks and taking advantage of opportunities associated with climate change.

Following the Geneva meeting, Gallagher and her team will refine the strategy and post it on a Website hosted by Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, where it can serve as “a living, breathing resource for businesses across the globe,” she says.

The refined Website content will be formally presented to all UN Global Compact signatories and stakeholders at the 10th anniversary meeting of the compact, June 24-25, in New York City.

Five Master of Environmental Management (MEM) students are working with Gallagher on the new strategy. They are Beth Boomgard, David Gordon, Hua Fan, Matt Jengsen and Martin Romero-Wolf.

Boomgard and Romero-Wolf are pursuing concurrent MEM and Master of Business Administration degrees from Duke. Jengsen is pursuing concurrent MEM and Master of Public Policy degrees.