• Lisa Wang

CBE's Commitment to Sustainability: Beyond a Day's Work

Updated: Sep 15, 2019


CBE is committed to improving sustainability—locally, nationally, and internationally. In recognition of our organization's 10th anniversary, and in an effort to further our mission, this fall we held our inaugural Sustainability Day. This initiative aimed to engage the organization in hands-on impact in the greater-Boston community. On November 10th, 2018, every member of our organization partnered with one of a handful of local non-profit organizations to partake in volunteer work. The projects included the following:


Greenovate City of Boston: Work with the Boston mayor's office to improve a local park - pulling out invasive species and cleaning up litter.

Habitat for Humanity: Work with the Harvard branch of Habitat for Humanity - a nonprofit organization that helps people in our community and around the world build or improve a place they can call home - to build and paint houses.

HARTZ: Work with HARTZ, a PBHA program that sends volunteers to visit Cambridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center residents as a group and entertain them by playing bingo, leading art classes, coordinating outings to Boston landmarks, and planning holiday-themed parties.

Y2Y: Work with Y2Y - a student-run organization that provides temporary housing, meals, and other services to at-risk youth.


As a member of the team working with Greenovate City of Boston, the day began at 8:15AM on Saturday, November 10th in the Malkin Athletic Centre parking lot. Our group of about 25 CBE members took public transit to Jamaica Plain, Boston, where the work site was located. The commute was quite a long one, but allowed for interesting conversation and a chance to get to know members outside of our respective case teams.

Greenovate Boston Team, post invasive species removal and cleanup! (Photo credits: Jasper Johnson)

Upon arrival at the site, we were broken up into smaller working teams and equipped with gloves, loppers, organic waste bags, and garbage bags. It was an experience far removed from our typical casework, but meaningful in being able to get on the ground and create an evident change. The locations in which we were situated were visibly cleaner. Although the weather was far from ideal as we were outdoors, the day went very smoothly overall. It can often be difficult to see the impact being made, especially in doing casework that serves a top-down rather than bottom-up approach in sustainable action. Therefore, this opportunity to create tangible change, though small in its long-term impact with respect to the work itself, allowed CBE members to bond with one another and connect to our mission statement of sustainability.

CBE’s Sustainability Day is just one of several initiatives held in keeping with the organization’s commitment to sustainability and impact. On a higher level, CBE’s casework seeks to help clients improve their operations and sustainable practices. CBE’s Sustainability Grant enables and encourages individuals and organizations to pursue in innovative sustainability projects. While CBE's work, people, and resources enable us to cultivate positive change, there is room yet for this impact to grow.

Much can be done to further CBE’s work in creating a more sustainable world and demonstrate that industry does not necessitate a depreciating environment. There is great potential in bridging the two, as environmental conservation allows for sustainable growth of the economy. To reconcile the environmental damage that is often associated with business, it is not only essential that sustainable business practices are adopted, but that we can begin to rethink our current models and form regenerative, environmentally conscious systems.

CBE continues to seek ways to further our impact in the near future; we plan to roll out initiatives such as a high school sustainability scholarship, while fortifying our environmental casework and current projects of the Sustainability Grant and Sustainability Day.


The CBE x HARTZ team! (Photo credit: Jeff Cott)

HARVARD UNDERGRADUATE CONSULTING ON BUSINESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT © 2020

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