Students Are Highlighting Sustainable Businesses Through Storytelling
Photo Credit: Kiera Burton/Pexels
There are so many businesses making positive change that deserve recognition. Megan Buchter — the director at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit — encourages students to discover and profile these businesses through her program AIM2Flourish.
“AIM2Flourish is a globally-used program that aims to teach students about the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDG) and business' role in achieving them,” Buchter tells CircleAround. “Using the UN Global Goals as their lens, students research and identify a positive business innovation and interview a business leader about it.”
Currently, over 140 professors at over 100 universities around the world participate in the program, helping students discover and write about businesses achieving SDG goals. The students’ stories are then published on the Aim2Flourish website, which now has more than 3,000 articles on it. For example, one student named Sita Tyasutami profiled TORAJAMELO, a company that supports women in rural Indonesia by creating an alternative and regenerative rural economy centered around weavers.
Each year, 17 Flourish Prizes are awarded to businesses doing particularly amazing work. The honorees are chosen from the students’ stories published on AIM2Flourish.com.
“These prizes are a very exciting part of every year for us,” Buchter tells CircleAround. “It is always so exciting to celebrate the people that I work with all year long and to recognize the impact that the educators are having on their students, the impact that the businesses are having on the world, and the impact that the students are going to have as they enter the work environment.”
Using the UN Global Goals as their lens, students research and identify a positive business innovation and interview a business leader about it.
The inaugural Flourish Prize recipients from 2017 hold a special place for Buchter. “We were able to have our celebration in person at our Fourth Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit,” she says. “I worked on bringing our Flourish Prize Honorees to Cleveland, Ohio —students, professors, and business leaders, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. I helped bring more than 60 people to Cleveland to receive and celebrate their Flourish Prizes in person.”
“[...] I'll never forget the joy I felt looking at everyone waiting for me in the lobby. I had been working with the professors for the past academic year, reading and publishing the students' stories about the businesses that were so appreciative of having their stories told, and here everyone was at our university in Cleveland, Ohio.”
Currently, Buchter is helping to plan the Fifth Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World (Virtual) Benefit and is working on creating new programming for students. But what she loves most about her job is the impact that these programs have on participants.
“If the next generation of leaders is educated and knowledgeable about how business can make a positive impact in the world to their employees, to their communities, to the environment, then those leaders are only going to want to work for and start companies that have those ideals. And the whole business world is going to look very different.”