Alison Dennis, a local leader in sustainability, has been named executive director of the Portland State Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability.
Alison Dennis, a local leader in sustainability, has been named executive director of the Portland State Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability. Dennis will assume responsibility as executive director on Jan. 1, 2011.
Dennis’ reputation as an innovator in sustainable business models comes from her most recent employment as director of sustainable programs at Burgerville, a Pacific Northwest-based restaurant chain renowned for its sustainable business practices.
At Burgerville, she was most concerned with the issues of food sourcing, ensuring that ingredients come from the most sustainable sources possible, reducing the amount of water and energy incorporated into production and eliminating waste and wasteful procedures, Dennis said.
“I believe that, ultimately, the most profitable companies will be the ones who take the best care of people and the planet we share,” Dennis said. “I’m thrilled to be joining such a talented group of students and faculty at PSU, along with great leaders in our local and international business community, to bring that future vision to fruition.”
Not only are these policies and procedures more conducive to the sustainability of the enterprise, they also tend to be cost-effective, with greater output.
“There are all kinds of parallels between leaving a smaller footprint and running a tighter business,” Dennis said.
Commenting on her recent appointment to PSU’s sustainability center, Dennis said, “[PSU] has an incredible reputation for sustainable business leadership, so I’m just looking to build on that reputation and continue to grow the center’s scope and reach, and have it be an even more vital resource for students and business professionals around the world interested in solving the pressing problems of today.”
The sustainability center, an offshoot of PSU’s School of Business Administration, is concerned with the innovation of novel solutions to the ecologically rooted challenges facing modern businesses. Its ideology is complementary to Dennis’, in that the nature of environmental and financial systems—business-wise—is inherently similar.
According to Dennis, the key to sustainability is a mix of smart decisions, ecological awareness and basic business sensibilities.
“Companies are made up of people, and sustainability has the power to tap the full intelligence of all kinds of workers today,” she said. “The resources are already there. We’re already investing in talent on work forces everywhere. How do we tap the full capacity of that talent to come up with new solutions to problems we haven’t been able to solve yet?” ?