Center for Responsible Business to Expand Sustainability Program

A program to make products more sustainable that is housed at the Haas School will expand its focus to research on consumer packaging and waste processing as a result of two new gifts.

The expansion of the Sustainable Products and Solutions (SPS) Program is made possible by gifts from Kimberly-Clark, maker of well-known global brands such as of Kleenex® tissue and Huggies® diapers, and Waste Management, Inc., the nation's largest provider of waste, recycling, and environmental services. The companies have agreed to contribute $100,000 each, renewable over three years, to the Center for Responsible Business' SPS Program, launched in 2007 with a multimillion-dollar commitment from the Dow Chemical Co. Foundation.

The gifts will support faculty and graduate student research, fellowships, and conferences and seminars. A steering committee comprised of faculty and staff from the university will all make funding decisions.

Possible projects include studying zero-waste trends and their public policy implications; scientific and financial assessments of waste-processing technologies; analysis of end-of-life scenarios for various products, including recycling, waste-to-energy, and composting; and product-specific case studies of consumer sustainability perceptions vs. reality.

"These gifts will help us develop leaders who define what's next for our markets and our societies," says Haas School Dean Rich Lyons. "This kind of path-bending leader is more critical than ever to our future because straight-line paths in areas such as energy and raw materials are simply unsustainable."

The SPS program is a collaboration between the Haas School and the College of Chemistry. SPS was chosen by Waste Management and Kimberly-Clark for its existing interdisciplinary ties; a strong research reputation; opportunity to hold roundtables or symposia; and strong public policy angle. In addition, California’s leadership role in sustainability and leading-edge public policy was a factor.

“The global reputation of the Haas School of Business as well as the Sustainable Products and Solutions Program's objectives and collaborative structure strongly influenced our decision to support the SPS Program," says Peter B. Dulcamara, vice-president of corporate research and engineering at Kimberly-Clark. "Kimberly-Clark values this emerging relationship with Berkeley-Haas as we continue advancing our widely recognized sustainability efforts."

"The real-world problems that the Sustainable Products and Solutions Program will address are critical to our company’s future as we seek to extract the value that is in waste," adds Claudia Hertzog, senior analyst at Waste Management. "We’re also pleased we could help enthusiastic, talented students engage in such meaningful work.”

Visit the SPS website for more information about the program.