Forum explores eco-friendly business models

By Molly Packer

Strategic business and eco-friendly sustainability were combined to create the fifth annual Global Business Forum, which ended Thursday.

This year’s forum, hosted by the McBride Center for International Business, focused on how businesses are producing, discovering or using sustainable energy resources to become increasingly globally aware.

Recent events impacted what the forum would cover this year.

“We sort of try to take a topic that is going to be a subject of importance,” Dr. Stephen Gardner, chair and professor of economics and director of the McBride Center for International Business, said. “For several years, we thought that sooner or later we would do one of these about energy and the environment. I think we finally decided on that when the oil spill in the gulf happened.”

The forum began March 21 with a showing of the film “The Big Energy Gamble” and ended Thursday with President Ken Starr and T. Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management, discussing the energy issues facing the United States.

In between, speakers such as John E. Lowe, assistant to the CEO of ConocoPhillips, and Bob Tippee, editor of Oil & Gas Journal, gave presentations.

Smith Getterman, Baylor’s sustainability coordinator, said he appreciated the emphasis on sustainability in the business world in this year’s forum

Innovators such as Richard Hansen, founder and CEO of Soluz, Inc., explained the need for energy resources in Third World nations.

Megan Rapp, a United Nations consultant, Columbia University graduate student and 2007 Baylor alumna, spoke about the difficulties of energy use in Uganda.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one-third of the world’s liquid fuels are produced in northern Africa and the Middle East.

Libya has produced 60 to 90 percent less oil and natural gas since the political conflict in mid-February, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Business student and Houston freshman Ashley Woo said it is important to be focused on energy for the future.

“I think that business in itself is like the survival of the fittest,” Woo said.

“So a business that is ready for the future and realizes the possible problem of scarcity is more likely to succeed,” Woo said.