Green Business is Good Business

Ashford University integrates education with global responsibility and educates future change makers

More businesses are turning attention to sustainability practices, focusing efforts on social corporate responsibility to reduce energy use and cut costs. To prepare students for sustainable careers, universities are integrating education with global responsibility, teaching effective business practices that reduce the carbon-footprint, while creating value for the employer.

According to Dr. Adam Selhorst, assistant professor and chair of the environmental studies department at Ashford University, “Many students are working on degrees that tackle tough environmental problems, including climate change, waste management, energy use and population dynamics,” said Selhorst. “Ashford students in the environmental studies program learn to implement sustainability practices for business organizations, as well as to develop proper solutions to hard-hitting environmental issues.”

Environmental issues have become strategic topics for businesses. According to GreenBiz’s 2013 State of the Profession Report, the size of sustainability teams at large companies continues to grow, with the number of six to 10 member teams increasing from 10 percent to 22 percent since 2010.  With companies recognizing the monetary benefits of going green, business careers focused on sustainability are on the rise.

JaNaye Estlick, a Holland, Mich. resident and current student in Ashford University’s environmental studies program, is studying online to become a professional advocate for Mother Earth. “It will take strong leaders in the environmental career field to redirect our ‘business-as-usual’ approach. We need an approach that is holistic and sustainable,” said Estlick. “My goal is to help reverse the damages to biodiversity and to have a career that improves our environment.”

Selhorst says that there is a growing trend in the industry for careers in energy management and environmental consulting.

An energy manager’s job is to plan, regulate and monitor energy use within an organization or facility, aiming to improve energy efficiency, evaluating energy use and implementing changes as necessary. The GreenBiz survey backs up this claim, confirming that corporations increasingly recognize the business need to proactively manage energy consumption, with the number of companies that have a dedicated energy manager rising from 48 percent in 2011 to 52 percent in 2012.

“Let’s say we are dealing with a massive hotel in Las Vegas that probably spends millions on energy costs,” said Selhorst. “They hire energy managers to ask what avenues can be taken to cut down on these costs. The hotel may not necessarily be looking at it from a green perspective, but the more costs that they cut, the greener they are becoming because of the reduction in energy use.”

The biggest private career in environmental studies is environmental consulting, says Selhorst. An environmental consultant works with a company on environmental issues, assuring that companies are in compliance with regulations. A career in environmental consulting is available in an array of industries, including construction, waste management and commercial real estate.

The United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics expects environmental specialist jobs to grow by nearly 20 percent between 2010 and 2020.

Regardless of career choice, sources agree: green business is good business.



About Ashford University

Ashford University is defining the modern college experience by combining the heritage of a traditional campus with the flexibility and effectiveness of online learning. The University provides a vibrant learning community where high-quality programs and leading-edge technology create a dynamic, immersive and stimulating learning experience. The University offers practical and progressive associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, as well as bachelor’s degree programs at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. Ashford University – where heritage meets innovation. For more information, please visit or call Shari Winet Rodriguez, vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.