Whatcom now offering classes in sustainable business

By Cailean Mcleod

Starting this quarter, two new sets of classes will be offered toward a sustainable leadership certificate and office administration and logistics certificate at Whatcom Community College.

David Evraets, adjunct faculty and project coordinator for the new certificates at the business department, said that the classes are for students who aim to work in an office environment.
“The person who would be interested in sustainable business would be people who want additional skill above and beyond their main profession,” Evraets said. “Every organization usually has someone who oversees sustainable business practices; who manages waste, recycling, energy usage, ride sharing, insulation, and community service.”
Evraets explained that the sustainable business certificate is a series of three mediated learning classes.
“Mediated learning is a combination of online [class] coupled with computer lab [time] with peer-to-peer mentorship,” said Evraets.
The office administration and logistics certificate is 45 credits and is mostly mediated learning as well, Evraets said.
“That person who takes up office administration and logistics would oversee and manage for the company itself by overseeing shipping and receiving as well as receivables and payables, and third-party logistics such as FedEx and UPS Inc. They also have to decide who to work with and where to ship packages to and how to ship them,” Evraets said.
According to Evraets, the types of job opportunities for people who specialize in sustainable business would be quite general but usually come with the extra job title of sustainability manager; anyone specializing in logistics would be in charge of general shipping in small companies. In large companies, one would be assistant to the manager of logistics.
Barry Maxwell, sustainability coordinator and political science instructor at Whatcom, said he was one of the people who first helped the sustainable business certificate class get off the ground. However, the first iteration of the class did not integrate mediated learning.
“The sustainable business class first started seven years ago but there were not enough students to keep it going,” Evraets said. “Just last year I decided to reestablish it to keep it going.”
Evraets gave an example of a logistical business practice in action by using a well-known company.
“Heineken beer at Germany wanted to go into the United States market… but they didn’t want to say ‘made in America,’ they wanted to keep all their manufacturing in Germany,” Evraets said. “So what they looked at was shipping all the beer in cargo containers, and they found that it was so cost efficient to ship from Germany to New Jersey, it would only cost them one-half cent per bottle; that always amazes me. If you are in the position of logistics you would be concerned about sustainable business practices.”
Maxwell said people who learn sustainable and logistical business practices help businesses survive both nationally and internationally, since businesses today rely on more resources to ship materials to other places.
Evraets also cited Patagonia, a clothing manufacturer, as a business that practices sustainability by encouraging customers to buy eco-friendly products and by packaging their products in material that customers can recycle.
Patagonia, Evraets said, is very good with their logistics and managing their supply chain as well as adhering to good sustainable practices.

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