Dr. Danielle Camacho ’12, a Doctor of Business Administration graduate, recently took her young sons on an unusual field trip. Their destination? The local landfill.
“I reminded them that everything we make has to go somewhere when we’re done using it,” Camacho says. “If it goes in the trash, it can hang around for generations and have a negative impact on the environment. However, if we recycle everything we can, our impact on the planet could be vastly reduced.”
Camacho strives to educate everyone she comes in contact with on the importance of taking even the smallest of steps to lead a more sustainable and environmentally friendly life at home and work. As part of the research she did for her doctoral study at Walden, she toured construction sites to look for potential areas for improvement.
“I was shocked to see huge dumpsters overflowing with materials that could have been recycled,” Camacho says. “Subcontractors told me how difficult it is to get permission to take that extra step and recycle those materials, and I couldn’t believe it.”
The focus of her research was changes small-business leaders could make to lower their effect on the environment and make their businesses more sustainable over time.
“If businesses don’t meet their social and environmental goals as well as their financial goals, they won’t survive in the long run,” Camacho says. “Sustainability needs to be part of every business’s bottom line.”
It’s a lesson she reinforces in the course on international human resource management she developed and teaches as an online instructor at Keller Graduate School of Management and the courses she teaches at Upper Iowa University and Southern New Hampshire University.
Camacho is also mentoring an Arizona State University School of Sustainability undergraduate student, sharing her insights and ideas on the changes businesses need to make to have a more positive impact on the environment as well as on their own bottom lines. In addition, she has written a chapter on her thesis research for a book, and articles on sustainability for academic journals.
She’s also committed to educating the next generation on the importance of living sustainably by greening how her own family lives and teaching her sons how to have a smaller ecological footprint. Camacho also volunteers at organizations in her community to talk about the environmental consequences of the big and small choices we make every day, assists with the Green Club at her son’s school, and works with her sons’ Cub Scouts troop on activities designed to have a positive influence on the environment.
“It’s important to understand the impact your choices and actions have,” Camacho says. “Whether you’re making decisions as a business leader or as an individual, you have a real and lasting impact on the environment. Look at the bigger picture, and ask yourself what effect your choices will have on our sustainability as a society. That’s the first step.”
AWARENESS: Business leaders can find information on how others around the world are working to make their organizations more sustainable at greenbiz.com.
ACTION: The Nature Conservancy has an online tool that helps you find events and hands-on conservation-oriented volunteer opportunities across the country.
ADVOCACY: The Earth Policy Institute provides information on how to advocate for environmental policy change with your local and national government officials.