Grant Weaver, '10
Business student emphasizes sustainability argument
October 19, 2009
Grant Weaver, '10, thinks business is beautiful. However, he's not willing to accept the business world as it is. He recognizes that businesses run the world, but at the same time threaten the world's population by creating an unhealthy environment.
While growing up in Lititz, Pa., Weaver's grandparents hassled him to recycle, but he never understood what the big deal was until he traveled to Ecuador during college. There, in the Amazon Rainforest, he saw the rich potential of biodiversity — and the effects of environmental degradation.
This crash course in social justice and the environment was the first time these issues materialized for Weaver, an accounting major at Richmond. Hiking in the rainforest with a medicine man, playing soccer with indigenous Ecuadorians, and witnessing oil companies destroying the land brought it all together for him. "I began to realize why these issues were so important," he said.
Following this environmental awakening, Weaver spent the fall of his junior year studying abroad in New Zealand. Surrounded by awe-inspiring natural landscapes, he reflected on what he could realistically do to protect natural resources.
Weaver decided to buy locally, plant a garden, reduce his water usage and try to live in a city where he wouldn't need a car. He learned a lot from New Zealanders, who don't worry about having the latest gadgets and who shop at local stores, since everything has to be shipped into the island nation.
"In New Zealand, people take care of the things they have and appreciate what they have," said Weaver. "They are content with less than Americans are, and don't have the mindset of ‘we can just get a new one.'"
Back at Richmond, Weaver took an introductory environmental studies course, decided to minor in the subject, and quickly grew into his passion for sustainability — an area that pairs well with his approach to business.
"Businesses are not run sustainably," he said, "They are too focused on short-term gain, but as a result they acquire long term loss." He added, "Businesses that are well run fascinate me, but not many are."
Weaver studied for and passed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation exam, earning the LEED AP title — a designation usually reserved for building professionals like green architects and engineers, or graduate students in those fields.
So what can a business major like Weaver do with LEED accreditation?
Trey McDonald, LEED AP and the University's sustainability coordinator, pointed out that connecting a business background with LEED accreditation leads to understanding the financial aspects of incorporating sustainable business practices.
"More and more businesses are instituting sustainable building practices to reduce their own operating costs," said McDonald. "A LEED AP can provide in-house expertise to help decision makers access reliable information and more accurately weigh the benefits and costs of green building."
Heading into his senior year, Weaver hasn't settled on one career — his interests range from being partner in an accounting firm to working for an electric car company or building green homes and apartments. Whatever he pursues, he can leverage his knowledge on sustainable business.
"I always want to be able to bring innovative ideas to an organization," he said, adding that what leads to sustainability in business is asking, "What's the smartest way of doing it?"