2000-2001 Annual Report
Prepared by Emil Morhardt, 29-Aug-01
The principal goal of the Roberts Environmental Center (REC) is to involve students in real-world environmental issues and to train them to analyze the issues from as broad a perspective as possible, taking science, economics and policy into consideration. Students and faculty working in the REC have their main academic focus in one of these areas but are interested in the other areas as well, and many of the students involved with the REC have chosen the Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP) major which incorporates all three disciplines.
A secondary goal is that of increasing the visibility of the REC and the main vehicle has been the development of informational websites on topics appropriate to the Center and the development of position papers both in hard copy and distributed through the web.
There are two classes of environmental issues specifically being addressed by the REC: 1) corporate environmental management and 2) natural resource management. The REC foci for corporate environmental management are the ISO 14000 environmental standards and corporate environmental performance evaluation and reporting; the focus for natural resource management is the management of public wildlands, particularly wilderness areas.
ISO 14000 is a family of voluntary standards developed by the international ISO consortium of national (industrial) standards institutes and is controversial both for its potential as an impediment to free trade and for its lack of environmental performance requirements. Organizations certified under the standard are required to establish and maintain an environmental management system but are required neither to meet levels of environmental performance stipulated by local law nor to improve environmental performance. Nevertheless, it is possible that adoption of the standard will have profound beneficial effects on environmental performance, and that this performance will be documented in corporate environmental reports in a way that allows valid inter-company and inter-country comparison. REC faculty and students are involved in the continuing development of the standard and are analyzing corporate environmental reporting using a variety of scoring approaches. These activities give students a comprehensive view of the environmental issues facing industry, and a clear sense of how they can be dealt with, positioning students well for corporate environmental leadership.
Managing public lands, particularly wilderness areas, to retain natural characteristics while accommodating human use is becoming increasingly difficult as the human population grows. Land management agencies in the United States are responsible for maintaining this balance but there is no widely adopted set of ethical principles to guide such management, nor is there a well-established set of standard practices or enough data on the efficacy of past and potential practices. Public land managers often have the unenviable task of defining and defending environmental policy, in the face of highly contentious constituencies, with little real information on its probable effectiveness. Students and faculty at the REC are interested in techniques for achieving and measuring an optimal balance between human use and natural processes in wilderness areas. Many students associated with the REC spend their summers as interns with environmental agencies or NGOs, or doing thesis research in the eastern Sierra on aspects of this problem.
Finally, students anticipating careers related to the environment or expecting to hold positions that influence an organization's environmental posture need to understand current methods of environmental analysis. The EEP clinics, thesis projects, and independent study in the REC provide opportunities to conduct environmental analyses using geographic information systems (GIS), sophisticated database management techniques, and environmental simulation models.
Activities during the 2000-2001 Academic Year
EEP Clinic Program
The main goal of the REC clinic program in 2000-2001, which involved 8 students, was to design and code a database on corporate environmental reporting, and to populate it with an initial data set to serve as the basis for a new and ambitious REC website on the subject. The database is up and running and presently has more or less complete information for reports of about 80 of the world’s largest companies. The information includes addresses, contacts, critical review of the report, report outline, list of the environmental metrics used in the report including numerical values and units, list of explicit goals included in the report, and, most importantly, scores for the report using three independent scoring systems. The Fall 2001 EEP clinic will work on a prototype of a new scoring system, and on serving some of the data in the database to the web.
There is no website anything like this, and it should be highly visible from the start. Not only will it be the first website to offer quantitative data taken from corporate environmental reports and put into a uniform format to facilitate comparison, it will also include critical commentary about the quality of the reports, and quantitative scores for comprehensiveness. It will be important because there is a very strong movement among the largest global corporations to produce voluntary environmental reports, but there is little guidance available on how to do it, and the guidance there is is based on particular viewpoints and policies of specific NGOs rather than on a view of what industry is actually doing. This site is based on information taken from existing reports.
The site will complement our existing ISO 14000 site which we are continuing to maintain. The websites are driven from REC databases using active server page technology. The ISO 14000 site probably has more information about the standard, certified companies in the United States, related websites, and consultants, than any other site on the web and increased substantially in content during 2000-2001 as student-employees of the REC continue to do web-based research and add information to the database. Our natural resources website is less well developed, but has student-written summaries of hundreds of current research articles and political positions related to natural resource management and will be upgraded in Fall 2001.
Student Employees and Summer Internships
David Juiliano ’02 and Sarah Leverette ’03 worked in the REC during the spring semester of 2001, supporting the ISO 14000 database and website.
Four students spent the summer of 2001 at the CMC Mono Basin Field Station at the Burger Reserve. Holland Lincoln (’02), David Cherney (’02), Kelly Freeman (’02) and Ann Baptiste (’02, Pitzer) all worked on their theses. Holland spent part of her time working with the Mono Lake Committee on their K-12 program, and the rest gathering data characterizing other K-12 programs in Yosemite and the eastern Sierra. David and Kelly worked in conjunction with the U. S. Forest Service and the Village of Mammoth Lakes, running visitor surveys they devised to collect data that will be used in their theses as well as by the Forest Service and Mammoth Lakes. Ann worked with Forest Service Biologists to study the return of small mammal fauna to several burn sites.
The REC also provided summer support to Erin Mastagni (’02) who worked with a coral reef research institute in the Caribbean.
As indicated in the overview, the main research agenda of the REC is the analysis of the efficacy of various approaches to both corporate environmental management and natural resource management. Both topics are of great interest to students, and both have important current issues that students can be effective in exploring. Most EEP senior theses address one or the other of these general topics, and most students affiliated with the REC are involved either with ISO 14000 or with wildlands natural resource management.
The fall 1999 EEP clinic led to a manuscript (now published in the technical journal Environmental Management) analyzing three published scoring systems for corporate environmental reports.
In the spring 2000, Sarah Baird (’01) and Kelly Freeman (’02) worked with Emil Morhardt on a related manuscript, completed during fall 2001, utilizing the same systems as well as two new ones to score the environmental reports of the top 10 international firms in each of four industrial sectors. It has been submitted to the technical journal, Business Strategy and the Environment and is currently under peer review.
In July 2001, Emil Morhardt was again a member of the U. S. delegation to the annual ISO 14000 meetings (Technical Committee 207 of the International Organization for Standardization), this year in Kuala Lumpur.
The REC also provided some additional logistic support in 2000-2001 to Pieter Johnson and Kevin Lunde who published a seminal paper in the journal Science on research showing that parasites, not pollution, may produce frog deformities. This year a paper entitled Riberiroia ondatrae (Trematoda: Digenea) infection induces sever limb malformations in western toads (Bufo boreas) appeared in the Canadian Journal of Zoology with attribution to the Roberts environmental center.
Because Emil Morhardt was on sabbatical in the fall of 2000, the REC was less active than usual in bringing speakers to campus, but did sponsor one evening talk at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum in the spring. The usual level of activity will resume in Fall 2001, with one speaker already suggested.
There are presently 24 EEP majors at CMC, down slightly from the usual 28 but likely just part of normal fluctuations in numbers.
In May 2001 seven CMC seniors are expected to graduate with the EEP major (thesis titles follow names):
Sarah Baird—Caught in the Rear-View Mirror: Reflecting on Cultural Boundaries in a Global World
Christopher Lloyd—The Environmental Sustainability of Aquaculture vedrsus Commercial Fishing
Mayumi Matsuno—Using Tobin’s Q to Estimate the Effects of Environmental Regulation Costs on Firm Rents
Calandra Turner —Sustainable Natural Resources and the Battle with Economics: An Analysis of Timber, Coffee, and Fisheries.
Ryan Wingo—Environmental Ethics: Establishing a Philosophical Foundation for Application to Practical Management
Activities of EEP Graduates—There will have been 63 EEP graduates since 1994 and we know the current positions of about half of them. Most of these positions deal in some way with environmental matters and reflect a continuation of the interests which led these alumni to choose the EEP major.
Dona Anderson 1996 Energy Consultant, Peace Corps, Slovak Republic
Dana Armanino 1995
Sarah Baird 2001 Department of Resource Economics, U. C. Berkeley
Sedina Banks 2000 University of California, Davis, Law School
Kate Beardsley 1997 Graduate Student, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment
Molly Blumer 1996 Business Manager, The Press Restaurant, Claremont
Thomas Casey 1995
Lui Cevallos 1995 Project Engineer, Kemp Bros. Construction, Santa Fe Springs
John Cherry 1995 2Lt/Platoon Leader, U. S. Army
Robert Cole 1995 Systems Dev. Support Specialist, Mani Glob. Comm
Eric Craig 1994
Virginia Davis 2000
Sean Dempsey 1995 Analyst, Mergers/Acq. Deutsch Morgan Grenfell
Anita Dhingee 2000 City of Los Angeles
Kristen Edwards 1999
Suchada Eickemeyer 1999 United States Army
Gwendolyn Fanger 1994 Law Student, Washington University St. Louis
Gary Feramisco 1997
Sarah Frazee 1995 Program Assistant, Conservation International
Kathryn Gaffney 1998 Environmental Specialist, ICF Consulting, Los Angeles
Sally Garrison 1995
Courtney Goren 2000
Patrick Gorgue 1996
Brian Gross 1995
Graham Guess 1994 Env. Engineer, Ogden Environmental, Santa Barbara
Courtney Jung 1999
Christopher Hamilton 1997
Brent J. Hoberg 1999 Environmental consultant
Clive Hsu 2000
Carlos Jallo 1994
Margaret Kaiser 2000 Columbia Law School
Rachel Kokjer 1996
Cho-Yi Kwan 2000
Yee Kee Lam 2000 Analyst, J. P. Morgan
Thomas Lambakis 1995 Staff Consultant, Tucker Alan, Inc., Los Angeles
Greger Larson 1996
Brett Lim 1998 Geographic Information System Marketing Representative
Christopher Lloyd 2001
Scott Marshall 1996
Mark McMahon 2000 United States Marine Corps.
Mayumi Matsuno 2001 Management Consultant, Deloitte Consulting, New York
Justin Carter Meek 1999 Management Consultant, Simpson and Company
Megan Murphy 1997 Law Student, University of Washington
Kimberlee Myers 2000 Environmental Analyst, Sapphos Environmental, Pasadena
Edward Paek 2001
Nicole Puckhaber 1996 Business Assoc., The Boston Consulting Group
Greg Rasner 1995 Research Analyst, Law & Economics Consulting
Rachel Richards 1999 Management Consultant, Deloite and Touche, Los Angeles
Julie Rodriguez 1994 Law Student, University of Michigan
Tom Sheets 1998
Susan Shepard 1996
Jeffrey Stein 1999 Taxpayers for Common Sense, Washington, D. C.
Deena Tibshraeny 1994 Group Sales Manager, Macy's
Michael Trowbridge 1996 Soseiworld Corporation Group, Japan
Calandra Turner 2001
James Uwins 1998 Environmental Specialist, Environmental Management Associates, Brea, California
Brian Vlasich 2000
Tina Wang 1998
Eric Wilson 1996
Ryan Wingo 2001
Megan Wargo 2000 Heidrick & Struggles, Los Angeles
Mary Wong 1995 Cust. Svc., Recycler Classified (Advertising)
Maxwell Woods 2001
Trevor Yeats 1996 Research Analyst, ICF Consulting.Washington D. C.
Roberts Environmental Center Activities and Goals for 2000-2001
The two general goals of the REC have been and continue to be 1) educating students in environmental issues and management in ways not available through normal coursework, and 2) increasing the visibility and reputation of the REC and, by extension, CMC, enhancing the value of a CMC diploma.
The REC attempts to increase student familiarity with environmental issues of interest to government and industry, and with tools and policies to deal with these issues. To that end the REC maintains a variety of software and hardware used by professionals for environmental management, and develops projects that make use of these tools and that increase REC visibility. Projects include the web sites and releated research which for students takes the form of EEP clinics, employment during the academic year and the summer, and summer internships and research grants.
Three years ago the Clinics developed an ambitious web site on ISO 14000 which students continue to maintain. This year, along with students in both the Natural Resource Management class and the Advanced Topics in Environmental Biology class they developed an additional site on natural resource management which has hundreds of summaries of current natural resource research papers. The main focus of the clinics this year, though, was analysis of corporate environmental reporting. In the clinic process, the students become thoroughly familiar with all of the issues and players. They get a comprehensive view of political positions, points of scientific controversy, and the degree to which positions are based on rational thought. The process fosters critical thinking as well as demanding appreciation of a broad range of views. In the process they come to understand the fundamentals of designing and maintaining database management systems and data-driven web sites, become expert at web-based literature research, and some of them learn to do the computer programming needed to make these sites work.
On-Campus and Summer Employment
The web sites developed by the clinics are intended as long-term projects that will get better and more comprehensive with time. Student activities to accomplish this goal include keeping the data current and populating the databases with new data, adding embellishments to the databases and web sites, and integrating GIS into the web sites. Various aspects of these activities are appropriate for students at all levels and the REC generally employs 5-10 students a year.
The REC assists students in obtaining meaningful internships dealing with environmental issues and provides summer funding for a few internships and research projects each year. Funding preferentially goes to students using the Mono Basin Research Station at the Burger Reserve, but one or two other students are usually funded as well.
Increasing REC Visibility
The main venues for increasing external REC visibility are the informational web sites and Emil Morhardt’s involvement with the ISO 14000 process and with corporate environmental reporting and scoring. The philosophy of the web sites is to use students to collect information that would otherwise be expensive to obtain, then to post it to free, continually-updated non-commercial sites. This approach gives students the experience both of envisioning what data to collect and of doing serious research to prepare thoughtful and well-documented material. Because it is valuable, commercial sites tend to charge for it, and consequently our sites should become increasingly important and frequently visited as they provide more and more free information. These sites also include original work from students including course-generated white papers.
The REC research agenda is focussed on the efficacy of environmental practices and policies. On the organizational side the main topic is ISO 14000 and corporate environmental reporting; on the natural resource management side the topic is management of public lands, primarily wilderness areas.
Richard C. Adams, Jr. '62
Bart K. Brown '59
Terry D. Evans '59
Michael G. Graber '74
Brent F. Howell '62 Chair
J. Emil Morhardt Director
George R. Roberts ‘66
Marshall C. Sale '62
Gary J. Smith ‘73
Jack L. Stark '57
Sample Record from the Roberts Environmental Center database on
Corporate Environmental Reporting
Paper in Press (Environmental Management) on Corporate Environmental Reporting
Paper Submitted (Business Strategy and the Environment) on Corporate Environmental Reporting
Roberts Environmental Center at Claremont McKenna College
W.M. Keck Science Center
925 N. Mills Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711-5916
(909) 621-8190 or (909)621 8698 or (909) 621-8298
FAX (909) 607-1185