Wharton professor, Dr. Eric Orts, Featured in Newsletter

“We have to act boldly to protect our climate… I realized that I couldn’t just sit back in my relatively comfortable academic chair — I had to get involved.”

This issue of the newsletter features GCI Advisory Board Member, Dr. Eric Orts, a Guardsmark Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, scholar and teacher with specialities in corporate governance and environmental sustainability, founding board member of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, and passionate advocate for climate solutions and political reforms who recently ran for political office.
Why are you interested in the environment in general and carbon capture & utilization, in particular?

I’ve had a deep love of the natural environment ever since childhood. I grew up in a small, rural town near the Ohio River 60 miles from Pittsburgh. My father loved science (and wanted to become a science teacher before deciding on being a veterinarian). He had five acres of land that included 80 apple trees that he also farmed as a hobby. My family also took a number of summer vacations to visit our national parks. I developed a close affinity to nature in my early experiences in scouting. I was an Eagle Scout, and had the chance to grow up doing many outdoor activities that put me in close connection with our natural world in a more “wild” state. 
Professionally, I’ve been working on topics in environmental law and policy, with a focus on the role of business, for almost thirty years as a professor at Wharton. I combine this interest with a related one in corporate law and business governance.

In a previous interview, you said that you have been an environmentalist since third grade, when you won an environmental poster contest. What drives your interest in the environment?

I grew up with a strong appreciation for the incredible wonders and majesty of nature, and I highly value biodiversity and the complex web/fabric of life. It is worth protecting, preserving, and conserving because we share living space and resources with the vast variety of flora and fauna in this one world together. My 3rd grade poster was of a vibrant, diverse rainforest with the message “When we pollute, everyone suffers from it!”.

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