The objective of this course is to introduce students to the concept and practice of environmental sustainability: How can business continue to grow while at the same time protect the natural capital of the environment and people for future generation. The course is designed to expand the student’s existing business knowledge to incorporate principles of environmentally sustainable growth.
Economic growth is part of a complex system which also involves the environment, society, and policy. Globalization, opening of new markets, and the increase in free trade can and has brought about great economic growth and opportunity. However, with this growth comes new and often unprecedented challenges in this interconnected world.
Among these obstacles are resource scarcity, poverty and population growth, climatic disasters. Enter the Environmentally Sustainable Business.
Using a systems approach, this course will first introduce the concept and components of sustainable development as well as the environmental and societal impact; explore the global and local environmental concerns; outline successful strategies and approaches to building environmentally sustainable businesses; discuss the costs and impacts of sustainable practices, and learn how to integrate these strategies into existing businesses, as well as measure and monitor their impact. Reviewing case studies, students will also have the opportunity to critique approaches and integrate these new approaches into their existing knowledge, building their business and analytical skills.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Define the principles of sustainable development and understand their importance in the global economy
- Understand the impact of global and local business on key environmental factors understanding the relationship between economic growth, the planet, and society
- Explain the business case(s) for environmental sustainability and the relationships with stakeholders and partners – understand that environmentally sustainable business is good business
- Expand current business knowledge to incorporate environmental sustainability, the principles of the sustainable value model, triple bottom line, and other important strategies
- Discuss frameworks and tools to implement, manage, and measure environmentally sustainable businesses
- Critically evaluate existing businesses and case studies and make recommendations for improving sustainability
- Define key terms such as natural capital, biomimicry, cradle to cradle, carbon footprint, industrial ecology, and others
- Build an environmentally sustainable business plan appropriately incorporating new thinking and trends