Please consider posting your syllabus along with some comments about how it is organized and why.
Find ~15 syllabi of the courses that won the Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business Curicula here.
Environmentally sustainable strategy & operations
By Michael Toffel (Harvard U)
Sample syllabi from AoM 2011 PDW: A passion for sustainability in management education: Designing sustainability courses
Sustainable Development: Interactions between MNCs and International Organizations
By: Debbie de Lange, Sukhbir Sandhu , Susan L. Young, Shelley Mitchell, SuzanneBenn, Bobby Banerjee
Overview slides here.
Values, ethics, & sustainability
Alternative titles: Leading for Sustainability; Values‐Driven Leadership for Sustainability; The Ethics of Sustainability
By: Javier Delgado, Mary C. Gentile, Daina Mazutis, Adela McMurray, Ivan Montiel & Claire Simmers
Overview slides here.
Business and Climate Change
By: Natalie Slawinski, Brent McKnight, Luc Audebrand, Chelsea Willness, Bryan Stinchfield, Timo Busch, Mai Skjøtt Linneberg, Edeltraud Gunther
Innovation and sustainability: The clean revolution and beyond (2012)
By Dev Jennings (U of Alberta)
Sustainable corporations (2012)
By Bruce Clemens (Furman)
Business Strategy and the Natural Environment
By Kevin Laverty. Available at http://faculty.washington.edu/laverty/521/.
By Murray Silverman and Bill Patton, San Francisco State University. This is a class for business and non-business students interested in the impact of business organizations on the natural environment, the forces pushing business to respond to their impacts, and the types of approaches businesses are taking and can take to respond effectively to environmental issues. This course is designed so that students from various disciplines (science, humanities, social sciences, business, education, etc.) can learn from each other without having had courses in business and management.Link through to file.
By Tom Thomas and Murray Silverman, San Francisco State University. This course is a seminar for business and non-business students interested in the impact of business organizations on the natural environment and the types of approaches businesses are taking and can take to effectively respond to environmental issues. This course is designed so that students from various disciplines (science, humanities, social sciences, business, education, etc.) can learn from each other without having had courses in business and management. Students taking this course will be better prepared to assist organizations in incorporating environmental considerations into their decision-making. Link to course outline and project.
Submitted by Alfie Marcus, Carlson School of Management and INCAE: This course is designed to familiarize students with global environmental challenges businesses face, especially in the Latin American context, and to provide you with tools as to how to deal with those challenges. You will learn about global environmental problems and policies and about the methods corporations are employing to cope and respond.Link through to course outline.
Business, the Natural Environment, and the Global Economy
By Alfie Marcus, Carlson School of Management. This course addresses business strategies that affect the natural environment and the ways business strategies and practices can produce "win-win" outcomes that are both good for the environment and good for business. Link to course outline.
By Julie Lockhart, Western Washington University.
By Martin Westerman. FutureWorks examines how business can be, and is being done "sustainably" around the world, currently, and in months and years ahead - the years when you will be participating in, and perhaps directing it. Link to course outline.
Contributed by Tom Mierzwa, University of Maryland University College. The course design and learning sequence is portrayed in a student-friendly “road map” found within the syllabus. Assignments are structured to build on a conceptual and practical understanding of innovation theory and process, and are presented as opportunities for practical applications of sustainability strategy for corporate and public sector organizations. The “concept digest” assignments build a class-level knowledge base of theories and concepts about innovation and sustainability. A “life cycle” assignment produces a cradle-to-grave view of a major product or service. A “sector analysis” assignment evaluates sustainability opportunities resulting from market failures. A “business model” assignment analyzes an existing business and develops an alternative business model that exploits sustainability strategies for that business. Link to course syllabus.
Contributed by Geoff Archer, Instructor of Entrepreneurship, Oregon State University College of Business. Course Description: This one credit online course will address the following seven questions:
1) What is entrepreneurship? 2) What is social entrepreneurship? 3) What is environmental entrepreneurship? 4) What differentiates an idea from an opportunity? 5) Is climate/environmental change a source of entrepreneurial opportunity? 6) Is market failure a source of entrepreneurial opportunity? 7) Are others’ waste products a source of entrepreneurial opportunity? In this course you will read one business case about a healthy fast food start-up in New Zealand, several text book chapters and academic journal articles, and dozens of live internet links to real businesses that are sprouting up right now. You will write one memo to a start-up’s founding team and one memo to a CleanTech venture capitalist. You will participate in refining a typology of environmental entrepreneurship; one that attempts to define a menu of new business activities that are both profitable and good for the natural environment. Your ultimate practical deliverable will be the presentation of an executive summary for a business model of your design that is focused on pursuing a viable opportunity for environmental entrepreneurship. Link to course syllabus.
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Exercise
An exercise suggested by Bruce Paton: I use a fairly simple LCA activity for undergraduate, graduate, and executive "business in society" classes. It requires relatively little data and can fit nicely into a 75 minute time slot. It can be trimmed if you have less time or expanded if you have more. I also have some follow-on activities (described below) that may be useful. All of them have worked well with different groups.
My emphasis in all of these is not on the data, since the data can be difficult to find. I also really don’t have students do any calculations. Instead, I focus on getting students to use what they know or discover what they have never thought about. For example, almost every time I run the activity, teams will ask what the raw materials for plastic or glass are!! Many students haven’t really ever thought about where products they use come from or where they go to when they’re done with them.
For the basic LCA exercise, I use a single slide to introduce the framework (I use a simplified 5 phase model). I typically give each student a paper copy of the slide so they can take notes. I explain that LCAs can be very complex and show many stages, but they don’t have to. The simplified framework provides a lot of the insight. I typically walk through an example such as a bookcase as I’m explaining the framework. The explanation typically takes about 10-15 minutes.
Then I walk around with a bag full of products and give one product to each team (of 4-5 students), along with a transparency of the slide described above, and a fine-tip dry erase marker. I keep a bag of goodies handy for the project including familiar things from home like a full bottle of Coke, a cotton polyester shirt, a full wine bottle, a can of Campbell’s soup, a dead Nintendo Gameboy, a portable radio, a dead broadband modem, and a previous edition of their textbook. I sometimes use a picture of a Harley Davidson motorbike, etc. I try to get a mix of products that will include heavy impacts at different stages (e.g. the Gameboy has lots of use phase impacts such as battery consumption, as well as end of life issues).
I give them about 30 minutes to identify the major impacts at each stage. I also ask them to identify one or two stages where they could significantly reduce the impact and ask them to suggest ways they could reduce those impacts.
I have each team do a short report, using the transparency, in which they identify the major impacts at each stage and describe the 1 or 2 things that they would do to reduce the impacts. I usually need to coach them to keep from getting lost in the details. But every team I've ever had do this has been able to identify some steps to reduce impacts (I think that's the major 'aha' for most of them).
As the teams are working on the LCAs I float around and answer questions. Students often have no idea what raw materials go into making things like plastic or batteries. I help them figure it out, but I also say that if they don’t know, they should make a reasonable guess and base their evaluation on that reasonable guess (I can correct them later or have other students help them figure it out).
If I’m working with a longer class, say 2 ½ hours, I then segue into one or two activities:
Watch about the first 12 minutes of the video, “The High Tech Trashing of Asia” (from Basel Action Network) to focus attention on end of life issues. There’s usually a shock as people have no idea about the destructive impacts at end of life; and/or
Sometimes instead of or in addition to the High Tech Trashing video, I have them read a fairly brief LCA of a cell phone as preparation for the class. I have them read about 20 pages from a report called “Integrated Product Policy Pilot Project, Stage 1 Final Report: Life Cycle Environmental Issues of Mobile Phones” written by a Nokia team (I have them start at page 12). I then lead them through a discussion of what the major impacts are and what insights they get from the LCA.
I often have students do an essay about the LCA for a product on the final exam, and I'm always surprised to see how much they retain from the exercises. I hope these are helpful.
A life cycle case from Sandra Rothenberg: 'Alpha Motors, Ltd: Integrating Life-Cycle Environmental Concerns into Product Design'. It comes with a spreadsheet that students can explore - but they mainly interact with the front page. Basically its about making a decision about the material choice of an automobile hood. Steel, plastic or aluminum. It has quite a bit in it that explains LCA and the approach used in the spreadsheet, but it also suggests assigning a few readings that explain other approaches so students can compare them. It comes with a teaching note. I just saw that it was listed on Amazon. I am assuming that this case comes with the spreadsheet.
Pollution prevention exercise from Greg Lorton: Greg contributed the this pollution prevention exercise (and solution), which has been used as an in-class discounted cash flow capital budgeting exercise. It's a down-and-dirty pollution prevention project, and it's fairly simplistic and straightforward. Greg mentioned that he had used it in undergraduate finance and environmental management classes, and it is based on an actual project (a few of the details have been changed).
The Law and Business of Climate Change: Kindly submitted by Mark Cohen at Vanderbilt.
MBA's Climate Change Primer from Stanford Graduate School of Business: Written by two graduates of Stanford's MBA program, this report offers a concise summary of the science, politics, and economics of climate change for business executives. The briefing is divided into six sections:
1. The Science of Climate Change 2. Anticipated Impacts on Weather Patterns, Ecosystems, and Communities 3. Trends in the Global Energy Economy 4. Political and Policy Environment 5. The Carbon Market and Response from the Private Sector 6. Investment Opportunities
ClimateBiz is full of resources: http://www.climatebiz.com.
World Resources Institute brief on climate science based on peer reviewed science articles http://pdf.wri.org/climatescience_2005.pdf.