Sustainability in Business
Form of learning:
- Understanding the concepts of sustainable business and corporate responsibility
- Understanding the central tensions in corporate sustainability
- Identifying sustainability challenges and introducing strategic approaches to respond to them
- Understanding sustainability in different business functions and the management instruments available;
- Developing critical thinking about how to deal with different stakeholders in advancing sustainability;
- Recognizing how enterprises can innovate to develop more sustainable businesses.
This course focuses on the role of business in addressing the vast sustainable development challenges faced by the world. There is a complex relationship between business and sustainability, as business has historically been the source of many of these challenges (e.g. climate change, inequality, pollution), and yet business must also be part of the solution, given the size and scope of global business activities. Against this backdrop, there has been an undeniable shift in business attitudes towards sustainability, with corporations increasingly wanting to act sustainably. However, these companies are constrained by the competitive pressures that speak to the core of the sustainability challenge: on the one hand, a more sustainable company does good for the world, but on the other hand if done incorrectly, sustainability shifts undercut the financial viability of a company. Put another way, even the world’s most sustainable company does no good if it goes out of business.With this in mind, the focus of this course is first on understanding the nature of this tension, and second on understanding how to develop business strategies that are simultaneously better for the environment, society, and a company’s finances. To truly pursue the needed sustainability shift, companies must creatively address the needs of their diverse stakeholders so that they can find win-wins.Overall, the course will cover expansive ground, including business strategy, supply chains, sustainability management and communication instruments, innovation for sustainability, and the circular economy. Simulations and cases will be used to highlight the underlying complexity.