A System's Approach to Sustainable Development

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Sustainability in Business

The need for a different approach to nurturing and sustaining life on this planet is growing, while simultaneously fear-based thinking and decision-making wanting no change (maintaining the status quo) rocks the vitality of many communities and organizations around the globe – from rampant unemployment to wars and systems failure and collapse. This underlying sense of fear leads to defensive posturing, denial, and disdain, analogous with nightmares. The alternative is hope for changes in the future that are equivalent with dreams (“I have a dream”). Enter the idea of sustainability!

Sustainability in business is both an imperative and an opportunity. It is, in short, a strategic issue – arguably, the strategic issue facing business in the 21st century. "Sustainable Business" is a paradigm shift from today’s conventional thinking. It proposes a strategy where business practices are intended to restore environmental quality and build social equity, while increasing long-term profitability.

This course (either the weekly or monthly version) provides an overview of the current “state of the art” of sustainable business theory and practice within the context that sustainable business strategies restore and protect environmental integrity and enhance social equity while improving economic vitality. It considers five broad topics: In General Why Think about Sustainability; Emerging Conceptual Frameworks; The Business Case for Sustainability; Implementation of a Sustainability Plan; and Sustainability Reporting Systems, including both company reporting and emerging global standards. One of the highlights of this course will be a quarter-long project that will put you and a team of your classmates into a real organization of your choosing wrestling with the challenge of implementing sustainability. At the completion of this course you will be prepared to bring an integrated understanding of sustainability to the economic challenges facing any business or community and evaluate their circumstances to support the design of strategic plans for change that will promote profitability, social well-being and environmental conservation.

To review the Syllabus to either the weekly Introduction to Sustainability in Business or monthly Introduction to Sustainability in Business syllabus, go to the following links:

SBUS 530 (weekly) Introduction to Sustainability in Business

SBUS 530 (monthly) Introduction to Sustainability in Business


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Last Update: 1/1/15
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