MBA Update: Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility

I finished my latest two classes in the MBA program in December. One class was on Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility. (Two classes left to go until graduation February 25!)

Course Description

The course is designed to help business and citizens build resilient and sustainable societies within the context of global climate change, new sustainable development business initiatives, changing technologies, and the evolving UN Millennium Development Goals.

The course focuses on business opportunities and marketing issues related to the global challenge of sustainability and what has been called the “triple bottom line” of economic, social, an environmental sustainability. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an expression used to describe what some see as a company’s obligation to be sensitive to the needs of all of its stakeholders. These include (but are not limited to): employees, customers, suppliers, community organizations, subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venture partners, local neighborhoods, investors, and shareholders.  

Is attention to sustainability worthwhile?

In the UN Global Compact – Accenture CEO study (2010), ninety-­?three percent (93%) of the 766 participant CEOs from all over the world, declared sustainability as an “important” or “very important” factor for their organizations’ future success.  In fact, eighty-­?one percent (81%) stated that sustainability issues are now fully embedded into the strategy and operations of their organization.

Goals

  • Changing business needs due to the impact of population growth (expected to reach 9 billion by mid-­century) and climate change (global temperatures expected to rise by 5 degrees by mid-­century).
  • Business responses and initiatives, such as Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) programs and accounting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and new Integrated Reporting.
  • The development of innovative businesses based on renewable sources of energy, new manufacturing processes, and biodegradability.
  • Problems in changing resources, such as shortages in water, rising materials costs, and other problems such as climate change.
  • Marketing issues related to green branding and reputation.
  • Develop an informed understanding of how national differences in culture, political and legal systems, and the economic environment affect international business activities.
  • Have a basic understanding of international financial markets.
  • Have an understanding of the alternative international business strategies, including different foreign market entry strategies.
  • Develop case analysis, problem-solving, report writing skills, and the ability to work productively in a team.
  • Develop the capacity to make ethical choices in international business issues.

Books and Case Studies

A Few Lessons

  • The Corporation, book and movie to understand the origins, legal form, and responsibilities of modern corporations and question the way in which corporations understand their responsibilities.
  • Sustainable development and the IPAT model used to measure impact (Sometimes written as I = PAT or I = P x A x T, is an equation that expresses the idea that environmental impact (I) is the product of three factors: population (P), affluence (A) and technology (T).)
  • The Dannon case study, which discusses the internal benefits of CSR and sustainability initiatives such as improving company culture and productivity, compared to advertising its CSR efforts to consumers.
  • Social sustainability, the many social impacts of business on society.
  • The Clorox case and the benefits of having “green” brands and sustainable product markets.
  • Taking action to develop green programs and CSR initiatives.

The final papers included a discussion of all costs and benefits of sustainability and CSR initiatives, as well as a critique of a company’s CSR report (I chose L’Oreal). If anyone wants to read 20 pages on either topic, let me know! 🙂

I started an online MBA at Montclair State University in January 2017 and will graduate in February 2019.

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