GBUS 8463 Business and Sustainability



This course is intended to provide students with a comprehensive conceptual and applied understanding of the sustainability challenges and opportunities facing corporations on a global scale with primary emphasis on environmental sustainability. Students will be exposed to a variety of pressing sustainability issues and to new techniques and approaches for successfully dealing with them. This will occur through readings, case studies, lecture-discussions, and presentations by guest faculty members, corporate executives and sustainability consultants. Because business cannot succeed in a world that fails, this course will examine some of the major factors that are contributing to the adoption of sustainability strategies as a means of gaining future competitive advantage by a number of global industry leaders. These include the inability of the public sector to meet the growing demands of a global society, the emergence of new legislation and market mechanisms that are attaching a price to environmental and social impacts, and society’s rising expectations of business in terms of health, safety, human rights, and the environment. The role of corporations in society has changed from one of creating shareholder value to one where performance is measured in terms of social, environmental and economic value added. Topics to be covered in the course include sustainability concepts and frameworks, sustainable design of products and facilities, global warming and the carbon dilemma, renewable energy, sustainable finance, and strategic sustainability implementation.


Note: This course is also intended for all graduate students at the University of Virginia and a limited number of fourth-year students. To make this feasible and to allow participation by faculty from other schools within the University, the course will be offered one night a week for seven weeks with each class session lasting three hours.


Academic course objectives:

·         To examine the sustainability challenges and opportunities facing corporations on a global scale

·         To show students how major factors supporting sustainability are becoming mainstream global strategic business issues.

·         To offer sustainability concepts and frameworks useful to students in their personal and professional decision-making processes

·         To equip students with an informed sustainability lens through which to make better business decisions

·         To expose students to leading-edge thinking provided by faculty from a variety of academic disciplines, from corporate executives, and from sustainability consultants


Elements of the course grade:

Class participation                               50%

Sustainability project                          50%