Increasing economic prosperity and improving the lives of an estimated 10 billion people, while maintaining and restoring the life support systems of the planet is the ultimate challenge of the 21st century, often labeled “sustainability.” Companies will play a unique role in this historic transition and must operate and succeed in ever-more complex and often contested social, cultural, political and natural environments. Strategic communication is a powerful means of advancing an organization’s objectives, especially when informed by insights into human behavior and social systems. By the end of the course, students will be able to develop communication strategies to advance sustainability objectives and apply insights from the social and behavioral sciences to improve the effectiveness of communication initiatives.
With sky-high commodity prices, resource scarcity, and growing public scrutiny of business operations throughout the entire value chain, achieving greater social and environmental sustainability has become a managerial imperative across industries. Forward-looking businesses are converting constraints traditionally viewed as challenges to growth into the inspiration and motivation for product-, operational-, and business model innovation. To lead in your organization and make sustainability not a question of corporate responsibility but one of corporate success, you need to combine in-depth understanding of markets and organizations with a grasp of major trends and a facility with frameworks for driving transformative innovation.
Yale’s first-rate business curriculum and depth of knowledge in the field provide a foundation for your aspirations. You’ll also draw on the full power of Yale University and our network of business graduates in the field, as you gain the elevated perspective to see the big picture that enables you to be a leader.
“For half a century we have dealt with traditional sustainability issues—resource availability, energy, climate change—by thinking about what you cannot do. There has been a transformation to thinking about what you can create, invent, and innovate by aligning sustainability issues with economic drivers and market forces.”
—Paul Anastas, Faculty Director, Sustainability, & the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Alongside the integrated core curriculum, in your first year, you will increase your grasp of big ideas and trends in the business of sustainability by participating in the Colloquium on Sustainability Leadership, a series of candid talks with innovators, CEOs of global corporations, policymakers, and other people shaping the field. In addition, you will build your network and benefit from the perspectives and experiences of classmates from all facets of the field.
In the second year, you deepen your expertise. You take a slate of advanced business and management courses, and a series of deep explorations of topics in sustainability. These courses are taught by experts from the School of Management and other parts of the university, including the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The program builds on a long history of collaboration between SOM and FES, exemplified in the Center for Business and the Environment at Yale. A capstone course structured around major challenges in sustainability will deepen your learning and link back to the essential business skills taught in the core.
Communication & Stakeholders Engagement
Corporate Environmental Management & Strategy
This course focuses on understanding the business and policy logic for making the environment and sustainability a core element of corporate management and strategy. Participants will be asked to analyze how and when environmental, energy, and other sustainability issues can be translated into competitive advantage. The course combines lectures, case studies, and class discussions on management theory and tools, legal and regulatory frameworks shaping the business-environment interface, and evolving requirements for business success.
Managing Sustainable Operations
In this course, we take a business-oriented perspective to explore the tradeoffs and synergies that exist between firms' ecological and financial performance. More specifically, we examine how firms' interaction with the environment should be incorporated into the management of their operations in conjunction with their short- and long-term objectives. We study how accounting for environmental footprints can foster incremental as well as radical improvements and innovations, ranging from cost reductions in processes and promoting entrepreneurial opportunities to drastic changes in strategies, business models, and industry partnerships.
Marketing and Sustainability
Marketing has vital and unique role to play in creating a more sustainable society as most of consumers’ material needs and many of our psychological needs are met through marketing systems. Sustainable Marketing is about understanding and managing marketing’s pivotal role in the future of business and society. More precisely, Sustainable Marketing is the process of creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers in such a way that both environment and human capital are preserved or enhanced throughout, while providing competitive advantage with companies pursuing sustainability as their core marketing strategy seriously. This course aims to provide a broad range of tools and frameworks for understanding how business can interact with issues related to sustainability from the marketing perspective. In particular, we examine how basic/traditional marketing strategies can be incorporated and/or should be modified in practice for implementing sustainability marketing.
Metrics & Analytics for Sustainability
This is an applied course on the metrics, indicators and tools used by businesses to implement strategically relevant Corporate Social and Environmentally Responsibility (CR) or Sustainability programs. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the knowledge and tools used by practitioners in CR. Although this course explores details of the CR strategy implementation, it is designed to link CR to the overall business drivers and is therefore relevant for any potential corporate manager or consultant.
This course intends to offer an overarching sustainability framework that encompasses various dimensions of corporate sustainability initiatives, with a special emphasis on operations management. In addressing these fundamental concepts, we will often make use of different quantitative and analytical tools for measuring and evaluating the link between operations functions of an organization and its sustainability goals.
Sustainable Innovation and Design
This course will provide a foundation to innovation and sustainable design, specifically on green chemistry and engineering and the design and assessment of green products. Approaching sustainability from a design perspective requires the need for a fundamental conceptual shift from the current paradigms of product toward a more sustainable system, based on efficient and effective use of benign materials and energy. The current approach to design, manufacturing, and end of life will be discussed in the context of examples and case studies from various sectors. This will provide a basis for what and how to consider designing green products, processes, and systems. Fundamental engineering design topics include toxicity and risk analysis, pollution prevention and source reduction, separations and disassembly, water, material and energy efficiencies and flows, and life cycle design, management, and assessment.
This list represents current and planned program content. Exact course lineup and/or titles may change.