Sustainability

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With volatile 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.

The faculty director for the Sustainability Area of Focus, Todd Cort

“Sustainability represents some of the most challenging risks facing businesses today, as well as some of the most exciting opportunities. From climate change to income inequality, the success of business in the future will depend on how companies address these challenges and align themselves with the needs of society and the environment.”

Todd Cort, Faculty Director, Sustainability, Lecturer in Sustainability

Progression

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. 

Sustainability Courses

  • Climate Change: Law, Policy, & Opportunity

    This course will explore legal and policy developments pertaining to climate change. Approaches considered will range in jurisdictional scale, temporal scope, policy orientation, regulatory target, and regulatory objective. Although course readings and discussion will focus on existing and proposed responses to climate change, the overarching aim of the course will be to anticipate how the climate change problem will affect our laws, our organizations, and our lives in the long run.

  • 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.

  • Corporate Finance and Risk Management in Sustainability

    Economic, environmental, social & governance factors have become financially material to the global equity, credit, underwriting, and insurance capital markets. These issues have a direct impact on risk exposure and the quality of public, private and government debt/equity investments. This course will focus on quantitative methods of integrating these issues into core corporate finance metrics. Students will explore global sources of financial, environmental, and sustainability corporate performance information, and how they are quantified and translated into financial performance. We will also conduct a deep analysis of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Sectors to illustrate the complexities and nuances of sustainability from a corporate finance and risk management perspective.

  • Sustainability Systems

    This is a framing course for sustainability and business. Sustainability, as a topic area and discipline of study is exceptionally broad, poorly defined and overlapping with many other business disciplines. Therefore, this course is designed to establish a common understanding of sustainability and business for students as they enter their second year of study. It will also introduce a broad set of tools, frameworks, standards and guidelines that are in practice today. Although this course explores details of sustainability strategy implementation, it is designed to link sustainability to the overall business drivers and is therefore relevant for any potential investor, corporate manager, entrepreneur or consultant.

  • The Theory & Practice of Sustainable Investing

    For a variety of reasons, today’s businesses and investors are dealing with the risks and opportunities of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Climate change, water scarcity, community conflicts, resource depletion, supply chain breakdowns, worker well-being and economic inequality pose material challenges that make sustainability and ESG an imperative for successful corporations and investors. This course couples established and emerging theory on how finance can be used to address sustainability challenges with the practice of Sustainable Finance. We will examine current ESG investment and corporate strategies and practices, industry trends, future scenarios, players, and frameworks and integrate that theory with practical investment performance analysis, metrics, and studies of data, screens, asset classes, and diversification. The course seeks to mix multiple formats of learning and interaction including lectures, class discussions, workshops, interactions with industry leaders and student-led research.

This list represents current and planned program content. Exact course lineup and/or titles may change.

Colloquium Speakers

September 14, 2018
Namrita Kapur
Managing Director
EDF + Business

September 28, 2018
Andrew Winston
Founder
Winston Eco-Strategies

November 9, 2018

Deborah Spalding
Managing Director and Investment Officer, Commonfund

Advisory Board Member, CBEY and Lecturer in Forest and Ecosystem Finance at Yale

November 30, 2018
Rodney Irwin
Managing Director of Redifining Value and Education
WBCSD

January 18, 2019
Andrew Siwo
Senior Research Analyst
Colonial Consulting

February 15, 2019
Christine Ackerson
Head of Sustainability
LG Electronics

March 29, 2019
TBA

April 26, 2018
TBA