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.

“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

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.

  • 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.

  • Natural Capital

    The purposes of this course are to help students: 1)  Level-set students from a wide variety of backgrounds on core sustainability principles, language and mega-trends as they enter into the second year of EMBA course in the sustainability track 2) Ask informed questions about the economic, social and environmental risks facing businesses’ continued access to the critical natural resources on which they depend 3) Develop business solutions to address those risks and to harness new opportunities 4) Understand the science behind these natural resource systems

  • Sustainable Innovation and Design

    This course will provide a hands-on foundation to green 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 production toward a more sustainable system, based on efficient and effective use of benign materials and energy across the life cycle. Through the course assignments, class exercises, and a team design project, students will be challenged with the same issues facing our production and consumption systems today.

    The course will be organized around the “engineering design process” from 1) opportunity definition, 2) criteria definition, 3) ideation, 4) alternatives assessment, and 5) solution selection, implementation, and monitoring. The course will emphasize quantitative and rigorous analysis of green design in addition to the experiential learning of designing green products in class. Through this course, training will be provided in software aided life cycle analysis and the process ideation to product pitch. The course culminates in a 15-minute presentation demonstrating a design to the posed sustainability challenge including a physical prototype and multimedia communication strategy.

  • Marketing for Sustainability

    To realize a sustainable future, companies need to produce products with reduced environmental impacts. Yet, many “sustainable” products flop. Sustainability considerations focus on product specifications; they are product-oriented. As a result, organizations often fall into a product-centric marketing approach for “sustainable” products, and are thus bound for failure. To accurately predict the commercial viability of innovative sustainable products, marketers must adhere to the foundations of consumer-centric marketing, namely, the full tool kit of the strategic marketing framework.

    Through interactive lectures, presentations, workshops, discussions, and guest speakers, students will learn to decouple environmental impact from economic growth and identify and capitalize on business opportunities stemming from this understanding.

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