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.
“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
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.
Climate Change: Law, Policy, & Opportunity
This course will explore legal and policy developments pertaining to climate change, with special focus on their implications for businesses and other organizations. 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.
“Social Entrepreneurship” explores the concepts, controversies, and heresies in this still-emerging field, including how to apply the underlying ideas to working within a more traditional corporate setting.
Managing Sustainable Operations
Environmental sustainability has emerged as an integral part of corporate strategy and decision-making in recent years, creating unprecedented opportunities and challenges for business managers. While some firms are struggling to cope with new environmental regulations and growing pressure from stakeholders and customers, some others have got ahead of the curve by turning environmental concerns into a competitive business advantage.
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.
Tools in Sustainable Finance
The topic of sustainable finance is an emerging area of practice. It encompasses a wide range of investment strategies from traditional portfolio management that integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects as risk indicators to more niche investment strategies such as impact investing and socially-responsible investing. Estimates of the percentage of global AUM that integrate some form of sustainable investing range as high as 35% and yet the emerging tools that investors are utilizing to drive sustainable finance can be difficult to access for practitioners and academics alike. There is an appetite by students in the EMBA, particularly in the sustainability track, to better understand the tools that are being developed and applied today by practitioners in various aspects of sustainable investing.
As a topic and discipline of study business sustainability is exceptionally broad however the development of tools, standards, methodologies, and regulation has exploded in recent years. However, this has been mostly unplanned, is poorly defined and frequently overlaps or completes with many other business disciplines, accepted ways of working and regulation. Therefore, this course is designed to establish a common foundational understanding of business sustainability for students as they enter their second year of study. The course will show why sustainability needs to be integrated into all business disciplines that drive systemic change in key economic systems. The course will introduce a broad set of tools, frameworks, standards and guidelines that are in practice today to 1) identify stakeholders and the macro and scientific trends that impact business models and innovation, 2) tools to identify impacts and dependences on nature and society, 3) management accounting tools to support business decision making, 4) standards, frameworks and regulations on disclosure.
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.