Sustainability for a Competitive Advantage

This course is designed to assist students in developing the knowledge, skills, and perspective they need to understand and address environmental and social challenges in business, so that as leaders they reduce risk, create competitive advantage, and develop innovative services, products, and processes, all while building value for society and protecting the planet.

Due to a rapidly changing global ecosystem, businesses in the future will face fewer resources, greater demands for transparency, less available water, and a warmer climate. At the risk management level, leaders need to understand how these changing factors can impact their businesses, much as they do for civil conflict, financial panics, and political upheavals.

But as is often the case, new risks create new opportunities: the business leaders who can meet such risks through effective innovation and collaboration will find solutions to these sustainability challenges that meet the needs of society while delivering returns to shareholders.

Learning Objectives

In this course, students will develop an effective leadership perspective through pursuit of the following learning objectives:

1. To become familiar with the key environmental and social issues effecting business today
2. To understand the evolution of corporate response—from compliance to engagement to innovation
3. To develop some of the skills required for leading in this new social and political environment (e.g. multi-stakeholder management)
4. To explore the efficiencies and innovations being developed by corporate leaders in pursuit of sustainability
5. To explore innovations in finance (true cost accounting, net positive value, social impact bonds)
6. To become familiar with the latest consumer insight research on sustainability. In short, this course is multi-disciplinary, and seeks to integrate across the functions of the firm to arrive at an effective firm-wide leadership sensibility.


  • Students must have completed 15 credits.


  • Students should lottery for BSPA-GB.2305 - Sustainability for Competitive Advantage.
  • Please lottery by May 27th.

Program Policies

  • This is a 3-credit course.
  • The standard drop date is in effect for this course.