This course will explore current challenges and opportunities facing firms in the area of environmental sustainability. It will begin with an introduction to sustainability, with a particular focus on how environmental sustainability is relevant to business. Topics such as unsustainable consumption/consumer behavior, market research sustainable product design, sustainable value chains and communications will be covered. The bottom-up approach in terms of immersion, emersion, and design as applied to sustainable business enterprise will be covered. The course concludes with a summary of insights on global challenges in business, with particular focus on poverty and the environment, and on the unique approach employed here in terms of bottom-up immersion, emersion, design, innovation, and enterprise.
Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:
• Understand the importance of sustainability for business
• Learn about specific topics consumer behavior, market research, product design, value chains and communications using the sustainability lens in business
• Design solutions and develop enterprise plans for sustainable business initiatives
• Apply the bottom-up approach for sustainable business initiatives in any context
This course is part of the iMBA offered by the University of Illinois, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
Course Orientation You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required for the course.
Module 1: Sustainability and Consumption This first module begins with an introduction to sustainability. The various dimensions of sustainability are examined, with particular focus on how environmental sustainability is relevant to business. The module provides an overview of sustainable business practices through discussion and examples. Unsustainable consumption and motivations for sustainable consumer behavior will be covered. You will do a parallel project on the same topic as in the first course, but for higher-income segments in emerging markets or advanced economies. The module will focus on finalizing a specific need, geography, and beneficiaries for this project.
Module 2: Sustainable Product Design and Market Research This module focuses on understanding how to conduct market research in the arena of sustainability. It also covers how to develop sustainable products. The bottom-up approach in terms of immersion, emersion, and design as applied to sustainable business enterprise is covered. A parallel project focuses on designing a core and augmented solution and an ecosystem.
Module 3: Sustainable Value Chains and Communications This module covers how sustainable offerings are delivered and communicated. It also covers topics in sustainable finance and accounting. A case analysis is used to bring out unique issues with sustainability and business. The parallel project involves the final presentation of a problem, opportunity, solution, ecosystem, enterprise plan, and outcomes.
Module 4: BOTTOM-UP ENTERPRISE This module summarizes the course on sustainable business enterprises focusing on business, environmental, and social sustainability. It then covers a bottom-up perspective on emerging markets. It also summarizes the two courses on sustainable global business horizons focusing on global challenges in business, with particular focus on poverty and the environment. Finally, the module covers the unique approach employed here in terms of bottom-up immersion, design, innovation, and enterprise. A parallel project stream compares and contrasts the enterprise plans in the two courses and the learning from focusing on subsistence marketplaces for the purposes of upward innovation, i.e., how innovation for subsistence marketplaces influences innovation from subsistence marketplaces.