COMM 495 - Business and Sustainable Development

The state of the physical environment is becoming increasingly critical to corporate strategy. It is essential for companies to be aware not only of the threats to business-as-usual from changes in the physical and regulatory environments, but also the unique opportunities to achieve competitive advantage from acting proactively in this area.

The course will provide students with an overview of the most important issues pertaining to sustainable development as they affect both the public and private sectors of the economy. As such, the course structure is divided into six general parts:

  1. an overview of the scientific theory, evidence and issues.
  2. a description of the issues of sustainable development in the public sector, with an emphasis on environmental and ecological economic theories and their application.
  3. a summary of the issues of sustainable development in the private sector, with particular emphasis on analytical tools and strategic management.
  4. in-class discussion of case studies and presentation of student research reports on corporate or public sector environmental issues.
  5. a possible guest speaker from the private sector, representing a major local corporation or NGO.
  6. a possible field trip to a major regional industrial plant.

Learning objectives

At the end of this course, it is expected that students will be able to understand and explain the fundamental issues associated with sustainability and business; specifically, the basic science, the essentials of environmental economics and ecological economics, the principle public policy issues and the options available to the corporate sector in formulating and implementing strategy with respect to sustainability in a business context.

Note: COMM 495 is not expected to be offered again. It is presented here for the purpose of historical reference.

Course credits:

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