This course looks at the strategies and policies businesses put in place to address their triple bottom line: environmental, social, and economic performance. We will explore business sustainability is affected by external driving forces, take a look at major frameworks used by businesses in different industry contexts, and how sustainability strategies are implemented within firms and along the supply chain. We will also consider firms’ relationships with other stakeholders, and how businesses govern and monitor their triple bottom line. Future challenges and opportunities for businesses and sustainability will cap our learning.

I look forward to meeting you all in class. In the meantime, please explore this blog.

Prof. Dr. Judith Walls

Course Content

Week 1: Course introduction & overview

– Flipped classroom design
– Assignment expectations
– Blog and other resources

Week 2: What is sustainability?

– Earth systems and their limits
– The Era of the Anthropocene
– Climate change
– Biggest sustainability challenges

Week 3: From linear to circular economy

– Production and consumption
– Ecological footprints
– Drivers of business sustainability

Week 4: Role of business in sustainability

– Pillars of sustainable development
– Global initiatives
– Industry initiatives
– What is the responsibility of business?

Week 5: Leadership and value

– Individual values and business sustainability
– Corporate cultures for sustainability
– Organizational structures for sustainability
– Corporate Citizenship

Week 6: Key business models for sustainability

– Triple bottom line
– Natural- resources based view
– The natural step
– Mitigation hierarchy (biodiversity)
– True Business Sustainability

Week 7: Sustainable production frameworks

– Closed loop production
– Product life extension
– Sharing economy

Week 8: Sustainable supply chain management

– Reverse logistics
– Green supply chain management
– Life cycle assessment tool
– Industry symbiosis

Week 9: Design for environment frameworks

– Eco- innovation
– Cradle- to- cradle
– Biomimicry

Week 10: Green governance, greenwashing and green marketing

– Social and environmental accounting & reporting
– Sustainability performance management
– Greenwashing & reputation management

Week 11: Stakeholder management

– Stakeholder engagement
– Frameworks for analyzing stakeholders
– Frameworks for managing stakeholders

About us

Prof. Dr. Judith Walls

is the Chair for Sustainability Management, Professor at the School of Management and Co-Director of the Institute for Economy and the Environment (IWÖ) at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). 

Zsuzsa Borsa

is a doctoral candidate and research associate at the Chair for Sustainability Management at the University of St. Gallen (HSG).