Semester 1

Ecology of Business

Businesses that can align their goals with social and environmental benefit will thrive in the 21st century, largely because of increasing input and disposal costs and an increased attention to customer and employee engagement. Exploring the relation between industrial systems and their place in nature, learners will analyze the lessons of nature for practical application to reductions in material, energy and social costs, while creating and capturing value.  Research best practices in reducing or eliminating impacts for problems that are typical to businesses in the regional market, and assess opportunities for regenerative business.

Sustainable Management

Businesses depend for their very existence on a great many resources, both social and environmental, often referred to as ‘gifts of nature’. To maximize the productive benefit of all resources managers need to be capable of evaluating the core values and mission of their business, making decisions for a business to ‘thrive in perpetuity’ in the communities in which they operate.  Learners will practice techniques for effective management that apprehend change, grassroots initiatives, how to operationalize sustainability and to harness market forces for social benefit.  This course will elicit a capacity for whole-systems thinking, for tracking progress, engaging others, creating new ways of doing things, and in seeing and developing opportunities to engage others in reducing or eliminating social and environmental impacts.   

Eco-productivity:  Level 1

Productivity is a recurring challenge for Canadian businesses, and as such, using fewer resources and creating less waste and pollution is the focus of this course. Businesses are the principal driver in creating a zero waste product or service, and in this context learners will examine the incentive programs accessible to businesses intent on reducing supply chain costs or reducing ecological impacts thereby reducing risks. Learners will acquire the language, framework and skills for completing a sustainability report for a small or medium sized business.


Socially and environmentally responsible firms are rewarded for the trust they create in the communities in which they operate, and for the relationships they build with the customers they serve.  These businesses create value and recognize that their longevity is dependent upon their behaviours of reciprocity.  Learners will evaluate trends toward greater self-reliance and relocalization, and meaningful work, and survey work that restores, preserves and rejuvenates the planet. Opportunities for place-based work, and local examples of ecopreneurship, will be evaluated.  

The Green Movement

Discover the roots of sustainability, while assessing the business value drivers within a North American and historical context.  This course is an introduction to the environmental movement that begins in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including the grassroots movements of the 50s, 60s and 70s, and the modern environmentalist and social justice movement (Conservation, Environmental Justice, Deep Ecology, Bright Green Environmentalism, etc.).  Learners will acquire the language and analytic framework for sustainability applied to current practices in not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations, industry and government. Learners will also engage others in reducing their ecological and carbon footprint, and reducing social impacts, while communicating the personal and corporate advantages of doing so.

Semester 2

Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

In a society in which transparency plays an increased role, doing the right thing is good business.  In many cases knowing why is equally important to the how, and this course is all about the choices that companies face in the 21st century.  Learners will work to understand their own personal values, as they relate to business, and how these values are critical to the variety of decisions made in a business context.  Examine what philosophers have to say about meaningful work, and how to seek alignment in competing interests that we find in the workplace.    

Eco-productivity:  Level 2

Learners acquire marketable skills in the growing career sector of sustainability specialists and green business managers.  Engage with regional and local leaders, and liaise with a community business or non-governmental organization about sustainable business practices.  Perform an energy audit and sustainability report card for a local business, and communicate the environmental and cost-saving benefits of becoming an eco-efficient workplace. Learners conclude the course with a presentation of findings and recommendations to peers, or a business owner, non-governmental organization or industry specialist.

International Sustainable Business Practices

Participants in the global economy increasingly feel the impacts of decisions made in other countries, and are more aware of pressures of so called ‘planetary boundaries’. The global dimension of sustainability and recent advances in global resource management is the focus of this course. Learners review complex environmental, social and economic drivers for sustainability in business at the international level. Surveying the impact of globalization on a variety of species, the planet and humanity, learners research business management tools that support global leadership in achieving sustainable business goals, both social and environmental, and advances in global resource management. Learners develop and use assessment and measurement tools that enable sustainable business practice recommendations.

Sustainable Business Plan Applied

In this capstone course, learners will create a business plan that is lending-institution ready, meets industry standards, and is a reflection of prior learning in the program. Learners will present a viable business plan to industry specialists or peers, that includes marketing, operational plans, and a three-year financial plan. Successful completion of this course is a rite of passage into the sustainable business world.

Green Marketing and Consumerism

The elements of sustainability marketing include the growing importance of relationship management, and delivering value through a blend of new technologies and a ‘sense and respond’, customer driven satisfaction of customer needs and wants. Drawing insights and strengths from social, ethical, environmental and inter-generational perspectives in marketing, this course will build the skills to gauge the sustainability marketing mix at a product or service level. Learners will evaluate sustainability marketing strategies, labelling schemes, consumer behaviour, expectations management and the notion of influence in the market.

**These course descriptions are subject to change.