February 10, 2017

Sustainable Business Course for Non-Business Majors – Spring Quarter

ESRM 320, Marketing and Management From a Sustainability Perspective
– Gives 5 credits and NW and I&S
– Has no prerequisites
– SLN 14180, view the course website HERE. This is an online course.

In ESRM 320, we explore two of the four primary business dimensions: marketing and human resource management (* companion course ESRM 321 explores finance and accounting). Marketing refers to promoting, pricing, and distributing new and existing products and services that are aimed at satisfying consumers’ wants, needs, and objectives. Human resource management refers to developing, managing, and motivating human capital and resources.
Sustainability refers to integrating environmental, social, and financial elements in order to meet the needs of people today without compromising Earth’s capacity to provide for future generations. Integrating these three is called the triple bottom line. In business, the bottom line refers to net income or profits because it is the last (i.e., bottom) line in a company’s income statement; profits are essential because a business is unsustainable without them. Sustaining the planet over the long term depends not on one but all three bottom lines. We will explore the meaning and importance of sustainable business practices that respect and adhere to best environmental science methods and ethical social responsibility standards. The context for this exploration will be assessing data in corporate sustainability reports. Companies that trade on U.S. stock exchanges are required by law to report financial performance, but no laws exist for reporting social responsibility and environmental performance. However, in response to stakeholders many corporations voluntarily issue annual sustainability reports that provide information on the company’s environmental and social responsibility practices and performance.

Course Goals:
ESRM 320 has two goals, which are to provide a context for 1) learning business concepts (through watching the recorded business lectures and reading the Nickels textbook) AND 2) hands on experience assessing corporate sustainability performance (through assessing GRI indicators using sustainability report information). The business learning objectives below in bold are achieved through listening to the recorded business lectures and reading the Nickels textbook (both of which are covered on the exams that comprise about 55% of the course grade) while the sustainability learning objectives underlined below are achieved through assessing GRI indicators using sustainability report information and the associated SPA quizzes and SPI paper (45% of the course grade). Exams do not cover SPA, and the SPA quizzes do not cover business concepts. Note that SPA and SPI are described in detail throughout this syllabus.