Corporate Sustainability

Leonard N. Stern School of Business

How long?

  • 15 weeks
  • online

Leonard N. Stern School of Business


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Who should attend

Although there are no formal education or background requirements, this course is designed for participants who meet the criteria below. While we strongly encourage global participation, please note that all courses are taught in English. Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.

  • Years of Experience – Participants with all levels of work experience are welcome to attend
  • Job Functions – Ideal for any job function
  • Prerequisites – Intended for individuals with a genuine interest in corporate sustainability; additionally, students must have a desktop or laptop computer with an internet connection

About the course

In today’s volatile, complex, and uncertain world, it is crucial for businesses to understand key environmental as well as societal risks and opportunities. Both demand successful management by business leaders in order to drive innovation, improve operational efficiency, and create value for their firm and society.

Taught by Professor Tensie Whelan, this 14-week course provides participants with the ability to help their business be a force for change through ESG (environment, social, and governance) investing, sustainable supply chain management, employee and consumer engagement, sustainability marketing, and more. With companies facing greater demands for transparency, societal challenges such as poverty and inequity as well as natural resource constraints like less available water and a warmer climate, these skills are critical to the future of business and society.

Program Takeaways

  • Issues and Research – Become familiar with the key environmental and social issues affecting business today including the latest consumer insight research on sustainability
  • Transformation of Corporate Response to Sustainability – Understand the evolution of corporate response — from compliance to engagement to innovation — including innovations in finance
  • Leadership Skills in a Volatile World – Develop the skills required for leading in the new social and political environment and explore the efficiencies and innovations in development by corporate leaders in pursuit of sustainability



  • Course Access – In order to access the course, you will receive login credentials via email on the start date of the course. Activation instructions for your login credentials will be provided.
  • Optional Books – Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses by E. Freya Williams (AMACOM) (available digitally)
  • Live Online Meetups with Faculty – Our live online meetups provide you with the opportunity to engage face-to-face with Professor Whelan. Please note that all online meetups are recorded and available for your viewing at a later time. Missing a meetup will not impact your grade, however we recommend attending all sessions.
  • Workload – Please expect to invest about 8 to 10 hours of your time per week to course lessons, exercises, and assignments.

Week 1 - 4

Week 1

  • Sustainability for Business
  • Exercise 1: Baseline Summary
  • Post to Q&A Forum for Lesson 1

Week 2

  • Unsustainable Corporate Practices
  • Exercise 2: Where Do Companies Go Wrong? & Managing for the Long-Term

Week 3

  • Environmental and Social Trends
  • Exercise 3: Environmental and Social Trends
  • Post to Q&A Forums for Lessons 2 and 3

Week 4

  • Reporting and Certification Standards
  • Exercise 4: SASB and GRI Reporting Standards: Differences and Similarities
  • Live Online Meetup 1

Weeks 5-8

Week 5

  • Materiality and Stakeholder Mapping
  • Exercise 5: Materiality and Stakeholder Mapping (Create a Stakeholder Map and Materiality Matrix for your Chosen Company)
  • Complete Peer Review for Exercise 5

Week 6

  • Supply Chains
  • Exercise 6: Supply Chain Management
  • Live Online Meetup 2
  • Final Project Outline Due

Week 7

  • Systems Thinking & The Circular Economy
  • Exercise 7: Applying Systems Thinking

Week 8

  • Innovation
  • Exercise 8: Lazlo Innovation Scheme
  • Post to Q&A Forums for Lessons 7 and 8

Weeks 9-11

Week 9

  • Customers and Sustainability
  • Exercise 9: Marketing Survey
  • Complete Peer Review for Exercise 9
  • Live Online Meetup 3

Week 10

  • Employees and Sustainability
  • Exercise 10: Sustainable Employment

Week 11

  • Building a Business Case for Sustainability
  • Exercise 11: Monetizing the Sustainability ROI
  • Post to Q&A Forum for Lessons 9, 10 and 11

Weeks 12-14

Week 12

  • Mainstreaming Sustainable Finance
  • Exercise 12: Sustainable Finance Types
  • Live Online Meetup 4

Week 13

  • Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Investing
  • Exercise 13: ESG Investing Equity Analysis
  • Live Online Meetup 5

Week 14

  • Net Positive Future
  • Final Project
  • Live Online Meetup 6


Tensie Whelan

Tensie Whelan joined New York University Stern School of Business in November 2015 as Clinical Professor of Business and Society. She will lead the School’s efforts around issues of business and sustainability, driving research and coursework on natural resource-based challenges including climate...

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Corporate Sustainability at Leonard N. Stern School of Business

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