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Future of Business course will examine business as driver for greater sustainability. Issues include corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, green business, supply chain, sourcing, human resources, compliance, cooperative ownership, corporate structures, product design, distribution, shipping, public relations, etc. Course includes model business, business plan, business pitch. 

The POWER of Business

Driving Value, Driving Change

July 16-July 29

From economic inequality and exploitation of workers to the climate crisis, there is no question that capitalism is responsible for many of the challenges that face us—Specifically, what sustainability professionals refer to as “extractive capitalism,” meaning a system that pursues profit by extracting natural resources and human labor, often at the expense of social and environmental welfare. But can capitalism also be part of the solution?

In this course, students will evolve beyond rhetoric to understand how our current economic system truly functions, and the factors driving change toward a greater balance between financial, ecological and social value. They will consider the full lifecycle of products they use regularly, and the potential negative and positive social, environmental and economic impacts at each stage. They will identify the forces driving many large corporations to adopt more sustainable practices. They will evaluate a range of alternative business models and corporate structures, from social entrepreneurship to worker-owned cooperatives. Finally, they will apply their insights as they develop and pitch their own business plans. 

Will a kinder, gentler capitalism be enough to meet people’s needs, and curb the negative impacts of climate change—Or will urgent crises require more radical transformations?  Students will emerge from this course equipped to use business as a lever for change, whether their future lies in the boardroom, or on the frontlines of grassroots struggle.

Lead Instructor: TBD in Winter 2017