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RSM2014H – Sustainability Strategy

General Information


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This course is for MBA students who are interested in exploring how ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and sustainability considerations are fundamentally changing the business conversation and landscape, spanning the formulation of strategy, the concept of value creation, the interaction with stakeholders, the expectations of capital markets and regulators, and collaborations with a variety of partners. It is potentially relevant to virtually any career path in any industry.


FTMBA Term 4 2023: 12 sessions over 6 weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:45-3:45 pm

Course Mission

The environmental and social impact of business matter like never before. Diverse stakeholders—from shareholders and lenders to workers and consumers to governments and activists—are wielding their power to ensure that these considerations are given their due in business decision-making and that firms are being transparent and accountable for performance in dimensions beyond short-term financial performance. This course takes an economics and strategy lens to consider how business leaders can and should respond to the rise of environmental and social concerns in a range of industries. Rather than focus on social enterprises or on firms whose primary mission is to address social and environmental concerns, this course explores how ESG issues affect ordinary companies in every sector.

Course Scope

A student who successfully completes this course will be able to:

  • determine which ESG and sustainability considerations are material to a firm
  • employ scenario analysis to understand the risks and opportunities associated with these factors
  • develop strategies to improve environmental and social performance
  • think creatively about how to address these issues through partnerships within the value chain and with other players in the broader business ecosystem
  • assess the policy environment to identify important roadblocks and opportunities
  • critically read diverse forms of ESG and sustainability reporting and disclosure

Evaluation and Grade Breakdown

ComponentDue DateWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing10%
Short Write-up 1Session 320%
Short Write-up 2Session 520%
Short Write-up 3Session 920%
Final PaperSession 1230%

Required Resources

An HBS coursepack will be required. Links to additional readings are provided in the course outline.

Last Updated: 2022-11-28 @ 5:13 pm