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Home » RSM2615H – Building Businesses for Sustainability

RSM2615H – Building Businesses for Sustainability

General Information


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Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship (c)
  • Social Impact & Sustainability (c)


Target Audience

In this course, students will learn from a weekly mix of early-stage executives concerning how to build strategic intent around sustainability and innovation, and how to deliver innovation to market through the design and delivery of business models that generate new, sustainable economic growth. Hence, we will examine sustainability as a source of innovation to drive new growth through sustained, long-term resource efficiency.  Students will learn how to analyze industry value chains to identify business model innovation, as a means to either optimize existing customer value propositions or design new business opportunities.  Moreover, students will learn about entrepreneurship, by working in groups to build sustainable start-ups.  Those interested in a career as an entrepreneur or with companies that have built strategies anchored around sustainability and innovation will find this a very practical approach to gaining meaningful insights and learnings from industry leaders.

Class Schedule

FTMBA Term 4 2022:  12 sessions over 6 weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:15-11:15 am.

Course Mission and Scope

The environmental and social impact and context of business matter like never before. Diverse stakeholders—from shareholders and lenders to workers and consumers to governments and activists—are raising their voices to ensure that these considerations are given their due in business decision-making and that firms are being transparent and accountable for performance in diverse dimensions well 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 these concerns in pursuing long-run sustainable growth and prosperity. The focus is on how these ESG issues affect every company in every sector, rather than on social enterprise or on firms whose primary mission is to directly address social and environmental concerns.

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 Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing20%
Short Write-Up 1 (Building Blocks of ESG)Session 315%
Short Write-Up 2 (Net Zero)Session 515%
Short Write-Up 3 (Credibility of Sustainability Claims)Session 915%
Group Project and PresentationSession 1235%

Required Resources

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

Last Updated: 2021-12-01 @ 11:48 am