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Corporate Sustainability

Corporate Sustainability

Corporate Sustainability


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.

Through video lectures, live online meetups with Professor Tensie Whelan, and a hands-on project, 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. 

Course Trailer


Online Learning Experience

Our online certificate courses are asynchronous with optional synchronous elements. Asynchronous activities are things you do independently, like watch videos and complete assignments, and interactions with others over time via email, discussion forums, collaborative documents, and other channels. Synchronous learning includes interacting with other students and faculty in real time. Our courses are designed by educational experts from our Learning Science Lab to deliver courses that are designed with attention to user experience, learning science, and video production to build immersive digital learning environments for business school education.

Software/Technical Requirements
  • Desktop or laptop computer (This program does not support mobile devices, including tablets and iPads)
  • A webcam and headset (preferred) or microphone for online meetups
  • Broadband/high-speed Internet (1.5 Mbps minimum/3 Mbps preferred) to ensure your ability to participate fully in online meetups
  • Operating System: Mac OS 10.14 or Windows 10 or later
  • Browser: Safari 14, Chrome 88, Firefox 84, Microsoft Edge 88, or Internet Explorer 11 or later

  • Certificates and Credits

    This course is a non-credit, pass/fail program. To pass this course, you will need a cumulative score of at least 55%. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will receive the NYU Stern Certificate in Corporate Sustainability.

    Program Takeaways

    During this course, participants will:

    • 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.

    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


    The following agenda is a sample and subject to change.

    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.


    Green Giants: How Smart Companies Turn Sustainability into Billion-Dollar Businesses by E. Freya Williams (AMACOM) (available digitally, optional)
    Basic Digital NYTimes subscription
    Basic WSJ subscription

    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.


      Please expect to invest about 8 to 10 hours of your time per week to course lessons, exercises, and assignments.

    Week 1: Jan. 22

    • Sustainability for Business
    • Exercise 1: Baseline Summary

    Week 2: Jan. 29

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

    Week 3: Feb. 5

    • Environmental and Social Trends
    • Exercise 3: Environmental and Social Trends
    • Post to Q&A Forums for Lessons 1, 2, and 3
    • Live Online Meetup 1: Feb. 6 at 7:30 am ET

    Week 4: Feb. 12

    • Sustainability Reporting and Certification Standards
    • Exercise 4: SASB and GRI Reporting Standards: Differences and Similarities

    Week 5: Feb. 19

    • 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: Feb. 26

    • Supply Chains
    • Exercise 6: Supply Chain Management
    • Post to Q&A Forums for Lessons 4, 5, and 6
    • Live Online Meetup 2: Feb. 27 at 2 pm ET

    Week 7: Mar. 4

    • Systems Thinking & The Circular Economy
    • Exercise 7: Applying Systems Thinking
    • Final Project Outline Due: Mar. 10

    Week 8: Mar. 11

    • Innovation
    • Exercise 8: Lazlo Innovation Scheme

    Week 9: Mar. 18

    • Customers and Sustainability
    • Exercise 9: Marketing Survey
    • Complete Peer Review for Exercise 9
    • Post to Q&A Forums for Lessons 7, 8, and 9
    • Live Online Meetup 3: Mar. 21 at 1 pm ET

    Week 10: Mar. 25

    • Employees and Sustainability
    • Exercise 10: Sustainable Employment

    Week 11: Apr. 1

    • Building a Business Case for Sustainability
    • Exercise 11: Monetizing the Sustainability ROI
    • Post to Q&A Forum for Lessons 10 and 11
    • Live Online Meetup 4: Apr. 1 at 7:30 am ET

    Week 12: Apr. 8

    • Mainstreaming Sustainable Finance

    Week 13: Apr. 15

    • Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Investing
    • Exercise 13: ESG Investing Equity Analysis
    • Live Online Meetup 5: Apr. 15 at 11 am ET

    Week 14: Apr. 22

    • Net Positive Future

    Week 15: Apr. 29

    • Work on Final Project
    • Final Project Due: Apr. 29

    Week 16: May 6

    • Live Online Meetup 6: May 8 at 9:30 am ET

    Course officially ends: May 10

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