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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

In-House Quality
In 2001, Stern became the first business school to establish its own center for exploring new models in teaching and learning. The NYU Stern Learning Science Lab is a team of creatives, educators, designers, and technologists who work closely with faculty to create engaging and interactive courses. Leveraging the resources of Stern and NYU at large, the team applies their expertise in user experience design, learning science, and video production to build immersive digital learning environments for business school education.

Online Learning Terminology
The term "asynchronous" refers to courses or course elements that can be completed at any time within the parameters of the course schedule. 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. The term "synchronous" refers to learning with others in real time using videoconferencing and other technologies. Our online certificate courses are asynchronous with optional synchronous elements.

Software/Technical Requirements
  • Desktop or laptop computer
  • 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
  • This program does not support mobile devices, including tablets and iPads.

  • 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: January 24th

    • Sustainability for Business
    • Exercise 1: Baseline Summary

    Week 2: January 31st

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

    Week 3: February 7th

    • 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: February 7th at 4:00 - 5:00 PM ET

    Week 4: February 14th

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

    Week 5: February 21st

    • 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: February 28th

    • Supply Chains
    • Exercise 6: Supply Chain Management
    • Post to Q&A Forums for Lessons 4, 5, and 6
    • Live Online Meetup 2: February 28th at 8:30 - 9:30 AM ET
    • Final Project Outline Due: March 6th at 11:55 PM ET

    Week 7: March 7th

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

    Week 8: March 14th

    • Innovation
    • Exercise 8: Lazlo Innovation Scheme

    Week 9: March 21st

    • 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: March 21st at 8:30 - 9:30 AM ET

    Week 10: March 28th

    • Employees and Sustainability
    • Exercise 10: Sustainable Employment

    Week 11: April 4th

    • 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: April 4th at 4:00 - 5:00 PM ET

    Week 12: April 11th

    • Mainstreaming Sustainable Finance

    Week 13: April 18th

    • Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Investing
    • Exercise 13: ESG Investing Equity Analysis
    • Live Online Meetup 5: April 18th at 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET

    Week 14: April 25th

    • Net Positive Future

    Week 15: May 2nd

    • Work on Final Project

    Week 16: May 9th

    • Final Project Due: May 8th at 11:55 PM ET
    • Live Online Meetup 6: May 12th at 10:00 - 11:00 AM ET

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