Quinlan offers new sustainability management minor
In fall 2016, Loyola is launching a new sustainability management minor for students who want to learn more about sustainability in business and industry.
The new minor is spearheaded by Professor Nancy Landrum, who holds a joint appointment between the Quinlan School of Business and the Institute of Environmental Sustainability.
Here, Landrum shares her thoughts on Quinlan’s new course offerings and what it means about the future of business practices.
Why should businesses pay attention to sustainability?
As populations and economies grow, demand for resources continues to grow despite limited resources. Businesses are beginning to understand they must conduct business within the confines of limited resources—our planetary boundaries—and shift to renewable resources.
Consumers are also demanding more responsible, ethical, and sustainable behaviors and products from companies. Businesses need to have a better understanding of the impacts of their activities. Perhaps a business has too much waste. Or perhaps they’re trying to reduce green house gas emissions or conserve resources and operate more efficiently. Or use less toxic inputs into their products. Or perhaps they’re concerned about human rights in their supply chain, in regards to sweat shops. These are all impacts businesses should consider and manage.
Finally, businesses are recognizing new product and market opportunities, increased innovation, and improved financial performance.
How does sustainability fit in with Loyola’s and Quinlan’s mission?
The mission of each is to improve community engagement and improve social impact. Some of the classes in the sustainability management minor allow for community engagement. But overall, the nature of sustainability is about monitoring and improving your impact, and this minor speaks directly to that.
How marketable is this minor when students enter the workforce?
In higher education, the Chronicle for Higher Education listed "sustainability" as one of the top five emerging majors in 2009 and it continues to rank among the hottest majors that lead to jobs. The interest in sustainability education has continued to grow. Sustainability courses are quite common in business schools and, in fact, are now identified as a "knowledge area" by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education that should be integrated into the curriculum.
What classes are part of the new sustainability management minor?
The minor requires some of the core business classes, such as Marketing 201 and Management 201. And then there are three advanced sustainability classes. There’s a sustainable business management class, an environmental marketing class, and an environmental economics class.
There are also a few new courses we are developing, such as industrial ecology (sustainability and the supply chain); social, economic, and environmental sustainability (radical changes to help us preserve the planet for the future); and sustainability management in the global context (short-term study abroad experience to learn about sustainability in another country).
How will the minor change a student’s perspective?
Students will be exposed to new perspectives on the role of business and how it is possible to use a business to make a positive social, environmental, and economic impact for all stakeholders. Students who complete the courses consistently report that they now have a new way of seeing things and are optimistic about how business can be used to change the world for the better.