Sustainability Runs Through It
Course Offerings at Moore Address Triple Bottom Line
Globalization and Corporate Social Responsibility (DMSB 722)
There’s more to business today than maximizing profits.
In a world where evidence of global warming and its root cause in human activity is virtually irrefutable, where most of the population lives in or at the edge of poverty, and where a growing population competes for finite resources, more companies are now concerned with what many refer to as the “triple bottom line” – economic, ecological, and social responsibilities.
It’s something that “keeps a CEO up at night,” says Dr. Andrew Spicer, director of the Sustainable Enterprise and Development Initiative at the Moore School.
In 2006, Spicer implemented an ethics course titled Globalization and Corporate Social Responsibility that aims to make students think about issues such as child labor, protection of the environment, fair wages, and employee welfare worldwide. For example, should a company adapt standards applied in another country that may be inconsistent with its values, or try to persuade foreign partners to adopt new standards?
International Development Economics
“Today, half the world lives on less than $2 per day,” says Dr. Chandini Sankaran, a clinical assistant professor of economics. “Economic underdevelopment encompasses various aspects of human suffering.”
A course Sankaran is teaching this fall, International Development Economics, offers an introduction to the theory and practice of economic development in the developing economies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The course touches on poverty, inequality, urbanization, rural development, health and education, and trade practices.
A course with this title was offered in the past at Moore, but had been dormant for a number of years. Sankaran is reviving it and adding her own perspective, based on her experiences in developing communities in Peru and her native Malaysia.
Working with a colleague at the University of Wisconsin, where Sankaran previously taught, she established contact with NGOs (non-governmental organizations), government officials, and teachers at an agricultural university in Peru and is looking at ways American university students can help promote economic development in poor villages in the Andes.
This year, one of Sankaran’s students from UW interned with AmCham Peru (American Chamber of Commerce Peru). Sankaran hopes to plug Moore School students into internships in Peru in coming years – placing them with trade organizations, NGOs, and corporations such as Kimberly Clark and Baachus Beer that have a major presence in Peru.
In Malaysia, Sankaran is examining opportunities for students with the Forestry Research Institute, which is working to preserve rainforests and promote sustainable forestry.
Sustainable Economic Development (ECON 589D)
“In economics, sustainability is defined as providing the typical person alive in the future with a standard of living, both material and environmental welfare, at least as high as that enjoyed by the typical person today (Pezzey, 1992). This includes our responsibility to control emissions of stock pollutants and manage the planet’s natural resources so as to provide future generations with a high quality of life, without sacrificing too much of our materialistic standard of living.”
So goes the synopsis of a proposed course offering, Sustainable Economic Development, also being developed by Prof. Sankaran.“ Rapid economic development, as is occurring in China and some Latin American countries, also comes at a great cost to the environment,” she says.
The current hyperactivity in developing parts of the world provides challenges, but also educational opportunities. In this course, Sankaran will lead students in discussions of sustainable activities such as ecotourism, microfinancing of small businesses, and sustainable agricultural practices.
International Business and Sustainable Development (IBUS 738)
An introduction to international environmental and social management issues that affect an organization's sustainable development initiatives.