A new MBA course implemented this fall at Sonoma State University has already resulted in viable sustainability projects for several North Bay businesses and organizations.
The Leading Sustainable Enterprises class, taught by Business Professor Adele Santana, is an experiential leadership course allowing students to research, develop, and implement environmental sustainability initiatives in the North Bay Area.
"Many business leaders today understand that long-term success is driven by an organization's value system and its relationship to social and natural environments," says Santana. "Our students, in their creativity and ingenuity, have cracked the code on sustainability with projects that not only create value for organizations and the marketplace, but also meet a standard of social, economic, and environmental responsibility."
Students are working on projects at Kaiser Permanente, Petaluma Poultry, Sonoma County Library, City of Rohnert Park, Coaches Training Institute (CTI), Target stores, Promise Energy, Ogilvie Merwin Ventures and Muddy Boot Wine, among other organizations.
The sustainability curriculum in the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State is part of a broad strategy to align academic courses to social and global concerns of students, their organizations, and local communities. Executive Director of Graduate and Executive Business Programs John Stayton leads the effort to infuse sustainability principles into the curriculum. He co-founded the nation's first graduate program in sustainable business, or "Green MBA," while at New College of California in 2000. Both Stayton and Santana recently gave presentations at the University's third annual SSU Sustainability Days.
Santana is an expert on the effects of company orientation and industry characteristics on building and executing a sustainability strategy. Her research is featured in "Business and Society Review," "Ethics and Information Technology," and the "Journal of Business Ethics," among other publications. She recently published a chapter in the book "Ending the Fossil Fuel Era."
The School of Business and Economics is a primary supporter of the annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference in Rohnert Park, designed to educate and work with organizations to integrate environmental responsibility, sustainable business practices, and economic and social equity issues.