Overview of Course
Many consider businesses as vital players in addressing the global challenges highlighted in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Since the mainstreaming of environmental issues into business discourse in the late 1980s and early 1990s, many different business models have emerged that place their social and/or environmental goals at the heart of their activities. It is now also widely accepted that the largest corporates will also have active environmental management and corporate social responsibility programmes. This explosion in the number ‘social’ for-profit, non-profit and hybrid business models includes B Corporations, social enterprises and fairtrade to name a few. Their business models reflect the market opportunities offered by changing norms and values in the societies in which they are set. They respond to sustainability issues such as poverty, inequality, lack of healthcare, financial exclusion, lack of educational opportunities, inadequate sanitation, poor waste management and global issues such as climate change. This course explores how these different ventures leverage markets to address specific social and/or environmental challenges across the regions visited. It explores how context influences these organizations and the specific issues they seek to address. This course will use lectures, real-life case studies, fieldwork, group exercises and presentations to gain in-depth understanding of the major issues addressed by these enterprises, the different models used in differing contexts, and the specific challenges they confront.