Bard MBA

Serious Sustainability

We share our world with seven billion people. Soon there will be nine billion of us, all aspiring to a good quality of life. Can we meet human needs without destroying the ecological systems and exhausting the natural resources on which our civilization depends?

The answer lies in sustainable business.

A sustainable company seeks to operate on principles engineered by nature:
·      No pollution: In nature, all waste from one production process is food for another.
·      No energy crisis: Nature runs on abundant renewable energy.
·      No system too big to fail: Nature promotes and thrives on diversity.

When our business systems have learned to mimic natural systems, then we can see our way to a just and prosperous future.

Serious sustainability is not just about conserving water or energy. It requires radically rethinking the way business models are designed, from the ground up. It demands that companies not only maximize profits for shareholders, but do so by engaging customers, employees, suppliers, and communities in the underlying mission of building a sustainable world.

Sustainable Business Education

The sustainability revolution in business began when a handful of corporate leaders began to rethink the fundamental purpose of the business enterprise. As the late Ray Anderson, pioneering CEO of Interface Carpets put it, “What’s the business case for ending life on earth?” By the late 1990s, innovative companies had begun to develop sustainability as a successful challenge to business as usual. Their transformation was driven by four main factors.

Sustainability at Bard

Bard College, the home of the Bard MBA program, is an ongoing laboratory for business sustainability. Bard was an early adopter of the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), gaining a silver rating. STARS is a point-based system similar in concept to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), with points assigned in three overarching categories: operations, planning and administration, and curriculum.

Social Entrepreneurs and Sustainability

What is the difference between a graduate business program in “social entrepreneurship” and the Bard MBA in Sustainability? Social entrepreneurs focus on only two bottom lines: a social mission and financial sustainability. Bard’s program, by contrast, integrates three bottom lines: planet, profit, and people. We foreground a business strategy predicated on continuous reduction in ecological impact.