The sustainability revolution in business began when a handful of corporate leaders started to rethink the fundamental purpose of business enterprise. As the pioneering CEO of Interface Carpets, the late Ray Anderson, put it, “What’s the business case for ending life on earth?” By the late 1990s, innovative companies had begun to develop sustainability business practices as a successful challenge to business as usual. Their transformation was driven by four main factors:
rising awareness about the profound impacts of global warming and biodiversity loss, and the scale and pace of change in human activities needed to chart a different course;
the publication of important books showing a viable way forward, including Paul Hawken’s Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism by Hawken, Hunter Lovins, and Amory Lovins;
the leadership of corporate CEOs like Anderson at Interface Carpets, and entrepreneurs like Gary Hirschberg at Stonyfield Farm, Anita Roddick at The Body Shop, and Gary Erickson at Clif Bar; and
the brand challenges over sweatshop labor that highlighted supply chain exposure and risk in an age of ever increasing transparency.
The Bard MBA focuses on the business case for sustainability. We train students to see how firms can integrate economic, environmental and social objectives—the triple bottom line—to create successful businesses that build a more sustainable world. Graduates of the Bard MBA program will transform existing companies, start their own businesses, and pioneer new ways of doing business that will meet human needs while protecting and restoring the earth’s natural systems.