Making the Business Case for Sustainability
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Making the Business Case for Sustainability

Sustainability CAN be more profitable, enhance brand value and provide better ROI. Learn how!
3.3 (2 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
13 students enrolled
Created by Kevin Wilhelm
Last updated 7/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $30 Discount: 67% off
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  • 31 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand that sustainability is about cost savings, risk reduction, brand value, employee productivity and top line revenue
  • Analyze Triple Bottom Line (TBL) examples of companies taking leadership in sustainability and thriving because of this strategic decision
  • Understand that change is possible at all types of businesses by reviewing specific case studies within different types of industries
View Curriculum
  • no extra software needed

One of the most important things when discussing sustainability is being able to make the business case. Many people see a tradeoff between financial bottom line benefit for a company and doing better for the environment or society as a whole. In this module you will learn how to dispel that myth and show that a business can be more profitable, enhance brand value, provide a better return to investors and gain a competitive advantage by implementing sustainability. By the end of this course, you will be able to answer these questions:

  • Why are sustainable investments outperforming the DJIA?
  • How are accounting standars changing and hwat are their relationships with the way business will need to change what it tracks and measures?
  • How can I show my company's social and environmental peformance by integrating it into annual reporting?
Who is the target audience?
  • Students who are currently working in a company that is not sustainable and wish to convince management they should implement sustainability or students who currently work within the sustainable sector would benefit from the content of this course
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Curriculum For This Course
Introduction to Making the Business Case for Sustainability
4 Lectures 06:27

In this lecture, learn how to utilize both internal and external pressures to make the business case for sustainability and uncover opportunities to make money.

Preview 00:59

In this lecture you will learn includes how to truly make the business case, external factors affecting business decisions, case studies and elements of creating the business case for sustainability.

Preview 00:48

Many people say that policy and government is needed to drive sustainability. In this lecture you will understand why policies around sustainability have stalled at a national and international level, and why business has picked up the reigns to lead with sustainability.

Preview 02:36

Learn why CEOs see sustainability as value add to their business instead of as an expense. Business opportunities from increased market share, new revenue streams and opportunities to make money through innovation and bold commitments.

Preview 02:04

A short quiz to test your understanding on Making the Business Case so far.

Quiz 1: Introduction to Making the Business Case
3 questions
Is Sustainability Profitable?
5 Lectures 06:25

Learn how sustainability focused companies are outperforming traditional ones in the financial markets.

Preview 01:20

In this lecture, learn how external factors such as extreme weather have significantly impacted how the insurance industry approaches paying out claims.

Preview 01:30

The financial markets reveal how the Dow Jones Sustainability index outperforms the Dow and S&P 500 - even during an economic down time.

The Stock Market- how well do sustainable investments perform?

Learn how institutional investors are pushing companies to address climate change in their business strategies.

Investor Pressure towards climate reporting

In this lecture, learn how the debt markets are requiring large infrastructure projects to demonstrate environmental and social performance before handing out loans.

Debt Markets and Financial Risk from Climate Change

A short quiz to check your understanding of section two of Making the Business Case.

Quiz 2: Is Sustainability Profitable?
6 questions
Sustainability and its effect on Operations and Employees
5 Lectures 06:28

Learn more about how large companies, such as Wal-Mart are pushing sustainability requirements down their supply chain, how customers are influencing suppliers by voting with their dollars, and how employees prefer to work for a socially responsible company.

Influencing the Supply Chain

Learn how large companies are engaging their suppliers around sustainability through questionnaires, RFP policies, internal sustainability indices.

Supply chain engagement around sustainability

Sustainability is a huge factor in how Millennials view their employers. Learn how sustainability can affect recruiting and retaining young professionals.

Sustainability Importance to Gen Y and Millennials

Learn the benefits of an engaged workforce and how sustainability can improve employee engagement.

Sustainability as an Employee Engagement Tool

In this lecture, learn how to take the language of sustainability and match it with business priorities to generate buy-in.

Preview 01:01

This quiz will test your understanding on Section 3 of Making the Buisness Case

Quiz 3: Sustainability and its effect on Operations and Employees
4 questions
Industry Case Studies on Sustainability
7 Lectures 09:45

Discover how companies such as Toyota are able to reduce their environmental impacts and save money at the same time.

Finding the Return on Sustainability

In this lecture you will see how one aspect of sustainability, renewable energy, is creating more jobs and a cleaner environment.

Making the Biz Case for Renewable Energy

Learn how a Seattle-based law firm found cost savings and an additional revenue stream through digital paper storage.

Industry Case Study: Paper reduction

Learn how a property management company utilized smart-time optimization programming to improve their brand and reputation within the city.

Industry Case Study: Energy efficiency

Learn how a company used innovation to turn what was considered waste (used bike tubes) into a product to sell.

Industry Case Study: Product Waste to Revenue

Learn how a company converts carbon from automobile exhaust and converts to nanotubes which are used to build laptops, mobile phones and computers.

Industry Case Study: Carbon Waste to Revenue

Learn how a company turns cow manure into energy, finding a way to turn waste into an additional revenue stream.

Industry Case Study: Cow pies to Cash
2 Lectures 01:51

Find out how making the business case is an opportunity to show how businesses can not just save money but make money as well.

Why make the business case?

In this lecture, hear an overview of why sustainability is beneficial for businesses, and what to talk about while making the business case.

Making the Business Case for Sustainability
About the Instructor
Kevin Wilhelm
3.8 Average rating
7 Reviews
38 Students
5 Courses
Acclaimed Author. Inspiring Speaker. Sustainability Expert.

Kevin Wilhelm is the world’s pre-eminent consultant in the field of business sustainability and climate change. He is the CEO of Sustainable Business Consulting & Education, a Seattle-based company focused on delivering business value through the integration of sustainable business practices. He is also an acclaimed author, speaker and teacher and has developed a series of online courses and modules around sustainability for both the corporate and academic markets.


Kevin brings over 19 years of experience working with 95+ businesses ranging across 23 different industries from Fortune 50 multinationals to medium-sized businesses. Some of his firm’s clients include Nordstrom, Amazon. com, REI, Alaska Airlines, The North Face, Redbox/Outerwall, Expeditors, Real Networks, Drugstore. com and Brooks.


He is the author of two acclaimed books in the field of sustainability: “Making Sustainability Stick: The Blueprint for Successful Sustainability Implementation”and “Return on Sustainability: How Business Can Increase Profitability & Address Climate Change in an Uncertain Economy.”

Kevin has written over 20 published articles on sustainability for organizations such as Sustainable Industries, Triple Pundit and Environmental Leader and was a contributing writer to three additional books:

    §“Green Jobs: a Guide to Eco-Friendly Employment,”

    §“Advancing Sustainability in Higher Education” and

    §“Go Green Rating Scale for Early Childhood Settings.”


Kevin has created course content and taught over 10 different graduate level courses on sustainable business at three different universities. His courses include:

  • Foundations of Sustainability
  • Intro to Sustainable Business
  • Triple Bottom Line Accounting
  • Sustainability as Strategy
  • Sustainability and Economics
  • Stakeholders and the Bottom Line (Finance)

    §Sustainable Marketing

    §Sustainable Finance

    §Sustainable Operations

    §Management for Sustainability

    §Advanced Business Modeling