Sustainable Operations
4.5 (1 rating)
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Sustainable Operations

learn how to turn waste streams into value streams
4.5 (1 rating)
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.
9 students enrolled
Created by Kevin Wilhelm
Last updated 5/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $30 Discount: 67% off
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  • 39 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Be able to compare and contrast traditional business operations with sustainable operations by applying a triple-bottom-line perspective to traditional business
  • Learn to identify financial opportunities hidden in unused waste streams and how to "green” your office
  • Understand common supply-chain pressures and become familiar with supplier score-cards to understand the policies by which companies need to abide
  • Learn about the different ways that lean, Cradle-to-Cradle, Biomimicry and the Toyota Way can improve a business's operations
View Curriculum
  • no extra software needed

Sustainable Operations is not only about greening your operations and leaning your operations but it is beginning with the design of the environment in mind right from the get-go. In this course, you will learn how to create a lean and green enterprise and look at operations from a strategic level. Covering topics like the Toyota Way, Cradle-to-Cradle design and Biomimicry, you can learn how to save your company a lot of money and make your operations sustainable at the same time.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course has been designed for the student who has a basic understanding of business and a rudimentary understanding of how sustainability may be incorporated into business operations to create positive financial, environmental and social impacts.
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Curriculum For This Course
Sustainable Operations: Introduction
3 Lectures 04:41

Welcome to Sustainable Operations! Sustainable operations can be a way to save time, resources and money. This lecture introduces the concept of sustainable operations and the idea of "designing with the environment in mind" through methods like cradle-to-cradle and biomimicry.

Preview 02:14

Sustainable operations isn't about re-making your operations into something entirely new- often people are already operating in a sustainable manner by adding efficiency and reducing waste. In this lecture you will learn more about the language and jargon used in sustainable operations and ways to talk about it to your peers.

Preview 01:12

In this lecture you will hear a story about a warehouse that was operating in a sustainable way- not because they wanted to be more "green", but because of traditional business constraints (such as storage costs, shipping, etc), showing how sustainable operations are often guided by the bottom line.

Preview 01:15

Test your understanding for "Section 1: Sustainable Operations - Introduction"

Quiz 1: Defining Sustainable Operations
3 questions
Sustainable Operations: Understanding Terms, Principles and Metrics
8 Lectures 16:12

In this lecture you will learn about the management philosophy of lean manufacturing. Lean heavily overlaps with sustainability in that it is focused on using resources and people's tikme in the most efficient manner.

Preview 01:18

In this lecture you will learn how continuous improvement and respect for people leads to a company using lean principles.

Preview 00:42

Learn the traditional Porter's value chain, and how to look at the value chain in a more sustainable manner - using a sustainability lens allows businesses to look beyond their firms and consider sourcing, customers and everything in between. Sustainability becomes a tool for identifying news ways to innovate and cut costs.

The Value Chain

In this lecture you will learn to identify wastes - both lean wastes and green wastes, and when looking at your operations, how to identify potential operational waste streams.

Lean Wastes and Green Wastes

This lecture will discuss how service based businesses can operate in a more sustainable manner through strategy, processes, supply chain and more - through looking at their service operations and internal processes more efficiently, service based businesses can save money and reduce wasted employee time.

Lean and Green for Service Based Business

In this lecture you will learn about "The Toyota Way" and how to implement the 14 Toyota Way principles to be more innovative and efficient in your operations.

The Toyota Principles

Learn about one of the most successful ways sustainable operations has been implemented into construction and design - LEED. LEED uses a point based system to help determine what are the baselines for green building standards and help guide ways to design for efficiencies.


In this lecture you see case studies about how companies use sustainable operations when interacting with potential employees, where to look for potential opportunities to reduce wastes in products and services and looking at their supply chain through the lens of sustainability.

Companies Taking Action

Quiz 2: Terms, Principles and Metrics
5 questions
Design with Nature in Mind
4 Lectures 07:44

Nature doesn't ever design anything that can't go back into productive use. In this lecture you will be introduced to biomimicry and cradle-to-cradle through product and service examples.

Mimicking Nature

In this lecture, learn how to design products and services in a sustainable way from the beginning. A case study showing how wind turbines use whale flipper design highlights how products can look to nature for inspiration.


Cradle-to-cradle design is a way to have products be reused over and over. In this lecture you will learn the difference between cradle-to-cradle and cradle-to-grave design through a carpet company as a case study.


In this lecture you will look at three specific case studies of companies who were able to incorporate sustainability into their operations: General Motors, Kaiser Aluminum and San Antonio Hotels.

Green Company Case Studies

Check your understanding on biomimicry and cradle-to-cradle

Quiz 3: Designing with the Environment in Mind
3 questions
Sustainable Operations: Action and Implementation
5 Lectures 09:57

When looking at your operations, start with the end in mind. When you start at the end and work back towards today, you can find innovation, cost savings, and potential wastes that could become a revenue stream: better for the environment, better for your bottom line.

Begin with the End in Mind

In this lecture you will look at sustainability performance metrics and scorecards, like the Walmart Sustainability Index and how they relate to your operations.

Sustainability Performance Metrics & Scorecards

Learn best practices and resources on how to make your office operations more sustainable.

Greening your Office

In this lecture you will get tried-and-true tips on best practices to running an green team within your organization.

Preview 03:42

Sustainable Operations is about starting with the end in mind, and looking to see if you can apply Lean and Green methods, the Toyota Principles, or mimicking nature to not only be better for the environment but save money at the same time.


This quiz helps check your understanding on Section 4: Action and Implementation

Quiz 4: Action and Implementation
3 questions
About the Instructor
Kevin Wilhelm
3.8 Average rating
6 Reviews
33 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