Sustainability can be seen as the opportunity to transform organizations, markets, and communities. While today’s business models have generated unforeseen levels of economic growth and technological innovation, they have also generated severe strains on our environment, social systems and personal lives. Building upon MIT’s distinguished accomplishments in technology, science, and social science, its tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration, and the ideal of “mens et manus” (blending “mind and hands”), the new Certificate in Sustainable Business views sustainability as a function of the interdependent dynamics of economic, societal, and environmental systems, where success overall is influenced by success across all areas and not upon a single factor.
Today, firms, nonprofit organizations, and public institutions alike explore new approaches to reconcile the virtues of free-market capitalism with the need for more sustainable business practices. The energy- and waste-intensive patterns of production and consumption underlying our economy cannot be sustained without severe breakdowns in the health of our environment, economy and society. The growing concern over global climate change and carbon emissions is simply one example of this broader challenge -- concerns over the future availability of food, clean water, air, sanitation, energy, safe and affordable housing, etc. are equally pressing. Yet the challenges involved in moving towards greater sustainability also offer numerous opportunities for new products, new services, new ventures based on these innovations, and the redesign of existing business models and practices to render them more sustainable.
The MIT Sloan Sustainability Certificate explicitly considers effective strategies at multiple levels, from individuals to organizations to communities to the world. The required and suggested courses in the Certificate Program explicitly leverage MIT Sloan’s strengths in process improvement, organizational learning and adaptation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, the dynamics of organizational and social change, and the interactions of markets, firms and organizations, and links to MIT’s strengths in science and technology through implementation.