Syllabus for SUS-700



Designing a Business Case for Sustainability introduces students to the topic of sustainability with a focus on how they can build a business case for sustainability within their organization. The course provides background into the social, economic, and environmental challenges facing organizations today as they strive for more sustainable operations, explaining both the trade-offs and the potential payoffs from striving for a zero-waste supply chain. Students will learn why it is imperative that all businesses work toward developing a regenerative business model rather than one that is exploitative. This course discusses ways an organization can revise its operations to accommodate the triple bottom line of profit, people, and planet.  Students will learn about the global issues challenging today's business managers from the key leaders and the important literature in the sustainability field.  Students will also develop their capacity to think critically about the role the organizations they are connected with have played or can play in building a more sustainable world.


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the meaning of sustainability as well as its importance to the long-term viability and profitability of an organization
  2. Assess the ethical implications of sustainability.
  3. Evaluate the current state of sustainability within an organization.
  4. Integrate systems thinking concepts into the development of a viable sustainability strategy
  5. Evaluate change management approaches for implementing sustainability objectives.
  6. Summarize how specific organizations have implemented sustainability strategies to innovate and create profitable opportunities.
  7. Explain the importance of collaboration and the engagement of all stakeholders in implementing sustainability.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN: 978-0385519045

Other Resources


Designing a Business Case for Sustainability is a three-credit, eight-week online course, consisting of four modules. Modules include an overview, topics, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete several types of written assignments, attend two synchronous events, and complete a final project. See below for details.

You will find Evaluation Rubrics for the activities in the Evaluation Rubrics area of the course site.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in three graded discussion forums.  Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. There is also an ungraded but required introduction forum in Module 1.

Written Assignments

You are required to participate in six written assignments, including a midterm assignment. Directions for each assignment are provided within the module.

Guidelines for Written Assignments

Each written assignment has the following requirements.

Synchronous Events

Synchronous events will be held during modules 1 and 4 of the semester. To access the event, click the Collaboration Space link in the Edison Live! section of the course site a few minutes before the designated time. Use the following link for directions and helpful videos about how to use the Edison Live! tool in Moodle.  Your mentor will work with the class to propose a time that works best and accommodates the majority.  

Final Project

The final project for this course requires students to present, in the form of a final paper, a business case for sustainability that is convincing and that reflects the concepts in the course materials. Your final paper should be organized, cogently argued,and creative.  

Your paper should be between 2000 and 2500 words in length (with a typical font and spacing this will be between 8 and 10 pages).

Please consult the Final Project Rubric, found in the Evaluation Rubrics area of the course site.

A fuller description of the final project is available in the Final Project section of the course Web site. Note that you will submit the first two sections of this project as your cumulative midterm assignment.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

Copyright © 2016 by Thomas Edison State University. All rights reserved.