COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
BUSI 5370—Business Case Writing (Strategy for Sustainability)
Jeff Dyson: Galloway 231 (880-2375)
The mission of the College of Business at Lamar University is to provide a quality
education to a diverse student population from Southeast Texas and beyond, resulting in
well-rounded business professionals who are prepared to meet the challenges of a
dynamic global environment while upholding ethical values and encouraging civic and
social responsibility. The faculty promotes an environment supportive of applications-
oriented learning by engaging in a balance of discipline-based, business pedagogy, and
practice-based intellectual contributions.
I. Course Description:
Managers must develop an understanding of the social, political, and regulatory
forces at work in the business environment. In addition, the development of
sustainable business practices and products is changing the structure and
processes of production and competition across a wide variety of industries. It is
also providing numerous opportunities for the development of new products, new
business processes, and new industries. In the longer term, the issue of
sustainability is likely to change what we understand as “business enterprise.”
This course has been designed to provide students with an understanding of the
principles and practices that comprise sustainable business; and of the effects of
the issue of sustainability on competition, business innovation, and the concept
of business enterprise.
II. Learning Outcomes:
Understand the environmental and human problems and dilemmas that
sustainable business practices are intended to address and remediate.
Understand the role of regulation in guiding and controlling sustainable business
Understand how firms can position their products, activities and customers in
terms of sustainable business practice as well as looking at social and
Understand how the introduction of sustainable activities can change and shape
the forces of competition such as supplier power, complementor/substitutes
power, barriers to entry, and competitive rivalry.
Develop skills in tracking innovation trends and look at the various ways in which
sustainability-related innovation is funded in various industries.
Develop skills in the use of scenario analysis to explore different outlooks for
business in the future as shaped by sustainability considerations.
Develop skill in analyzing a company’s sustainability issues and developing and
presenting sustainable strategies to the company’s management team and board
III. Course Materials:
Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate,
Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage (2009,Paperback) Daniel Esty ,
The College of Business Administration complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act in
making reasonable accommodation for qualified students with disability. If you have an
established disability as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and would like to request
accommodation, please see me as soon as possible. My office hours and office number are
shown on this syllabus. Please make an appointment with the office services for students with
disabilities if you have need for a disability-related accommodation. SFSWD is located in
Wimberly 101a, 409.880.8026 (voice/tty), or write to P.O. box 10010, Beaumont, Texas 77710. If
you have any problems with any of the rules/policies, contact Jeff Dyson.
IV. Teaching Methods:
1. Lecture 3. Team-based consulting projects
2. On-line discussions 4. Field trips
3. Guest speakers 5. Case analysis
V. Evaluation Tools:
Assignment rubrics, Presentation rubrics, Peer Evaluations
6 Individual Assignments 50 points each 300 points
5 of 7 Discussion Board Posts as assigned 100 points
1 Group AUDIO Analysis Project and Presentation 200 points
1 Group Case Analysis Presentation (SAS) 100 points
1 Group Case Competition Paper and Presentation *300 points
Total 1000 points
*Note: A Peer Evaluation will be part of the case analysis grade
VI. Discussion Posts:
Students will participate in an on-line discussion of various topics. Discussions
questions are contained in the syllabus. Discussion questions contained in the
syllabus will be posted in Blackboard. Students will are expected to post their
answer for each discussion question and respond to at least two other student’s
posts. Posts / responses should include further explanation (expansion) of a
subject, opinions (refute, agree, disagree), pros, cons,
VII. Assignment Schedule
Week #1 1/10-1/16 Business and Natural Resources. What is Sustainability?
What is a Sustainable Business? Thinking about sustainability – the business
world and the natural world are inextricably linked. The environment provides
natural capital critical to our economic system.
Reading: 1) Bookshelf. 2) Case Analysis: Scandinavian Airlines: The Green
Engine Decision Richard Ivey School of Business University of Western Ontario
a) Define sustainability. What is a sustainable business?
b) List the environmental impact(s) of aircraft engine performance.
c) Which of these impacts are key factors in a dual annular combustor
(DAC) engine decision?
d) What regulatory or market-based mechanisms does Scandinavian Airlines
need to consider that are related to these environmental impacts?
The assignment should be no more than three pages long.
Visit the website:www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator
Report your carbon footprint. What did you learn? – How did the exercise
stimulate your interest in sustainability?
Week #2 1/17–1/23 What is driving the concern for sustainability? Industry
groups are facing an unavoidable new array of environmentally driven issues that
presents an unprecedented challenge to business as usual.
Write a two to four page-briefing document for the senior management of
Scandinavian Airlines on climate change, based on the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report. A briefing document is used by senior
management to inform their decision-making. Before writing your document,
reflect on the following:
What information is most important to include?
What is essential for senior management to know?
How is it best presented (Ex: pros/cons, cost/benefit)
Discussion Board: View the 20 minute video: The Story of Stuff at
www.youtube.com. Annie says “you can’t run a linear system on a finite planet
indefinitely. In other words, you can’t have unlimited economic growth with limited
resources. What does this mean for the future of the U.S. economy? What
changes are needed to ensure that our economic system supports, rather than
undermines, the planet’s biological systems on which we depend?
Week #3 1/24 – 1/30 Understanding regulation
a) Write a briefing paper for senior management of Scandinavian Airlines on
carbon regulation in the EU. Describe one measure that is being or has
been implemented in the EU that you think may be adopted in the US.
Part (a) should be no more than two pages
b) Consider in addition the impact of carbon regulation on the Airline
industry, what would SAS’s motivations be for purchasing green engines?
Use the following list as a guide to discussing which motivations are most
relevant to SAS’ decisions and why. Part (b) should be no more than two
o Desire to avoid or anticipate further regulatory action
o Financial benefits (these can be short term or long term and can
also include money saved and money earned through corporate
o Competitive advantage
o Stakeholder pressures
o Enhancing image, being a good corporate citizen
Discussion Board: Reflect on the Story of Stuff. Annie says it’s the
government’s job to take care of us. Do you agree? Given both the ecological
threat and troublesome financial times what is the appropriate role for
government? How can business and government best work together?
Week #4 1/31 - /2-6 Analyzing Sustainability and the Extended Forces of
Focus: The Extended Five Forces of Competition and the basics of the Extended
Five Forces framework.
The introduction of sustainable practices can change forces of competition at the
industry level. For instance, adopting sustainable practices can not only change
the structure of a firm’s supply chain, but also change the bargaining power
between producers and suppliers. Similarly, adoption of sustainable practices
may lower entry barriers, as new entrants may be more competent in the new
practices than incumbents. Other forces of competition – rivalry, substitution,
complementor power and buyer power – may also be influenced. Finally,
regulations aimed at promoting sustainable business practice may significantly
change competitive dynamics.
Conduct an extended five forces framework on the airline industry. Summarize
your analysis with key issues that carriers face in the coming years with regard to
Prepare two exploratory scenarios (also known as descriptive scenarios that begin
in the present and explore trends into the future) for Scandinavian Airline’s future
based on one of the following topics:
1. The future of alternative energy
2. The future of emission charges (carbon regulation)
3. The future of general political pressure in Europe with regards to corporate
environmental management and the greening of the airline industry.
Consider that strategic decisions are influenced by a variety of external forces
(competition, industry trends, national culture and regulatory structure), as well
as internal forces (corporate culture, leadership, and management style). Your
total assignment should be no longer than 5 pages.
Discussion Board: Watch the four videos entitled The Story of Stuff Critique Parts
1-4 www.youtube.com. Which contributor (Lee Doren or Annie Leonard) do you
feel has fully formed their arguments? Why and why not?
Week #5 2-/7 – 2/13 Getting to a decision, weighing the pros and cons.
Focus: Sustainable strategies can catalyze a great deal of discussion about their
validity and commercial viability
Reading: Case Analysis: Scandinavian Airlines: The Green Engine Decision
Richard Ivey School of Business University of Western Ontario
List the arguments for and against purchasing the more expensive green engines
from the point of view of 1) the director of aircraft and engine analysis, and 2) the
SAS management team. This assignment should be approximately 2 pages.
Discussion Board: Leonard’s video is being shown around the country in many
schools. Do you think it’s appropriate for primary aged students? Would you
want your kid to see it?
Week #6 2/14 - 2/20 Sustainable Business Perspectives
While it is easy to say that corporations need to make long-term strategic
investments, they can be difficult to justify because of immediate pressures on
the bottom line. Maintaining shareholder value and maximizing short-term profits
is often a predominant goal of many corporations. However, given the fact that
environmental management is becoming increasingly important in the strategic
planning of businesses, corporations should consider larger long-term benefits
and competitive advantages that are often less tangible on the immediate bottom
Focus: “Pitching” sustainable strategy
Reading: 1) Bookshelf. 2) Case Analysis: Scandinavian Airlines: The Green
Engine Decision Richard Ivey School of Business University of Western Ontario
Should corporations make environmentally-responsible investments even if they
don’t have a short-term payback (five years or less), or direct payback? This
assignment should be no more than two pages.
Discussion Board: Would you recommend either Annie’s video or Lee’s videos or
both? If you could only recommend one, which would it be? Why?
Week #7 2/21-2/27 Group Presentation on AUDIO analysis
IX. Field Assignment
The field assignment will give students hands-on experience developing
sustainable strategy for a local business. Students will divide into two groups.
Group one will interview the management team of M&D Supply about their
company’s social and environmental concerns and efforts toward sustainability.
This group will identify issues and opportunities using Esty and Winston’s
AUDIO (Aspects, Upstream, Downstream, Issues, and Opportunities) analysis
framework. The group will download resources from the Green to Gold author’s
website http://eco-advantage.com/downloads.php , and use them as a framework
for analysis. Students will write a two to four page narrative summary of the
aspects of sustainability that touch the business and include a grid/ issues map
as outlined in the book.
Group two will work with the M&D’s purchasing and marketing managers to
develop criteria that the business can use to be more formal and conscious about
their choices of products to carry. This will be useful in representing to
customers that their products meet purposefully-developed selection criteria and
will help M&D to communicate their inventory standards to their suppliers. Both
will be helpful to M&D in branding and differentiating its business. M&D has a
database of thousands of consumer and business customers that will be
available to conduct market research. The group will provide a narrative
summary of recommendations not to exceed five pages.
Students will present their findings in class and to the company’s board of
Each assignment requires a 15 minute informal presentation. The group is
required to provide the client and instructor with a briefing report and supporting
Discussion Board: Examine the website mytownmyjobmyvoice.org. Do you feel
that such sites are informative and helpful in delivering a balanced perspective to
the public and policy makers? Why or why not?
Week #8 2/28- 3/6 Group Presentation on Scandinavian Airlines
This assignment requires a 15 minute presentation and report. The group’s
report should not exceed 6 pages.
Group Case Analysis Assignment (Scandinavian Airlines):
Based on your analysis and information in the case study, should the SAS
management team approve the purchase of the DAC engines? Use the
diagram provided to help form your decision (see Exhibit TN-1) include an
explanation and supporting documentation.
Given general management trends and trends in the airline industry
specifically over the past decade, if you were CEO of SAS today, what
decision would you make? Why or why not? What are the arguments for /
Group Case Competition (Aspen Institute):
The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education is offering the Lamar MBA
programs the opportunity to participate in the seventh Aspen Institute Case
Competition. This competition is designed to raise awareness among future
business leaders around the impact that business can have on pressing social
and environmental issues.
Information from the 2010 Competition (subject to change in 2011):
The Aspen Institute’s goal is to work with leading MBA programs to develop and
run the most influential and prestigious case competition in the world.
20-25 leading MBA programs from around the world will participate.
Each MBA program will choose a team of four to five students to represent
The Aspen Institute will provide a complete Case Competition toolkit
including a newly developed social/environmental themed case, marketing
collateral and scoring guidelines.
Each school runs an on-campus contest to identify a single campus
An Aspen Institute panel of judges will select five teams to receive an all
expenses paid trip to New York City for a cocktail reception and final
The total purse is $40,000. The winning team receives $25,000 with the
1st runner up receiving $10,000 and the 2nd runner up receiving $5,000.
Why this case competition?
A fun, engaging, “turn-key” experience for students- The contest offers a
low-cost way to engage your students on social and environmental issues
in business, without too much staff support.
Reputation and Recognition - Entering schools will belong to a select
group of MBA programs that are participating in one of the most respected
case competitions in the world.
Relevance and Impact - This case competition will highlight the challenges
and opportunities that companies are increasingly facing. Exposing your
students to these issues will create an important long-term competitive
advantage for their future advancement.
The case competition will take place in April 2011. The internal case
competition will take place on a Friday-Monday period with the final New
York City round occurring on one Friday.
Course Schedule (Table Format):
Week Day topic speaker Location written assignments due # Due
1 10-Jan Kickoff / what is sustainability? Dyson / Mayer 245B
12-Jan Jim Rich – My Town My Job Dyson / Rich COC
2 17-Jan Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Begin Discussion Posts
Define Sustainability, Aircraft Impacts, Key
19-Jan Eastman’s Gasification Project Dyson / Simpson TBA Factors for DAC, Considerations for SAS 1
Environmental Law and
3 24-Jan Regulation Dyson / Mulvaney 245B Briefing Document / Climate Change 2
26-Jan No Class
28- Jan Field Trip – Waste Management Dyson / Wilson Field Trip
Briefing Document / SAS / EU Regulation
Airline Industry EU Regulation / Implications On
4 31-Jan Analyzing Sustainability (porter) Mayer COC DAC Decision 3
2-Feb Accounting For Sustainability Yarborough 242
Dyson / Five Forces Framework – Industry (external)
5 7-Feb Lean Exercise Underdown COC and SAS (internal) analysis 4
9-Feb No Class
Tracking , implementing, SAS Green Engine Pros and Cons (Two
6 14-Feb funding innovation Dyson / Latiolais COC Perspectives) 5
16-Feb Field Trip - STI Dyson / Smith Field Trip
Should Corporations Make Environmentally
Responsible Investments When the Payback is
7 21-Feb Group Pres - Eco Tracking Dyson / Mayer 245B Uncertain? Audio Analysis Due 6
23-Feb Jason’s Deli - Newman Dyson / Newman COC
Group Pres – Scandinavian
8 28-Feb Airlines Dyson / Mayer 245B Case Analysis Due
Sustainability in Agriculture and Dyson / Flora /
2-Mar Construction Estes 242 SAS (team) due Friday March 5
9 7-Mar Spring Break
10 14-Mar Team Building - no class meeting
11 21-Mar Team Building - no class meeting
12 28-Mar Team Building - no class meeting
13 4-Apr Aspen Case Arrives All
14 11-Apr Aspen Case Due All