BUSN 6800 Accounting and Finance for Sustainability
University Of Colorado At Denver Online MBA Program
Spring 2010 – January 19th through May 12th
Dr. John Byrd
e-mail (office): email@example.com
This class is part of the Business School’s MBA track in Sustainable Management. The class looks at
accounting and finance topics related to sustainability. The field of environmental finance is new. We
will look at a range of topics some of which are just emerging as important to business. We will begin
the class by looking at how global climate change relates to business. Then we will discuss financial
aspects of energy efficiency, solar and wind energy. The two or three weeks before the Spring break are
devoted to socially responsible investing. After the break we will look at a variety of topics including
alternative measures of GDP, microfinance, green banking and macroeconomic sustainability.
There will be six deliverables this term. Your performance on these items plus your participation
will determine your final letter grade. The items and the points associated with them are:
2 Case Reports (@100) 200
3 Short Case reports( @ 50) 150
Webliography entries 50
Case Reports - These a 3 to 5 page reports (possibly with some appendices) addressing a
series of questions about the assigned case. People doing a complete report will be
expected to be active participants in the discussion of that case. Cases will be assigned
the first week of classes. Everyone will write reports on two cases during the term. Each
of these reports is worth 100 points. Send them to me as an MS Word file (.doc format
please) attached to an email.
Short Case Reports - These are short reports about the Waste Concern, Sogesol and RBC
cases. I will send out several questions for you to address about a week or ten days
before the due date. We will also have a discussion of each of these cases. Each of these
reports is worth 50 points.
Exam - We will have a 100 point exam during the week of April 26th. My best guess as
the class begins is that the exam will have about 20 points of short answer questions
(facts, definitions, etc.) and some essay questions with one or two required and another
set that you can choose among.
Presentation/Project - This is a 20 to 25 slide presentation about an approved topic of
your choice. It can extend something we discussed in the class, introduce a brand new
topic, profile a business, review a book, be a business idea, analyze a policy (e.g., tax
credits, subsidies, building codes etc.) related to the financing or reporting of renewable
energy or some other aspect of sustainability, or work on some other topic that you find
interesting or might be valuable to you. The topic needs to be approved. You should be
close to having a topic by the first or second week of April. The final presentation
(Powerpoint file) is due May 10th.
Participation - We have a lot to learn form each other. I assign participation scores based
on how active you are in our case and topic discussions. I try to weed out trivial entires
like, "I agree" etc. when counting entries. You will receive 88% to 90% of the possible
points if you participate several times in most of the discussions. People who are more
active or make more insightful comments will earn more points.
Webliography - The Webliography section of the class lets people share links to
interesting websites. I would like everyone to contribute two links to the Webliography.
In addition to the URL you need to give a brief description of the website. Everyone
should earn all the points for this assignment.
The cases for the 100-point case reports are in two groups. I would like everyone to write one
report for one case in each group. Post your preferences in the Case Sign-up area of the class
website the first week of classes. I’ll make case assignments based on your posting over the
weekend and post the assignment Monday or Tuesday of the following week. The case groups
are shown below.. Choose one case from each group. If you don’t have any preference post that
Group A (Weeks 3 and 4)
Manitou Springs Energy Perfomance Contract Due February 15th
Wind Energy Power Company Due February 22nd
Group B (Weeks 5 and 6)
Green Fields Investment Due March 8th
SRI and EPA TRI case (Evaluating a company using an EPA database) Due March 15th
Everyone will do the Waste Concern, Sogesol and RBC cases. You will submit a short report on these
cases. I will send out several questions for you to address. These questions and writing the short
report will help you prepare for the case discussion.
Tentative Topic Schedule
Specific Readings will be on the website
Date Topic Assignment
What is sustainability? Climate Global Climate Change and
1 19-Jan Change Emissions Trading
GHG Disclosure, Offsets RECs
2 25-Jan and RPS
CDM- Clean Development Waste Concern Case
3 1-Feb Mechanism Waste Concern Case
4 8-Feb Carbon trading v Carbon taxes
5 15-Feb Solar and Wind Finance Wind Energy Case
6 22-Feb Energy Efficiency Financing Manitou Springs Case
8 8-Mar Socially Responsible Investing Green Fields Investments
Socially Responsible Investing EPA TRI Case
9 15-Mar TRI
10 22-Mar SPRING BREAK
11 29-Mar Liabilities/Accounting
12 5-Apr Microfinance Sogesol Case
13 12-Apr Green banking RBC
14 19-Apr Alternative Measures of GDP
15 26-Apr Exam
16 3-May Work on presentations
17 10-May Presentations
The cases in BOLD (Global Climate Change and Emissions Trading, Waste Concern, Green
Fields, and RBC Financial Group) can be purchased online at our Harvard Business School
Publishing class website at:
The Manitou Springs, Wind Energy, EPA TRI and Sogesol cases will be posted in Doc Sharing
for free download about a week to ten days before the case report is due.
Week 1 - What is sustainability? Climate Change
ByrdMarketFailureNote.pdf: This essay provides some background about why the economic
system is not sustainable. It talks about how competitive economic systems fail to deal with
externalities, common access resources and intergenerational equity. It is available in Doc
ByrdDefinitionsSustainability.pdf: A list of definitions by people with many different
perspectives. It is available in Doc Sharing.
Reinhardt et al, Global Climate Change and Emissions Trading, HBS Note available from
Harvard Business School Publishing.
Week 2 - GNG Disclosure, Offsets RECs and RPS
Carbon Tracker, What are Carbon Offsets
Greenhouse Gas Protocol (Revised Edition), WRI and WBCSD, April 2004.
The Economist, Sins of Emissions, August 3, 2006
Joshua Gans, Do Voluntary Carbon Offsets Work? Economist's Voice, Berkeley Electronic
Press, October 2007.
Clean Air Cool Planet, A Consumers' Guide to Retail Carbon Offset Providers (2006)
Barry Rabe, Race to the Top: The expanding role of US State Renewable Portfolio Standards,
Pew Center for Global Climate Change, June 2006.
Week 3 - CDM - Clean Development Mechanism & Waste Concern Case
Monroy & Dutt, Getting Ready For Market, Carbon Finance January 2004.
MGM International, Obstacles in developing CDM Projects, September 2004.
This paper gives a good description of the various steps necessary for a CDM project to be
Schneider, Is the CDM fulfilling its environmental and sustainable development objectives?
Oko-Institut, November 2007.
Note: this is a long report. I suggest reading the summary (pages 5-14) then maybe dipping
into sections that might interest you.
Monroy, Last Chance for the CDM, Carbon Finance November 2005.
Week 4 - Carbon trading versus Carbon taxes
Victor and Cullenward, Making Carbon Markets Work, Scientific American, December 2007.
Ronald Bailey, Carbon Taxes Versus Carbon Markets: What's the best way to limit emissions?,
Reason, May 24, 2007.
Economist, Doffing the Cap, June 14, 2007.
Monica Prasad, On Carbon, Tax and Don’t Spend, New York Times, March 25, 2008.
J. Byrd and T. Zwirlein, 1994, "Environmental Protection and Forward Contracts: Sulfur
Dioxide Emission Allowances", Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 6:109-110
Week 5 - Economics of Solar and Wind - Wind Energy Case
Week 6 - Energy Efficiency Financing
FEMP, Super Energy Savings Performance Contracts, DOE July 2003 (in Doc Sharing)
RPS ChartAbout Energy Performance Contracts
Oregon Department of Energy, Performance Contract Example, November 2004
5 Steps to Successful Energy Savings Performance Contracts
Week 8 and 9 - Socially Responsible Investing
International Evidence on Ethical Mutual Fund Performance and Investment Style,
Roger Otten , Rob Bauer and Kees C.G. Koedijk
Social Investing Forum, 2005 Report On Socially Responsible Investing Trends In The United
Paul Hawken, Socially Responsible Investing, Natural Capital Institute, 2004.
Seeking Alpha, SRI Investing: Uncompromised Values, Compromised Returns
Week 10 - SPRING BREAK
Week 11 - Environmental Liabilities/Accounting
Reed Abelson, Messy accounting, Forbes Magazine, Oct 14, 1991.
AICPA, EITF Issue no. 90-8, Capitalization of Costs to Treat Environmental Contamination.
AICPA, EITF issue no. 89-13, Accounting for the Cost of Asbestos Removal
AICPA, Statement of Position 96-1, Environmental Remediation Liabilities
Amal Kumar Naj, See No Evil: Can $100 Billion Have No Material Effect On Balance Sheets?
Huge Toxic-Waste Cleanup Will Burden Many Firms, The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 1988,
Week 12 - Microfinance
(It is a long list so choose the ones that interest you)
Karol Boudreaux and Tyler Cowen, The Micromagic of Microcredit, Wilson Quarterly, Winter
The Economist, Microfinance Survey, November 5, 2005
Wharton, Microfinance Lending Methodology (9/31/2006).
Richard Rosenberg, Microcredit Interest Rates, CGAP, World Bank, November 2002.
The first two or three pages and last two pages are most important. The middle section
reviews a number of different interest rates calculations. I'd skip that.
ResponsAbility, The Social Impact of Microfinance and How to Measure It.
Epstein and Smith, The Ugly Side of Micro-Lending, Business Week, December 24, 2007.
Jonathan Morduch, The Microfinance Schism, Harvard Institute for International Development
Discussion paper 626, February 1998
Week 13 - Green banking
Tim Wilson, "No Really - What are the 'Equator Principles'?" (Review - Institute of Public
Affairs, July 2007)
Ute Collier, Banks & Dams - beyond the Equator Principles, World Wildlife Federation 2003.
Week 14 - Alternative Measures of GDP
Clifford Cobb, Ted Halstead, and Jonathan Rowe, "If the GDP is Up, Why is America Down?"
The Atlantic Magazine, October 1995.
Economist - Grossly Distorted Picture, February 9, 2006
Andrew Revkin, A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom The New York
Times, October 4, 2005
John Talberth, Clifford Cobb and Noah Slattery, The Genuine Progress Indicator: A Tool for
Sustainable Development, Redefining Progress 2006.