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Assignment: Reuse, Recycle, Reduce

Identify the differences among reused, recycled, reduced items; understand what the product and manufacturer consequences are for each of these strategies. Ask students to identify and visit resources in the community that are designed to reduce waste. These can include recycling stations or programs, Goodwill stores, electronic disposal, landfill recycling programs, and composting. Explain how these organizations help reduce society's impact on the planet. Are there incentives for consumers to bring their products to these outlets? Perhaps visit a packaging plant to determine what materials are used to package and ship products. Determine how much preconsumer, postconsumer, reconsumed, or recycled materials are used, and investigate how the packager has redesigned packaging to reduce waste (Borin & Metcalf, 2010).

Assignment: Carbon Footprint Calculation

It is key for students to learn to see themselves as having an integral impact on how businesses respond to sustainability goals. A useful assignment would require students to calculate their carbon footprints using one of the commonly available websites. Most of these use similar questions and display the amount of carbon and the number of planets we would need to support our current lifestyles. Faculty may choose to ask students to do this at the start and end of class and describe what changes students made in their own behaviors that may have led to different results. National Geographic has conducted an extensive survey of 14 countries and its website allows users to calculate their given green index and compare it against consumer behavior in other countries: Greendex (National Geographic, thegreenguide.com/quizzes/index.mhtml ). Other footprint calculators can be found at Redefining Progress (rprogress.org/ ecologicalfootprint/aboutecologicalfootprint.htm) or Berkeley Institute for the Environment (coolclimate.berkeley.edu). Students can be instructed to identify the links between individual consumption and the societal level of sustainability and global sustainability (Schaefer & Crane, 2005). Students can be directed to understand the attitudes towards ecology in their society and what they might do as business people to influence those attitudes (Kilbourne & Carlson, 2008).

Human Resource Instruction and Sustainability

A human resource management course could aim to facilitate the development of environmental sustainability enhancing knowledge, attitudes, and skills through selection, training and orientation, benefits, reward, and career development policies and programs. Among the questions and scenarios to assess applicants' attitudes that might be parsed would be ones on corporate social responsibility and ethics. Training to increase employees' environmental sustainability knowledge and skills could be considered. Attention could be paid to enhancing employees' environmental change skills through planned career development interventions such as particular assignments. The role of human resources management in community involvement programs could be illustrated through examples of employee volunteer programs (e.g., neighborhood or river clean-ups). Environmental sustainability considerations would thus be suggested as an element for regular human resources attention (Rands, 2009). Students' personal environmental attitudes can be affected by their undertaking reflective assignments; for example, writing about personal environmental impacts (Meyer & Munson, 2005). Another reflective environmental sustainability exercise would examine toxic release inventory reports and/or superfund sites in their local area (Cordano, Ellis, & Scherer, 2003).

 
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