Assignment: Understanding the Triple Bottom Line

Understand the triple bottom line. Use Fish Banks, Ltd., an in-class simulation. Students operate fleet of boats and must factor in competition and supply and demand, while learning about the interrelationships among economic, environmental, and social factors. Integrating sustain-ability into strategic plans. Develop strategic alliances for sustainability (Borin & Metcalf, 2010). An engaging tool that helps students understand a key sustainability concept is the triple bottom line, referring to the inter-dependency among social (people), environmental (planet), and economic (profit) factors, is the Fish Banks, Ltd. simulation developed by Dennis Meadows, a leading writer in the area of systems thinking, and marketed by the Simulations Institute. The simulation requires students to purchase and operate a fishing fleet. As student teams operate their fleets, they must contend with natural forces, competition, as well as sup-ply-and-demand effects. Typically, student teams become so focused on making money, they ignore the eventual environmental and social impacts of overfishing. The connection between students' experiences with the simulation and the realities facing many industries that are dependent on natural resources, such as petroleum, food, forest, and water, is all too clear. In the simulation, most teams recognize their mistakes too late, resulting in bankruptcy, environmental catastrophe, and huge social costs (Borin & Metcalf, 2010).

Assignment: Learning About ISO Certified Companies

Identify the components of ISO 14000. Require students to select a company from a list of ISO 14000 certified companies (see,, or and interview (e-mail or phone) the person responsible for the certification process, focusing on questions about steps involved in obtaining ISO 14000 certification and the internal and external benefits of being certified. If relevant, the students can inquire about the steps the company has taken to ensure that their environmental labeling satisfies ISO 14000. Learning areas: Acquiring/requiring environmental certification.

A second learning objective in the foundational knowledge category requires students to identify the components of the ISO 14000 standard. ISO 14000 is a valuable tool, enabling an organization of any size or type to: (a) identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products, or services; (b) implement a systematic approach to setting and achieving environmental objectives and targets and to demonstrate that they have been achieved; and (c) improve its environmental performance continually. (Borin & Metcalf, 2010, p. 149)

Assignment: Understanding Manufacturing and Retailer Sustainability Strategies

The various manufacturer and retailer strategies regarding sustain-ability might be the focus of an assignment. Require students to visit a local store with adequate breadth and depth of assortment to complete this assignment. Ask students to evaluate a product category that has a significant number of environmentally safe products. How does the manufacturer promote these attributes? How does the retailer promote these attributes? What are the prices of these products compared with nonenvironmentally safe products? What environmental responsibilities do channel members have? Require students to examine the mission statements of businesses that are well known for their sustainability initiatives: Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, Body Shop. Also, ask students to look at companies not well known for sustainability, such as Chevron and IBM, and to make comparisons. Learning areas: General distribution tactics (Borin & Metcalf, 2010).

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