July 28, 2020
The Moore School’s 12th annual Dr. Alfred N. and Lynn Manos Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business award winners were recently recognized for their efforts to introduce or substantially upgrade sustainability courses or associated coursework into national and international business school curricula.
While many of the courses reviewed take a broad approach of addressing sustainability issues that businesses face more generally or within a particular functional area, this year’s award recipients focused on areas business schools generally do not discuss in detail. With these new areas, they represent innovative courses for business students and provide valuable skill sets as students enter a marketplace increasingly confronting decisions on the corporate role as an agent of environmental and social change and how they manage sustainability performance, said Kealy Carter, Moore School director of Sustainability Initiative and clinical marketing professor.
The grand prize winner of the 2019 Page Prize is Andrew Hoffman, the Holcim (US), Inc. Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business/School of Environment & Sustainability. Hoffman’s Business in Democracy: Advocacy, Lobbying and Public Interest presents a unique avenue for businesses to impact positive environmental and social change. The undergraduate course focuses on the corporate ability to influence government and move sustainability policy forward. Using a distinctive learning approach, students write a case study and teaching note that outlines a key decision point as well as tools necessary to address the situation.
"There is not enough coverage of government regulation in today's business schools.,” Hoffman said. “We need to teach business students about a constructive role government can play to elevate government to its proper place in the market. Students are hungry for this content. One goal of this course is to teach students to think of corporate influence on government in general, and lobbying in particular, as a public service to steward a market system that is a fair, equitable and sustainable economy for all and not just the wealthy few."
This is the third Page Prize win for Hoffman; he previously was awarded the grand prize in 2009 and an honorable mention in 2018.
Providing another innovative approach to sustainability in business, Kenton D. Swift’s Sustainability Reporting course won an honorable mention for the 2019 Page Prize. Swift, professor of accounting and finance at the University of Montana’s College of Business, created his reporting course because companies are increasingly tasked with presenting their social and environmental performance through annual sustainability or corporate social responsibility reports. In addition to reviewing sustainability reports, the course provides business students a set of tools to analyze the quality of such reporting.
“The sustainability reporting course provides students with the skills needed to understand and analyze the metrics used for measuring a company’s environmental and social performance,” Swift said.
This year’s pool of submissions included courses being taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels in business schools across the United States and abroad. The courses covered a range of topics. Compared to previous years, there was an increased emphasis on the trade-offs and challenges that businesses face as they develop and implement sustainability strategies. Additionally, the Page Prize committee noticed an increased focus on project-based assignments, life cycle analysis, sustainability reporting, return on investment and accounting. Many of the submissions stood out for their current reading list, guest speaker series, visits to relevant sites and varied methods of instruction.
The Page Prize committee evaluated the pool of submissions based on course content, originality and ability to replicate across other universities and programs. While innovative approaches to relevant sustainability issues set some courses apart from others, overall course design, new approaches for conceptualizing sustainability, new sets of reading, thought-provoking questions accompanying the reading and clear descriptions of assignments were valued.
The syllabi and course materials for the award-winning courses are maintained in a searchable database for other educators to use in the development of their own sustainability courses. The Page Prize demonstrates the Moore School’s continuing commitment to promoting the development of sustainability curricula and being a leader in business education.
Learn more about the Page Prize. The call for submissions for the 2020 Page Prize will open in October 2020.