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ESRM 320, Marketing and Management From a Sustainability Perspective
In ESRM 320, we explore two of the four primary business dimensions: marketing and human resource management (* companion course ESRM 321 explores finance and accounting). Marketing refers to promoting, pricing, and distributing new and existing products and services that are aimed at satisfying consumers’ wants, needs, and objectives. Human resource management refers to developing, managing, and motivating human capital and resources.
Sustainability refers to integrating environmental, social, and financial elements in order to meet the needs of people today without compromising Earth’s capacity to provide for future generations. Integrating these three is called the triple bottom line. In business, the bottom line refers to net income or profits because it is the last (i.e., bottom) line in a company’s income statement; profits are essential because a business is unsustainable without them. Sustaining the planet over the long term depends not on one but all three bottom lines. We will explore the meaning and importance of sustainable business practices that respect and adhere to best environmental science methods and ethical social responsibility standards. The context for this exploration will be assessing data in corporate sustainability reports. Companies that trade on U.S. stock exchanges are required by law to report financial performance, but no laws exist for reporting social responsibility and environmental performance. However, in response to stakeholders many corporations voluntarily issue annual sustainability reports that provide information on the company’s environmental and social responsibility practices and performance.

Course Goals. ESRM 320 has two goals, which are to provide a context for 1) learning business concepts (through watching the recorded business lectures and reading the Nickels textbook) AND 2) hands on experience assessing corporate sustainability performance (through assessing GRI indicators using sustainability report information). The business learning objectives below in bold are achieved through listening to the recorded business lectures and reading the Nickels textbook (both of which are covered on the exams that comprise about 55% of the course grade) while the sustainability learning objectives underlined below are achieved through assessing GRI indicators using sustainability report information and the associated SPA quizzes and SPI paper (45% of the course grade). Exams do not cover SPA, and the SPA quizzes do not cover business concepts. Note that SPA and SPI are described in detail throughout this syllabus.

Learning Objectives (at the end of this course, students should be able to do the following):
  • Explain marketing, human resources, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability concepts
  • Summarize how a market orientation and commitment to sustainability can enhance customer and employee satisfaction
  • Describe how consumer markets are segmented, targeted, and products positioned to satisfy individual, government, and business consumers’ wants and needs
  • Compare techniques for creating value-added products, services, and ideas; valuing environmental and social externalities and managing traditional pricing; developing distribution strategies and “greening” the supply chain; and creating and implementing promotion campaigns
  • Define managerial and leadership styles and theories of motivation, persuasion, and influence
  • Summarize the human resource process of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, motivating, and evaluating employees
  • Describe Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework for sustainability reporting
  • Assess GRI human rights, labor practices, product responsibility, and society indicators to measure actual sustainability performance
  • Analyze real world sustainability performance using data in corporate sustainability reports
  • Summarize and interpret sustainability performance data
* Companion course ESRM 321 (Finance & Accounting From a Sustainability Perspective) is offered summer and winter quarters. ESRM 320 (Marketing and Management From a Sustainability Perspective) is offered fall, summer, and spring quarters.