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NewEnvironmental Sustainability Leadership


Program Overview

Environmental sustainability provides compelling opportunities for strengthening your brand, reducing costs, decreasing risk, and improving your bottom line. And yet many organizations still approach “going green” as nothing more than costly compliance with existing environmental law, with perhaps a nod to values of sustainability as part of a compartmentalized social responsibility commitment. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that companies that fail to integrate sustainability into their core strategies will fail to maintain their competitiveness over time.

Environmental Sustainability Leadership will help business executives to move beyond vague and general views of sustainability toward one that includes rigorous methods for bringing significant long-term value to the organization and its investors in a measurable manner.

Whether you are new to sustainable business practices or have experience implementing and evolving sustainability strategies, this program is designed to enhance your ability to use sustainability for competitive advantage, to actively plan for future risks and opportunities, and to make a stronger case for sustainability initiatives to senior management and key stakeholders. The program uses innovative approaches to environmental sustainability developed by Wharton faculty in the disciplines of management, marketing, finance, law, operations and informational sciences, and professional ethics.

Environmental Sustainability Leadership is an offering in a business sustainability series that has been developed by Wharton Executive Education in conjunction with the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) and its supporting companies. For more information, contact Joanne Spigonardo, Senior Associate Director of Business Development, IGEL, at +1 215.746.3878 or

Co-Sponsoring Organization

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, is a global health care leader working to help the world be well. Through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, they work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. Merck also demonstrates its commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs, and partnerships. For more information, visit

Tuition for this program includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change. Program consultants are available to provide more information on course specifics and discuss how this program might meet your needs. Please contact them by e-mail or by telephone at +1 215.898.1776.

Impact & Experience

Environmental Sustainability Leadership offers a unique opportunity for executives to enhance their ability to lead their organization's sustainability efforts in manner that creates economic value and long-term profitability. It blends Wharton's world-renowned thought leadership with industry-spanning knowledge and experience. Using a combination of lectures, group conversations, and team exercises, the program's approach is both research-based and actionable.

The program provides business executives with greater understanding of the intersection of their role as leader and knowledge of the demands and rewards of sustainability practices. You will:

  • Advance your understanding of sustainability leadership through concrete examples of successes and failures and strategy frameworks.
  • Develop the tools and mindset for advanced stakeholder analysis that translate sustainability concerns into financial terms that top-level executives will understand and embrace.
  • Build capabilities for meeting stakeholder needs and demands and for creating relationships that translate into quantitatively estimated financial value.
  • Examine how sustainability connects with the broader issues of business ethics and corporate social responsibility.
  • Understand financial performance drivers of sustainability-related strategies for investment.
  • Reconsider legal and policy issues from an innovative and proactive perspective.
  • Review innovative approaches that other businesses have taken to achieve “win-win” objectives of both sustainability and profit-making.
  • Learn how to use social media and other emerging marketing techniques to more effectively communicate and advertise sustainable products and brands to key stakeholder groups.
  • Interact with other leading business practitioners of sustainability from a range of business sectors.
  • Develop a global network of peers and experts with substantive knowledge and experience relating to sustainable business issues.

Session topics include:

  • Strategy and Sustainability — Advance Stakeholder Analysis and Case Study: Learn how to drive the NPV of sustainability
  • Finance, Investments, and Sustainability: Understand how sustainable investing impacts the corporation
  • Business Ethics and Sustainability: Confront the issues of business ethics and CSR
  • Environmental Risk Management and Sustainable Value Creation: Study how to Integrate risk management into corporate strategy
  • Proactive Public Policy — Law, Politics, and Business Sustainability: Gain insight into how public policy is driving sustainable initiatives
  • Stakeholder Engagement — Sustainability Communications and Marketing: Examine innovative approaches for engaging stakeholders

Who Attends This Program

Environmental Sustainability Leadership is designed for mid- and top-level executives who are responsible for their organization's sustainability strategy and efforts, as well as for executives in other job descriptions who wish to broaden their understanding of sustainability challenges in a business context.

To further leverage the value and impact of Environmental Sustainability Leadership, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer one of two exciting group benefits to companies sending four or more participants to this program.


  • Eric Ortis

    Eric Orts, JSD

    Faculty Director

    Guardsmark Professor, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics and Management; Director, Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Corporate governance, environmental law and policy, business ethicsSee Faculty Bio

  • Bernard David

    Bernard David

    Learning Director

    Learning Director, IGEL Fellow, Director and Board Chairman, ReProduct, Inc.; Partner, Energy Management International, Inc.

    See Faculty Bio

  • Gary Survis

    Gary Survis

    Learning Director

    Senior Fellow, IGEL; Chief Marketing Officer, Syncsort Data Integration

    See Faculty Bio

  • Christopher Geczy

    Christopher Geczy, PhD

    Adjunct Professor of Finance; Academic Director, Wharton Wealth Management Initiative, Academic Director, Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center, The Wharton School

    See Faculty Bio

  • Witold Henisz

    Witold Henisz, PhD

    Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management, in Honor of Russell E. Palmer, former Managing Partner; The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Stakeholder engagement, political and economic reform, project managementSee Faculty Bio

  • Sarah Light

    Sarah Light, JD

    Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics

    Research Interests: Environmental law and policy, environmental dispute resolution, legislation and statutory interpretation, administrative law, the regulatory state, private environmental governanceSee Faculty Bio

  • Erwann Michel-Kerjan

    Erwann Michel-Kerjan, PhD

    Managing Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center; Adjunct Associate Professor, Operations and Information Management Department, The Wharton School

    See Faculty Bio

  • Alan Strudler

    Alan Strudler, JD

    Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics

    Research Interests: Corporate responsibility, ethics, moral issues in finance, moral reasoning in different culturesSee Faculty Bio

Program Logistics

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change. Program Consultants are available to provide more information on course specifics and discuss how this program might meet your needs. Please contact them by e-mail or by telephone at +1 215.898.1776.

Plan Your Stay


My company has recently started a sustainability initiative and I'm in charge of managing sustainability issues for my company. Is this program right for me?

Environmental Sustainability Leadership is targeted to mid- and senior level executives interested in weaving sustainability into their firms' business operations and management strategies. No direct experience in dealing with sustainability issues in a business context is required (though of course it is welcome). A strong interest in taking on a leadership role in your organization on these issues, however, is critical.

How will the content provided in Environmental Sustainability Leadership be different from what I might learn at a sustainability conference or seminar?

Unlike most sustainability conferences or seminars, the program combines real-world best practices with rigorous academic research. Nowhere else can participants be exposed to this type of world-class systems thinking forged by tough-minded, disciplined methodologies.

How will this program make me a more effective leader or advocate for sustainability within my company or organization?

Wharton Executive Education participants will emerge from this two-day program with a discrete set of skills to enhance their abilities to lead efforts to integrate sustainability into their businesses profitably. These skills will improve the capacity of business leaders to translate long-term sustainability considerations into short-term decision frameworks and financial horizons. A by-product of the program will be expanding your network of business leaders committed to addressing sustainability issues and discovering new profit-making and cost-cutting opportunities.

Will this program show how business sustainability can create economic value for my company or organization?

The only way in which sustainable business practices can themselves be sustainable is to have them benefit the corporate top and/or bottom line. Various sessions, including "Value Creation and Sustainability," will give specific examples of ways in which your company can tangibly benefit from the well-targeted efforts you put into sustainability.

I have a question that's not addressed here. Who can I contact?
For more information, please contact a Program Consultant at +1.215.898.1776 or by e-mail.

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