Teaching Idea

When discussing sustainability  it is interesting to acquaint students with various methodologies for evaluating organizations’ efforts. You can use the Lowell Sustainable Production Methodology or a Life-Cycle Framework (looking at sustainability from raw materials through to the end of use by the consumer).  You can take any company and have students analyze its efforts through either of these frameworks (I have used Nike, BP, and Nordstroms) because they are all from different industries and operate very differently. Nordstroms, for example, is at the end of a long value chain whereas BP is involved in both upstream and downstream activity.  After they have investigated these companies, I ask them to tell me what they would have liked to have seen on their websites to make their sustainable activities more transparent and understandable to consumers.

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