The business analytics program at Le Moyne strives to distinguish itself by making sustainability and corporate social responsibility a common theme in all our business analytics, statistics and operations management courses.
Corporate leaders are placing an increased emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility because their customers and other key stakeholders demand it. More importantly, though, is that the viability of these corporations depends upon it. The oncec singular emphasis on profits has been supplanted by the triple bottom line: profits, people, and the planet – the 3P’s of sustainability.
IBM’s Vice President for Energy and Environment Rich Lechner opines that even though new technologies will be important in creating a sustainable enterprise, the most immediate and long reaching gains will come through business analytics and optimization. Business analytics and optimization are the very essence of our program, and they create an opportunity for us to engage our students in deep and critical thought about issues that matter to them, their future, and the stewardship of the planet.
For example, in the introductory business analytics course, student teams manage mock fishing fleets and compete against each other to catch fish so as maximize their profits. Competitive profit-maximizing strategies will inevitably result in an over-fishing, leading to the depletion of the fish population and a loss of business and lifelihood. However, a collaborative fishing strategy where all teams agree to fish up to a certain level will result in greater profits and more importantly, a sustainable fishing industry in which the teams can continue fishing in perpetuity. This simulation exercise enables each participant to directly experience the results of myopic growth in profits without any concern for the environmental consequences until it is too late.
Students will still continue to learn the same analytical techniques that we have taught for many years. However, by emphasizing sustainable management practices for a better world through tangible examples, we will meet the desires and needs of our students: they want to contribute to the world. Sustainability and social responsibility are two avenues by which our students can make a difference, and we are confident that our current and future plans align to help them do just that.
The following are two reports published by IBM on the topic of corporate social responsibility: Leading a Sustainable Enterprise (pdf) and Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Social Responsibility (pdf).