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Appalachian’s Walker College of Business to offer sustainable business minor

BOONE—The Department of Management in the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University will offer a sustainable business minor to meet a growing demand in industry for businesses to be more environmentally and socially responsible.

The minor, available to business and non-business majors, will be offered beginning this fall. It will provide students with a comprehensive foundation in the ways that business and sustainability intersect.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently found that 75 percent of large firms surveyed were engaged in sustainability activities, twice as many as three years before. Most companies had a person or team dedicated to sustainable practices, with – as noted by the New York Times – an increasing number of “chief sustainability officers” in upper management guiding vendor and customer partnerships, product research and advertising.

Appalachian aims to help meet the industry need through graduates who possess a foundation in sustainable business decision-making, which will help companies lower input costs, manage risks, comply with increasing regulations and engage employees and customers who expect organizations to be environmentally and socially responsible.

Students in Appalachian’s 18-hour minor will acquire knowledge and skills needed to design and manage businesses to promote environmental quality, minimize needed resources, promote healthy communities and increase long-term effectiveness.

Required courses will include sustainable business theory and practice, principles of sustainable development, creativity and design, environmental and resource economics, change management or social entrepreneurship.

Students may choose from electives including business ethics, cost accounting, political ecology and sustainability, environmental politics, environmental justice and sustainability, supply chain management, collective behavior and social change and society and technology.

Teaching faculty will include Drs. Robin Byerly, Rick Cotton, Heather Dixon-Fowler, Mark Lewis and Jim Westerman from the Department of Management, in addition to faculty throughout the Walker College of Business, the Department of Sustainable Development, and other faculty who have an expertise in sustainability.

Westerman is a sustainability fellow at Appalachian, a position through which he works to strengthen the university’s sustainability efforts by engaging in the development, support and encouragement of new initiatives related to sustainability.

In addition to the new minor, the Department of Management also offers minors in human resource management and entrepreneurship.

Interested students should consult with their advisor. Students wishing to pursue one of these minors must officially change to a 2014-15 or later catalog and must meet all requirements in that catalog. These minors are not available to students following catalogs prior to 2014-15.