Sustainable Business, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Ecotourism


Course Description  Instructor  Required Readings  Lecture Schedule  Assignments  Grading Policy  

Course Description

Businesses and corporations play an important role in humanity's impact on the environment. Globalization of economic activities has created corporations with tremendous power and influence; Exxon and Walmart rank amongst the largest economies in the world. Recently, many businesses have developed and subscribed to a variety of “sustainable” business strategies, with the intent of both becoming good corporate citizens, and improving their performance relative to their competitors.

This course will look at current concepts in sustainable development, and take students through the strategies employed today by businesses in developing “sustainability” approaches to their own company. Students will look at ecoutourism in particular as a new model for sustainable business development.

Learning Goals


David Tetta, M.P.A., is a senior policy adviser with the Environmental Protection Agency. He has more than 30 years experience in environmental science and policy issues, including air, water, hazardous waste and Superfund clean-ups. Mr. Tetta is currently involved in a variety of strategic planning and information technology issues for EPA's office in Seattle. He has been teaching environmental policy and compliance at the University of Washington since 2001, and received a Teaching Excellence award in the field of Science and Engineering in 2006 from UWEO for his work in this area. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.P.A. in Public Affairs.


Required Readings

No particular texts are required for this course. Instead, a set of reference web sites is included as background material for each week's sessions. A 5-6 page summary (+graphs) of the readings will be provided for most weeks. If you would like to read the material in more detail, specific links to the web pages are shown in the schedule below.

Course Schedule and Web References

Topics/Questions We Will Explore Web Readings/Videos Activities/Assignments

Week 1- September 29

Course Overview

  • Overview of Course Syllabus and Message Board
  • What Is Sustainability?
  • What factors contribute to a sustainable or non-sustainable world?
  • What difference can you, as a student, make in this area?

Activity: Course overview.

Assignment: Message Board Posting (LOE-2-3 hrs)

Week 2 – October 4

The Importance of Sustainable Development Today

  • How is humanity altering our world?
  • What are the main trends we see globally? Locally?
  • How could these trends be made more sustainable? 

Guest Speakers: Sharon London, Education Director, Meg Johnson, Corps Menmber - Earth Corps, & Alberto Rodriguez, Toxics Outreach Coordinator, People for Puget Sound

Activity: Discuss Footprint Calculators

Assignment: Message Board Posting - (LOE-3-4 Hours)

Week 3 –
October 11

History of Sustainabile Development

  • What are the key events that have shaped the Sustainable Development movement?
  • Where is progress being made?

Field Trip to Sea-Tac Airport with Michael Lufkin, Senior Environmental Strategy Manager, Port of Seattle

Activity: SeaTac Field Trip


Week 4 – October 18

Sustainability Development: General Principles, Terms and Concepts

  • What are the principle aspects of sustainability?
  • How do these really work at the regional and local level?

Guest Speakers: Jason Scullion -UW Program on the Environment

Activity: Establish Sustainability Proposal Topics and Teams


Week 5 – October 25

Concepts in Business/Organizational Sustainability 

  • What tools an approaches are businesses using to become "greener"?
  • What companies/organizations are having success with these approaches?
  • What impacts are these having on the environment?
  • Which of the ideas could be applied at the UW or Ritsumeikan?

Guest Speaker: Sue Long, Environmental Impact Manager, Starbucks

Assignment: Continue Work on Sustainability Proposal

Week 6 – Nov 1

Green Marketing/Green Consumption-

  • How is our consumer society harming the environment?
  • Why are companies developing green marketing strategies?
  • What role are business leadership/intrapeneurs/employees playing in this area? 
  • Who are some of the leaders and what are they doing that works?

Field Trip to Seatte Steam Plant with David Easton, Vice President-Business Development, Seattle Steam Company



Continue Sustainability Proposal Development and preparation for Team Presentations on November 8 - (Total LOE 10-15 hrs)

Week 7 - November 8

Sustainability Project Presentations



Assignment: Message Board Posting on Green Marketing-Due Sunday, November 15 (LOE 4-5 hrs)


Week 8 – Nov 15


  • Concepts, Successes, Limits
  • Use in devloping versus developed countries
  • Country specific case studies 

Guest Speakers: Chris Fontana, Global Visionaries & Jake Hauupert, Evergreen Escapes


Activity/Assignment: Ecotourism business plan (Total LOE 10-15 hrs)

Week 9 –
Nov 22


Site Visit

  • No Web readings for this week.



Activity: Continue to work on Ecotourism project evaluations.

Week 10 – Nov 29

Student Ecotourism Evaluations


Week 11 – Dec 6

Comparison of US & Japanese Sustainability Efforts

Guest Speaker: Hiroshi Fujita, University of Washington

  • Web readings to be provided.




Weekly Readings - You will be assigned weekly web site readings. In addition, I for most weeks I will be assignming a reading packet for you to review that summarizes the web readings. (LOE for each weekly reading packet - 4-5 hrs).

Postings to class Message Board: For most weeks of the class, discussion questions will be posted to the GoPost message board, and you will be required to post 3-4 paragraph responses. Postings should be done by the Sunday after the week in which they are assigned.

Sustainability Project - You will work in teams to develop a sustainability project oriented toward improving an aspect of sustainability on the UW or Ritsumeikan campus and present a 15-20 minute presentation of your plan to the class.

Ecotyourism Business Plan : Based on guidance that will be given in class, you will work in groups to develop an Ecotourism plan. You will also prepare and present a 15-20 minute presentation of your plan to the class.

Grading Policy

Grading and feedback will be provided for the following areas; each is worth 25% of your grade:

Grading Criteria for Class Participation and Message Board Postings

Grading criteria for Class Presentations