Environmental sustainability has been defined as "a state in which the demands placed on the environment can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future." While this topic has, in the past, been confined to the areas of personal preference, politics, and theory, there is no doubt that businesses today need to develop environmentally sustainable practices and systems if they intend to remain successful and relevant in the future. While the earth's population continues to grow, the realization that we are all working with a limited number of resources will continue to affect how we manage those resources and how we make and market those products in the future. Environmental sustainability is a concept that covers every area of humanity, from how we live, to where we live, to what we eat, to how we create and manage the products that we use.
The concepts of sustainability and sustainable development date back to 1987 when the World Commission on Environment and Development published the report entitled Our Common Future. "They recognized the links between inequality, poverty and environmental degradation and were seeking a way forward for a fairer world with less damage to the environment that supports communities. Our Common Future, or the Bruntland Report, as it is also known in reference to its author, established the concept of sustainable development as the way forward for a fairer society, which looks after its resources." While for a time, environmentalism could be a topic of mere discussion, and even political debate, it has now so affected the realm of business that it can no longer be denied as a major factor in how consumers now look for "greener" businesses to support. Besides only looking at the bottom line, today's businesses have an opportunity to make wiser social, ethical, and operational decisions that could improve the quality of life for generations to come.
With the development of green technologies and systems comes the need for more well-trained professionals in environmentally sustainable fields of business. Some of the nation's top-ranking business schools now offer online Master's of Business Administration programs with specializations in environmental sustainability. With a high regard for sustainability, City University of Seattle features an online MBA with an emphasis in Sustainable Business. This 48-credit hour program can be completed both as an on-campus program and online through distance learning. This program, which features a total tuition rate of $32,544, offers courses like Marketing in the New Economy, Environmental Accounting, Environmental and Corporate Responsibility, and Sustainability and Business Opportunity.
Another trend-setting program in the field of sustainability is offered at Chatham University's School of Arts, Science & Business. Priced at $32,508, this 36-credit hour program reflects the school's high priority for environmentalism apparent in the 2014 opening of the Eden Hall campus, the world's first fully sustainable university campus. This Sustainability online MBA program "provides students with a practical, application-focused education that sets a solid foundation in business leadership while leveraging Chatham University's renowned educational strengths in sustainability and environmentalism. With this focus, the Sustainability track prepares graduates to understand factors, shape practices, and seize strategic sustainable business opportunities for the organizations they serve." The three required courses within this program include Sustainability and Assessment Reporting, Sustainable Supply Chain Management, and Sustainable Behavior Change.