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Darla Moore School of Business

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Ensuring a sustainable future

Moore School courses, research follow a sustainability road map

Tied in with corporate social responsibility (CSR), sustainability is a hot topic in business. Globally, companies are integrating sustainability into their corporate strategy, recognizing the potential opportunities for cost-savings and risk mitigation, and working towards lofty social and environmental goals through their products and services. Due to the significant impact that companies can have, positive as well as negative, stakeholders are paying attention to corporate sustainability initiatives that extend well past CSR and have become a source of competitive opportunity.

Most company CEOs have identified sustainability as a top priority for their businesses. As an organizational priority, sustainability has implications for all functional areas of business, including strategy development, human resources, product development, operations and supply chain, risk assessments, market identification, communications, financing, investor relations, auditing and reporting.

Moore School sustainability updates:

The Moore School is preparing students to address the role that sustainability will play in their future careers. In 2022, the Moore School launched the Sustainability in Business Undergraduate Concentration, which can be added on to any business major.

The Sustainability in Business Undergraduate Concentration allows students to deepen their understanding of the key environmental, social, economic and governance issues facing society today. Through the program, students will learn about business challenges, risks and opportunities related to sustainability. Taking a multiple stakeholder approach, the concentration will give students the skills they need to critically analyze trade-offs and develop effective sustainability strategies. In the first semester that it was offered, 14 undergraduate students added the sustainability concentration to their program of study.

International MBA candidate Drew Gatch and operations and supply chain junior Addison Vaughn won the international Net Impact Wildfire Resilience Case Competition in summer 2022. Participants in the competition proposed innovative next-generation solutions that support forest ecosystem restoration, community resilience and economic opportunity in forested communities affected by wildfire.

Moore School faculty across business disciplines incorporate sustainability into their scholarly research. While the faculty research covers a wide range of topics including sustainable development, recent publications focus on optimizing nonprofit humanitarian services, developing environmentally friendly consumer packaging, reducing CO2 emissions in building materials, and maximizing electric vehicle benefits. A sample of recent research follows:

Priyank Arora, management science assistant professor

  • Arora and his co-authors published “Doing Less to Do More? Optimal Service Portfolio of Non-profits that Serve Distressed Individuals” in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

Kealy Carter, (’07 IMBA, ’14 Ph.D. marketing) marketing clinical associate professor

  • Carter and her co-authors published a book chapter “Energy Saving Materials” in the Handbook for Sustainable Concrete and Industrial Waste Management, Woodhead Publishing (Elsevier).

Mark Ferguson, senior associate dean for academics and research and the Dewey H. Johnson Professor of management science

  • Ferguson and his co-authors published “Strategic Production and Responsible Sourcing Decisions under an Emissions Trading Scheme” in the European Journal of Operational Research.
  • Ferguson and his co-authors published “Retailer Strategies to Encourage Reduced Packaging Adoption” in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Tamara Sheldon, economics associate professor, and Crystal Zhan, economics associate professor

  • Sheldon and Zhan published “The Impact of Natural Disasters on Domestic Migration” in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.
  • Sheldon and her co-author published “How Cost-effective are Electric Vehicle Subsidies in Reducing Tailpipe-CO2 Emissions? An Analysis of Major Electric Vehicle Markets” in The Energy Journal.
  • Sheldon published “Evaluating Electric Vehicle Policy Effectiveness and Equity” in the Annual Review of Resource Economics.
  • Sheldon and her co-authors published “The Economic Impact of School Closures during the 2015 flood in Richland County, South Carolina” in Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy.

Net Impact is a global organization that empowers a new generation of young professionals to drive transformational change towards sustainability in the workplace and beyond. The USC Net Impact chapter focuses primarily on responsible business and sustainable practices.

The joint undergraduate/graduate chapter at the Moore School achieved Gold status for the first time in 2022. Gold status recognizes chapters that go above and beyond in providing their members with opportunities to make an impact in their community, learn and grow as individuals and engage with the larger Net Impact community.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.