Managing for Sustainability at the Telfer School of Management

Solar panel

Orchestrating a sustainable balance among the often-competing objectives of the triple bottom line (people, profits, environment) requires an interdisciplinary approach, involving environmental scientists, social scientists, and economists. Management is the systemic thread that pulls these diverse academic communities together in pursuit of the triple bottom line.

The Telfer School of Management is particularly well positioned for this task because of its multipronged approach to integrate sustainability in various aspects of its research, teaching and service activities.

As an AACSB-accredited business school, Telfer conforms to AACSB’s Principles for Responsible Management Education and even goes beyond. As a witness to its commitment to sustainability, the School was recently ranked in the top 10 in sustainability in the Corporate Knights’ annual survey of business schools across Canada.

Courses in sustainability permeate our programs both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As examples, the Telfer undergraduate programs integrate sustainability into multiple courses and offer classes in the Social Context of Business, Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility. MBA students can choose between three electives in sustainability. Extra-curricular activities such as the Sustainable Strategy student competition hosted by the School provides students with a broader exposure to the issues.

The Telfer School of Management is also well embedded in local networks of expertise both on campus with the Institute on the Environment and the Sustainable Prosperity think tank and across the city with access to the annual Ottawa-based Canadian Cleantech summit and the Algonquin's Community Corporate Social Responsibility conference.

Areas of Research Expertise

Telfer researchers involved in the Responsible Management field are presently conducting research that spans three main areas described below. Further information on their expertise and interest can be found in the Responsible Management section of the Telfer School of Management professor directory.

1. Energy Use and Climate Change

This research addresses both mitigation and adaptation approaches to climate change. Mitigation involves investigation of ways in which energy use can be reduced or switched to a different time of day so as to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from energy consumption and electric power generation. Adaptation involves coping with the effects of climate change that are already affecting. Current projects include:

  • Location and scheduling of datacenters to reduce emissions from electric power generation;
  • Policy analysis for management of Canada’s coastal communities, fisheries and aquaculture.

2. Sustainable Management

Sustainable Management is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the triple-bottom line. Researchers investigate questions about how organizations could, both separately and collaboratively, achieve a sustainable balance among profit, social needs, and environmental needs. Current projects include:

  • Analysis of pricing differentials between new products and products that use post-consumer content;
  • Managing human resources and cross-cultural collaboration in international sustainable development projects and NGOs;
  • The impact of entrepreneurial orientation and other factors on SMEs’ sustainability and development of sustainability measurement scales for SMEs;
  • Designing a sustainable business model for managing a wireless telehealth network in rural Peru.

3. Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable Marketing addresses a range of sustainability issues related to promotion, pricing, product design and development, and distribution. Current projects include:

  • Study of various issues and concerns related to green products/organic food/local food consumer behavior, plus the development of sustainable marketing strategies and models;
  • Identifying and analyzing the marketing strategies that are most often utilized and are most effective in achieving financial self sufficiency in social entrepreneurship organizations.