Sustainability in Law and Business

  • Typically offered every other year


Sustainability in Law and Business - Professor Amy Bushaw

  • Course Type: Highly Specialized
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: 20
  • Description: Although difficult to define precisely, the concept of sustainability describes a way of meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to likewise meet their requirements. In addition to its environmental aspects, sustainability also often encompasses ideas of equity and inclusiveness. Actors in both the private and public sectors have increasingly moved toward practicing and even requiring more sustainable ways of living, governing, and doing business. Lawyers are beginning to serve clients who incorporate concepts of sustainability into their organizational goals, and are themselves considering ways to make their practices more sustainable. This course will examine - and help to define - how emerging concepts of sustainability are influencing and influenced by the law and legal practice. Student interest and projects selected by participants will help to shape the course, but substantive topics addressed in the class will include topics such as green labeling and marketing; sustainable energy development; sustainable building and land-use practices; supply-chain sustainability requirements; socially responsible investing; triple-bottom line accounting and corporate reporting requirements; sustainability-related subsidies, tax credits and abatements; market-based environmental regulation; sustainability and government contracting; and sustainability and business regulation.

    Mirroring developments in the field, the class will have an interdisciplinary focus. Guest speakers drawn from practicing attorneys, experts, and members of the business community will provide course participants with a real-world perspective on current developments in the field. The course also may include one or more field visits to sites away from the school over the course of the semester.

    Students will work both collaboratively and independently on written and oral projects that explore the intersection of law and sustainability and elaborate on this emerging field’s key components. Students will work closely with the professor and class colleagues to refine their final work products, thus enhancing collaboration, research, writing, and oral presentation skills. The course is a three credit course, and is scheduled to meet in a single three-hour block. Accordingly, since there are a limited number of class sessions students should plan to attend and participate in all of them. Some weeks, the formal class session will occupy approximately two of the scheduled three hours, while the remainder of the scheduled time will be available for writing instruction, for students to consult with the professor, or for students to work with class colleagues on ongoing projects. Other weeks, particularly when guest speakers join the class or when there is a field visit scheduled, the class will occupy the full three hours. Students may elect to use their written projects to satisfy the WIE writing requirement, or may complete a Capstone paper with permission of the professor. Students should discuss project deadlines with the professor before choosing to complete a Capstone in connection with the course. Most students who complete a Capstone paper in connection with the course prepare the first draft during the fall semester and finalize the paper early in the spring semester.

  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: Papers
  • Capstone: Optional
  • WIE: Optional