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Life Cycle Assessment within MBA Courses: A Tool for Integrating Sustainability
Duquesne University, USA
Volume 7: 2013, pp. 95-130; ABSTRACT
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Risk Management Laboratory, is a technique “to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service”. This study explains the basics of LCA and demonstrates how LCA can be conducted and deployed to improve the environmental performance of products, and supply chains. This study is a synthesis of learning gained from integrating LCA as a managerial and strategic tool into MBA curricula over a five-year period. The focus here is on the application of LCA as an educational tool and would primarily benefit Operations, Supply Chain Management, and Sustainability faculty as well as MBA program administrators. The study context is set within an internationally top-ranked MBA program recognized by the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes which is also a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). The proposed project-based learning module describes LCA as an essential component of an MBA curriculum. The use of this module encourages systems thinking and cross-discipline collaboration to evaluate the environmental impacts of products and services. Educators can thematically align this tool with the concepts of Cradle to Cradle, The Natural Step, Natural Capitalism, and Integrated Bottom Line Reporting (and its predecessor the Triple Bottom Line). The proposed approach is flexible enough to be integrated into existing courses, and can be implemented with or without LCA software. Instructors can extend the proposed approach to a higher level through the development of this exercise on a larger scale as they contemplate inclusion of sustainability-based new electives.
The Americas + Rest of World
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