About Sustainable Business by Discipline

Triple Bottom Line

The theory and practice of sustainable business recognizes that the economy, environment, and society (the triple bottom line) are interconnected and interdependent, and strive to enhance the business model so that it can flourish and thrive to benefit future generations.

  • Economy (Economic) – Economies need human, financial, manufactured, and natural capital. A sustainable business operates through a triple bottom line perspective.
  • Environment (Natural) – Natural resources are the world's stocks of natural assets, which include air, water, soil, geology, and all living things, and serve as the basis for human economic activity. Business has a responsibility to protect ecosystems, which make human life possible, and to prevent and clean up pollution.
  • Society (Social) – Business has a responsibility within communities to support and enhance human well-being, equity, ethical actions and operations, quality of life, and the maintenance and care of cultural resources.

Disclipline-Specific Definitions

The Walker College's Curriculum and Faculty Development Committee developed discipline-specific definitions of the relevance of sustainability on their respective fields of study.  


Accounting is relevant to the concept of sustainability primarily in the measurement and reporting of an organization's environmental, social, and economic impacts (or performance). The only way to become a more sustainable entity (and improve sustainability performance) is to benchmark a starting point, and measure progress towards sustainability-related goals. Accounting is the means in which an organization's impacts are measured, managed, and reported. It is only possible to manage activities if they are measured. What doesn't get measured doesn't get managed or improved.

Computer Information Systems

Computer Information Systems (CIS) supports the goals of Sustainability in three primary ways. 1) CIS enables digital automation and flow of information which enhances business efficiency. 2) CIS facilitates data analytics necessary for sustainable measurements and the elimination of business process wastes in firms, supply chains, industries, and nations. 3) CIS promotes the proper life-cycle management and end-of-life disposal of information and communications technology (ICT), e-waste, which is growing exponentially and has global estimates as high as 70 million tons annually.


Economics explores the efficient allocation of environmental and natural resources through benefit-cost analysis, manages the tradeoffs between economic activity and environmental quality with policy instruments and develops an understanding of the conservation of natural resources over time.

Finance and Banking

Finance ensures all recources are used efficiently, including financial, real and human assets.


Management focuses on the strategic, entrepreneurial, human resource, international, and tourism aspects of sustainable business. Topics include: Social entrepreneurship and sustainability entrepreneurship, sustainable tourism, sustainable business as a differentiation/innovation business strategy, sustainable human resource management, the relevance of stakeholder models, b corps and certified b corps, employee cooperatives and non-profits, biomimicry, step model, natural capitalism, sustainability balanced scorecards, sustainable business history, social justice and management, domestic and international corporate social responsibility (CSR) and business ethics.


Topics in marketing related to sustainability are consumer behavior, sustainable marketing mix (including strategic decisions which guides thinking regarding generation of innovation, design and new ideas for new products in New Product Development, channels of distribution and logistics, pricing and communications) and assessing the value chain from procurement of resources to responsible disposition of waste.

Risk Management and Insurance

Connection to Sustainability – Identifying and evaluating risk management options to create sustainable communities and resilient organizations. Private and government insurance programs are critical to rebuilding communities following natural disasters and enhancing social resiliency.

Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management (SCM) sustainability is "the design, control, and operation of a system to maximize value creation over the entire life-cycle of the product with the dynamic recovery of value from different types and volumes of returns over time." Sustainable SCM practices promote "cradle to grave" or "life cycle assessment and management" of products and "extended producer" and "closed loop" supply chain responsibilities. These concepts seek to: 1) maximize value recovery at different life-cycle stages and especially end of life disposition, 2) improve product reparability to minimize waste, and 3) life-cycle extension so that products stay in use longer.