Sustainable Business Strategy Course


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Sustainable Business can change the world. Will you?

Climate change. Income inequality. Social injustice. These are just three of the big problems of our time. In Sustainable Business Strategy, you will learn how businesses can thrive and grow while simultaneously playing a major role in solving some of these big problems. You will also learn how you as an individual can make a difference.

Through interactive online case studies with leading companies such as Walmart and Unilever, you will learn why purpose-driven firms perform well, and how they can kickstart the wheel of change. You will examine different business models and gain an understanding of the broader landscape including the role of government, investors, and customers. Whether you are just getting started in your career or are already an established professional, you will walk away from Sustainable Business Strategy with the ability to:

  • Understand/Analyze the business models that can drive change
  • Influence management, leadership, and other key stakeholders as to the competitive advantages of being a purpose-driven firm
  • Examine the broader political and social landscape in which you operate
  • Understand why collective efforts are important and how business can be a catalyst for system-level change
  • Determine what YOU can do in your career to become a purpose-driven leader

Program Structure For Sustainable Business Strategy

Sustainable Business Strategy consists of approximately 15 to 20 hours of material developed by Professor Rebecca Henderson and delivered over a three week period with a flexible program structure. There is no set time to log in. You complete the coursework, which consists of a highly engaging mix of short videos, multimedia cases, interactive learning exercises, and written reflections, on your own time while meeting regular deadlines. All course material is delivered through our innovative online platform. While there is no direct real-time interaction with the faculty built into the course, current and former participants may be invited to special events, both on and off-line, where faculty are present.

Our learning model centers around the Harvard Business School case method, featuring interviews with business leaders and executives from companies around the world who candidly discuss challenges they've faced or obstacles they've overcome. We ask you to step into their shoes and engage with your peers to work through these real-world business scenarios.

The case protagonists in Sustainable Business Strategy represent executives from leading companies including Walmart, King Arthur Flour, and Unilever. You will also hear from faculty experts working across the broader system of law, government, and finance.

Topics covered in the program include:

  • Business Models & the Business Case for Doing Good
  • Purpose-Driven Business & the Wheel of Change
  • Public Goods Problems
  • Collective Action
  • Business & the Broader System

Participants in the Sustainable Business Strategy are eligible for a Certificate of Completion from Harvard Business School Online. To earn the certificate, you must successfully complete all coursework by the stated deadlines and actively contribute to the vibrant learning community.

Who Would Benefit From Sustainable Business Strategy

Sustainable Business Strategy is for individuals who work at for-profit organizations who are interested in learning how business can effect change, and in becoming a purpose-driven business leader. Individuals who work for not-for-profit organizations may also benefit from this course, particularly those who want to develop strategic partnerships with for-profit entities.


It is free to apply and applications are reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, so early application is encouraged. All applicants must be 18 years of age and demonstrate proficiency in English.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Harvard Business School Online teaches vital business concepts in a unique and highly engaging way that enables committed learners to transform their careers, their organizations, and their lives.

Harvard Business School Online teaches vital business concepts in a unique and highly engaging way that enables committed learners to transform their careers, their organizations, and their lives. Read less