New Sonoma MBA Course Gives Environmental Sustainability a Seat at the Table

Graduate-Level Ventures Provide Direct Benefit to San Francisco Bay Area Organizations and Communities
October 21, 2016

Rohnert Park, CA - The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced that an innovative addition to the Sonoma MBA and Sonoma Executive MBA curricula, Leading Sustainable Enterprises, resulted in viable sustainability projects at area organizations since its launch in Fall 2016. The new experiential leadership course enables students to research, develop, and implement environmental sustainability initiatives at firms in the north San Francisco Bay Area, including projects at Ogilvie Merwin Ventures and Muddy Boot Wine, Kaiser Permanente, Petaluma Poultry, Sonoma County Library, City of Rohnert Park, Coaches Training Institute (CTI), Target stores, and Promise Energy, among other projects and organizations.   
The course is taught by Dr. Adele Santana, an expert on the effects of company orientation and industry characteristics on building and executing a sustainability strategy. Her research is featured in Business and Society Review, Ethics and Information Technology, and the Journal of Business Ethics, among other publications. She recently published the chapter, "Exit Strategies" in the book, Ending the Fossil Fuel Era.
"Many business leaders today understand that long-term success is driven by an organization's value system and its relationship to social and natural environments. Our students in their creativity and ingenuity have cracked the code on sustainability with projects that not only create value for organizations and the marketplace, but also meet a standard of social, economic, and environmental responsibility," Dr. Adele Santana, Professor of Business Administration said.
The sustainability curriculum addition is part of a broad strategy to align academic courses to social and global concerns of students, their organizations, and communities. Executive Director of Graduate and Executive Business Programs, John Stayton, leads the effort to infuse sustainability principles into the curriculum. He co-founded the nation's first graduate program in sustainable business, or "Green MBA", while at New College of California in 2000. Both John Stayton and Professor Santana recently joined climate journalist Bill McKibben with presentations at the 3rd SSU Annual Sustainability Days event.  

Additional recent faculty research and publications at the intersection of business and sustainability include The Good Company, by Dr. Robert Girling, Professor of Business Administration, and Crafting Sustainable Wine Businesses, by Dr. Armand Gilinsky, Jr., Korbel Professor. Dr. Merlin Hanauer, Professor of Economics, recently published two articles in the prestigious Royal Society Journal, examining and measuring the impact of conservation initiatives on societies and the natural environment.
The School of Business and Economics is also a primary supporter of the north San Francisco Bay Area's annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference, designed to educate and work with organizations to integrate environmental responsibility, sustainable business practices, and economic and social equity issues. 
For more information about student sustainability projects and the Sonoma MBA and Sonoma Executive MBA programs, or for information about other certificate and degree programs in the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University, please contact (707) 664-3501, email,  or visit