Sustainable Business Operations
Prof. Mark E. Ferris
• Guest Speaker Dr. Ben de Foy
– Cambridge University
– Dept. Earth and Atmospheric Science SLU
Evidence for Climate Change
Discussion of “What is Sustainability?”
How do we know what we know?
Science: Theory and Empiricism
• Students should be able to develop writing skills that are
essential to critical thinking.
• Students should be able to interpret theoretical texts and be
able to communicate their developing ideas to their peers.
• Students should be able to construct a coherent argument
and support it with evidence which will allow them to
participate in class discussions and debates.
• Students should be able to understand, appreciate and
constructively criticize multiple perspectives, including
What is Sustainability?
Discuss your definitions of sustainability
Report out similarities
Report out differences
Ray Anderson TED talk – Business Logic
What is the Business Motivation
Efficiency and reduce costs (WalMart)
Sell “Green Products” (GE)
Get the Sustainability “Glow” (WalMart)
Regulations (Pollution Laws)
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
How do we know what we
• What is the question?
– Collecting clues by gathering evidence
– Investigating relationships
– Finding patterns
– Considering possibilities – models and
– Drawing conclusions or inferences
Cause and Effect
Cause and effect is tricky
It’s a matter of evidence
How much is enough?
The case of “Smoking and Lung Cancer”
Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne,
University of Chicago.
Why Evolution is True
Evolution is only a theory – Pres. Reagan
Is there something wrong with a theory?
In everyday parlance it means a “guess”
In science it means something very different
• “It is a statement of what are held to be the general laws,
principles, or causes of something known or observed” e.g
“theory of gravity” or “theory of relativity”
• A theory is much more than speculation; it’s a well thought
out set of propositions that explains facts about the real
Why Evolution is True (cont.)
• The theory of evolution is much more than saying that “evolution
happened,” rather it is an extensively documented set of principles that
explains how and why evolution happened.
• For a theory to be considered scientific it must be testable and make
• We must be able to make observations about the real world that either
support it or disprove it.
• A theory is only considered “true” after its assertions and predictions
are tested over and over again, and confirmed repeatedly
• A theory only become “true” when the evidence in its favor becomes
overwhelming and all “reasonable” people accept it.
• This does not mean that a “true” theory will be never be falsified
• All scientific “truth” is subject to change in light of new compelling
The Public’s View
• What is American’s view of the environment
• Different Countries have differing views on
• Read through Gilbert Metcalf’s “Market Based
Policy Options to Control US GHG”
• Write a 2 page paper summarizing the case for
climate change and the key aspects of the
• Write a 1 page speaker review paper.
• Begin developing your strategy for creating the
“The Business Case for Sustainability” video.