Master in Environmental Studies
Graduate Diploma in

Business and the Environment


Program Description & Requirements

The FES Perspectives on Business

Schulich School of Business

FES Green Business Courses

FES Faculty and Staff


B&E List-Serv

Green Business Links

Local Green Business Links


Program Description & Requirements

This collaborative program with York’s Schulich School of Business provides students in the MES and MBA degree programs with the opportunity to develop a more focused and rigorous approach to their studies in the field of business and environment. Graduates of the degree programs who also successfully meet the requirements for the diploma will receive a Graduate Diploma in Business and the Environment in addition to an MBA or MES degree.

Read the Diploma Guidelines booklet, outlining requirements.


The Environmental Studies Perspective on Business

Making economic enterprise more sustainable, even regenerative, is a prerequisite for achieving an ecological society.  Business is often seen, justifiably, as a source of environmental destruction.  Business, however, is environmentally important not just because of the damage it can do, but because green businesses are crucial vehicles to implement ecological alternatives.  “Business” is also not monolithic.  It encompasses the large corporate entities that define our capitalist society, but it also includes small businesses with very different circumstances, and also many kinds of community, cooperative, third sector, public, non-profit and hybrid enterprises.  FES is concerned with the transition to sustainability in the corporate sector.  But it is also concerned with:

·        the rapidly-growing movement of “values-driven” or “mission-driven” business

·        understanding the appropriate scale, form and content of sustainable enterprises in energy, manufacturing, agriculture, building, etc.

·        the nature of work and “right livelihood”

·        the overall rules and regulations that shape business activity;

·        other (non-state) incentives & disincentives in the economy (e.g. eco-labelling or green finance);

·        the new measures and indicators of sustainability, eco-accounting, etc.;

·        the role of business in “social sustainability”, social justice and community development.   

For this reason, the B&E diploma program can be useful to a wide range of ES students with various concerns related to enterprise in its many manifestations. 


Schulich School of Business

The collaborative relationship with Schulich is a great resource for FES students.  Schulich is an innovator in the fast-growing areas of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable management practices.  Check out the Schulich Business and Sustainability graduate specialization to see what our partners are doing.


There a two core B&E Diploma courses (for both FES and Schulich students).  Both are offered by Schulich, which is undergoing a transition under a new sustainability director.   Here are descriptions of the courses, with linked outlines of recent versions of the courses, taught this year by Schulich B&E chief Bryan W. Husted (Business Strategies, offered this fall) and Markus Biehl and Detlev Zwick (Management Practices, offered in the winter). 


NOTE: The core courses are, at the moment, only being offered to FES Business and Environment students in their second year because of new quotas on the number of FES students in the diploma program.  


ENVS 6191 (at Schulich BSUS 6300.03)
Management Practices for Sustainable Business

This course provides a detailed review and analysis of the environmental and stakeholder management tools and techniques used by managers. The course considers how these techniques fit together to form management systems and examines their underlying assumptions, approach and role in managerial decision-making. Techniques include environmental management systems and audits; product life-cycle analysis and design for the environment; social and environmental reporting; sustainability and organizational change and stakeholder approaches to management.

See more detailed outline here.

ENVS 5113 (at Schulich,
BSUS 6500.030)

Business Strategies for Sustainability
All organizations impact the natural and social environment. However, it is only recently that sustainability has become a strategic issue for business and its managers. For increasing numbers of companies, sustainability is now an integrated part of organizational strategy formulation and implementation. Through a series of 'live cases', this course is designed to introduce students to the critical strategic and managerial issues in developing, implementing and adapting strategy to create environmental, social and economic value.

See more detailed outline here.
Interested students are also eligible to receive credit for courses organized by the Jacques Whitford Training Institute on Environmental Management Systems and on Environmental Auditing, Legislation and Other Requirements.  The cost is $350 per course, and is not covered by York U. tuition.  Each course is a three-day intensive, given once a term.    Especially because the core courses are being offered to first year students this year, the JW Institute courses are recommended to be taken in the first year, but they can be taken any time in the program.  


FES Green Business Courses

FES students are strongly urged to take a basic overview course expressly designed to serve the needs of Environmental Studies students in the Business and Environment diploma program.  Perspectives on Green Business is intended to introduce students to a range of different perspectives on sustainability as applied to business, and provide a political/economic/social context for understanding the role of business. 

            Students have choice of a wide variety of FES courses which can be considered electives for the B&E diploma.  Because of changes at Schulich, the list of elective courses now found on the FES website is in serious need of updating.  For this reason, until such time as an updated list is approved by both faculties, students are encouraged to consult the FES B&E coordinator Femida Handy or Brian Milani concerning the appropriateness of courses that they feel have relevance to their B&E studies.  Newer FES courses on, for example, energy and the food system can be suitable for B&E elective credit. 

For more details on the Perspectives overview course, see:

ENVS 5150  Perspectives on Green Business

Here is a list of some other FES courses that constitute electives for the B&E program:

ENVS 6115           Ecological Economics

ENVS 6186           Theory and Methods of Environmental Impact Assessment

ENVS 6148           Environmental Negotiations and Mediation

ENVS 6114           Sustainable Development for Canada

ENVS 6599.030                                  ENVS 6599           Individual Directed Study – pre-approved by Diploma Committee

ENVS 6281           Consulting Skills

ENVS 6144           Action Learning

ENVS 5107           Management in Turbulent Environments

ENVS 6155           Program Implementation

ENVS 6190.030/BSUS 6980        Case Studies in Environmental Management

See the Diploma Guidelines booklet for a listing of Schulich and Osgoode elective courses.

NOTE:  The list of elective courses is in need of revision, but can’t be done until the transition at Schulich is completed.  If you feel a current FES course should be considered a B&E elective, please consult with coordinator Brian Milani. 


Program Faculty and Staff

For the 2008-2009 year, coordinator for the FES side of the B&E program is Prof. Femida Handy.  Other key FES faculty members in the B&E program are Brian Milani (former coordinator) & author of Designing the Green Economy; Prof. Peter Victor (on sabbatical this year), and Prof. Ellie Perkins.  New FES faculty members, like Jose Etcheverry (energy, climate change) and Rod MacRae (food system), are also vital resources for the program. 

Tiffany Lord-Weshah, Administrative Faculty Secretary, is a main contact for B&E diploma information at FES. 



Students taking the diploma must complete an internship, in a business or organization, with a focus on business and the environment topics, learning about business-environment inter-relationships, of at least 12 weeks (normally a minimum of 30 hours per week or 360 hours total). The internship may be paid or unpaid, and completed on a full- or part-time basis provided that the required time commitment is achieved. The internship requirement is additional to degree requirements.

Students are responsible for securing their own internship placement, with perhaps a bit of advice from Diploma Committee members.   (See Diploma Guidelines booklet for more details).  Our intention, however, is to eventually make the B&E program a clearinghouse for diverse firms and organizations looking for serious-minded interns. 

Special Note:  B&E Diploma students have until one term after they graduate with their MES degree to fulfill their internship requirement.  In this case, they will receive the diploma at the convocation for the term after they receive their MES. 


Research and Projects

As the B&E program develops at FES we would like to make our research relevant to green development efforts in the Toronto region.  This year Green Enterprise Toronto is prioritizing “State of the Local Economy” research  (local multipliers, local leakage studies, etc.); Green Collar Jobs and social justice initiatives; and work on a Toronto Interra Project.   Interested B&E students are also encouraged to consider research on campus sustainability and being part of the practical transformation of the York campus, including the HNES building. 


Business & Environment List-serv

FES maintains a Business and Environment List-serv for relevant green business, green economic and community development information.  If interested in subscribing, contact Tiffany at


Business & Environment Newsletter

The B&E Newletter is a means for B&E students (and others interested in green business) to stay in touch with GB news and with the work of fellow students—their research, internships, activities, etc.   It touches on all aspects of green business, but emphasizes topic areas that are under-represented in mainstream “corporate social responsibility” discussions.  B&E students are encouraged to contribute. 


Green Business Links

·        Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

·        Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR)

·        P&P-Friendly: Questioning Business

·        P&P-friendly:  Good Work

·        Social Venture Network


·        Bainbridge Graduate Institute

·        Presidio School of Management

·        Lowell Center for Sustainable Production

·        The Interra Project

·        Centre for Integral Economics

·        Guide: Greening Your Small Business (Greenbiz)

·        Sohodojo: Small Business Revolutionaries

·        Business & Sustainable Development (IISD)

·        Bob Willard’s book site: The Sustainability Advantage

·        Centre for a New American Dream, Business and Sustainable Production

·        Resource Renewal Institute

·        Redefining Progress

·        Corporate Watch Greenwash campaign

·        Fortune: Green Business: the Next Big Thing

·        International Network for Environmental Management

·        Program on Corporations, Law, & Democracy  (Richard Grossman)

·        Natural Logic (Gil Friend)

·        The Natural Step Canada

·        SUNetwork / Sustainable USA

·        World Business Council for Sustainable Development

·        Sustainable Communities Network

·        International Chamber of Commerce(ICC) Business charter for Sustainable Development

·        Institute for Sustainable Development in Business

·        Sustainable Business Resources from Green Owl

·        The Sustainable Business Alliance, Berkeley

·        The Sustainable Development International Corporation

·        Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI)

·        Business for Social Responsibility (BSR)

·        Canadian Business for Social Responsibility

·        Canadian Council for Human Resources in the Environment Industry

·        United Nations Sustainable Development

·        The Centre for Sustainable Energy

·        Centre for Community Enterprise

·        People-Centered Development Forum  (David Korten)

·        Ocean Arks International  (John Todd)

·        Earth Policy Institute  (Lester Brown)

·        Rocky Mountain Institute  (Amory Lovins)

·        Natural Capitalism  (Hawken, Lovins & Lovins)

·        Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, U. of Vermont  (Robert Constanza)

·        International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives

·        Center for Neighborhood Technology

·        RRI Green Plan Center

·        WWW Virtual Library on Sustainable Development

·        Green Clips (sustainable building)

·        Chattanooga Institute website

·        The Green Institute, Minneapolis

·        Shorter Work Time Action Page

·        Green@Work


For more Green Economic Links, click here


Local Green Business Links

·        Green Enterprise Toronto (a BALLE network): see its member directory

·        Toronto the Better (directory of businesses)

·        Grassroots Environmental Products

·        WindShare / Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative

·        Green$aver

·        401 Richmond

·        Better Buildings Partnership

·        Sustainable Edge green engineering and design

·        Breathe By Association / Liefhebber Architects

·        Sustainable Enterprise Resource Centre

·        Just Homes

·        Sunarts Design

·        HOK-Toronto Sustainable Design unit

·        Halsall Associates (engineers/consultants)

·        Arise Technologies (solar)

·        Daystar Energy Products

·        Generation PV (solar)

·        Toronto Food Policy Council

·        Centre for Social Innovation

·        Social Economy Centre (U of T)

·        Food Share

·        WOW Foods

·        Ontario Natural Food Co-op

·        Karma Co-op

·        The Big Carrot

·        Super Sprouts Inc.

·        Ecogenesis (organic seeds)

·        Birds and Beans (coffee)

·        Alternative Grounds Cafe

·        Merchants of Green Coffee

·        Miofrio! juice and java

·        Green Teacher magazine

·        AutoShare   

·        Fiba Canning Inc.

·        Urbane Cyclist

·        Corporate Knights (magazine of Canadian CSR)

·        Canadian Eco-Industrial Network (CEIN)

·        Ontario Centre for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA)

·        Ontario Environmental Industry Assn. (ONEIA)

·        Voluntary Initiatives Resource Centre, Pollution Probe

·        Ontario Waste Materials Exchange

·        Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO)

·        Battery Broker Environmental Services

·        Toronto Hemp Co. (THC)

·        Warren’s Waterless (eco-printer)

·        Toronto Dollar

·        Social Investment Organization

·        Summerhill Group

·        Drum Travel

·        Web Networks

·        Mountain Equipment Co-op

·        Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF)


·        Phoenix Community Works Enterprises

·        Artists’ Liaison

·        Alter-Eco Environmental Art

·        Earth Concerns Cleaning Services

·        Teddy Bear Diaper Service

· products for sustainable living

·        Vital Planet Health Shop

·        Midnight Illusions design

·         Sustainable Living Books

·        Toronto Women’s Bookstore



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