Saturday, May 7, 2011

Scientist Who Cleaned Beaches & Loyola Law Professor Team Up to Discuss BP Oil Spill @ ALSB ELSS Section Lunch

We're delighted that TWO authorities will be speaking at our section meeting, Saturday, August 13 @ 12-1:30!
See for details.
Prof. Sokol will discuss the BP incident from a legal perspective, including what could prevent a repetition.
Prof. Moosavi will describe cleaning the beaches and events since the spill from the perspective of a scientist.

Karen C. Sokol
Assistant Professor of Law
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Professor Sokol joined the Loyola College of Law faculty in 2009. Her teaching and research areas include constitutional law, torts, public international law (particularly international human rights law and international environmental law), and law and philosophy. Professor Sokol graduated from Yale Law School, where she served as Articles Editor for the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal and was a member of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. After law school, Professor Sokol clerked for Judge Carolyn Dineen King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She then worked as a policy analyst for the Center for Progressive Reform, writing a number of papers and articles on environmental and public health and safety issues, with a focus on government and corporate accountability. The year before coming to Loyola, Professor Sokol was a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center, where she worked with faculty members on scholarship about developments in international law in response to globalization and about national and transnational tobacco control policies. She continues to focus on these and related topics in her current research.

Dr, Sadredin (Dean) Moosavi
Assistant Professor 
STEM Department
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Dean's work straddles the border between the environmental sciences and science education. In the environmental sciences he focuses on biogeochemistry, climate change and coastal/beach processes in boreal and arctic wetlands as well as in rapidly eroding beach environments such as the barrier islands of the Mississippi delta and coastal Massachusetts. In science education his work focuses on the use of place-based writing and service learning to support geoscience education of undergraduates. He is also involved in the development and assessment of the various science education standards and their impact on the learning of science in K-16 classrooms.  Here's Dean discussing his student's work on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico: 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stay tuned: we'll have a great speaker at our August, 2011 meeting!

Looks like I won't be migrating content to my WordPress site (  In other news: it sounds like we will be hosting an OUTSTANDING speaker at our August, 2011 section meeting in New Orleans.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ALSB ELSS annual section b'fast a success

The ALSB annual conference in Richmond, VA was a resounding success!  The ALSB ELSS breakfast was likewise fun and informative.
Joel Eisen, our guest speaker from the University of Richmond Law School, described teaching as a Fulbright Scholar in China and some of the trends related to environmental law and sustainability in that country.  Our membership voted in favor of trying to arrange for an ELSS best paper competition and a ELSS-specific research paper presentation session at next year's ALSB conference in New Orleans.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Joel Eisen: Global Expert at ALSB ELSS b'fast: Fri, Aug. 6!

Joel Eisen, Professor of Law at the University of Richmond and globally-recognized expert on environmental law, green energy law, brownfielding and environmental regulation in China, will speak at the ALSB Environmental Law and Sustainability Section Breakfast in Richmond, Virginia on Friday, August 6. The focus of his discussion will be China: Environment and Sustainability.

To register, and for more information, please go to For more information on Joel Eisen, please go to

For more information on the ALSB Environmental Law and Sustainability Section, please contact

Christy Benson: Master Teacher Symposium - fun exercise on sustainable vs. greenwashing companies

Christy Benson of Elon University ( will present a fun example of an in-class exercise at the ALSB annual meeting this August ( In her words: "It's called 'Sustainable Business: Walking the Talk or Greenwashing'.... basically it's an exercise meant to help students decide for themselves which companies are making meaningful changes to become sustainable, versus which are making hollow claims for marketing/PR purposes."

Marya Cotten: Baruch's New Undergrad SUS Course Syllabus

Baruch College approved this undergraduate course syllabus this spring - see below for teaching ideas! Congrats and thanks to Marya ( for forwarding this syllabus!

Course Title: Law, Business and Sustainability
Course Number: Law 3____
Name of Instructor: Professor Marya Cotten
Department: Department of Law, VC 9-225
Phone: (646) 312-3605
Office: VC 9-217
Office Hours: [TBD] Please note you do not need an appointment during office hours. If the
Department of Law door is closed, please call me and I will let you in. If the scheduled times do not work for you, please contact me and we can make an appointment for a mutually convenient
time. I am also accessible by email for questions.

Course Description: “Sustainability” means the use of the planet’s resources in a manner that
satisfies society’s current needs without compromising the needs or options of future
generations. This course examines the concept of environmental “sustainability” and the law
and policy governing the operation of businesses with respect to their impact on sustainability.
Topics covered include sustainable business practices, relevant international law and government
policies, challenges and successes in implementation of laws and strategies related to
sustainability, and legal compliance, disclosure and risk assessment with respect to business
operations and their impact on the planet.

Syllabus: A week-by-week syllabus is attached to this information sheet.
Specific Learning Objectives: After completing this course, the student should be able:
􀂾 To define “sustainability” and discuss the different ways business has an impact on the
environment and have a basic understanding of the laws governing such impact.
􀂾 To identify an alternative model for business that takes its impact on the environment
into account in operating, developing and producing products, and delivering services.
􀂾 To analyze examples of global sustainable business practices and policies and discuss the
benefits and challenges of such policies and practices in terms of legal compliance, risk
management, value creation and competitive advantage.
􀂾 To distinguish legal requirements from “soft law” standards and industry codes, as well
as involuntary disclosure from voluntary disclosure requirements.
􀂾 To discuss possible legal, policy and market-based solutions to environmental issues
especially those resulting from, or related to, the operation of business.
􀂾 To analyze hypothetical factual problems facing a business with respect to issues of
sustainability and produce a written analysis of the business challenges and opportunities
presented by these facts, as well as an analysis of the relevant legal issues and how the
law may apply to these particular facts, and produce a recommended course of action for
the business.
􀂾 To understand the role that ethical and inspired business leadership may play in
generating profit while serving as concerned stewards of the environment and complying
with international law
BBA Learning Goals Addressed in this Course: The faculty of the Zicklin School of Business
has adopted seven (7) “Learning Goals” for BBA students. The purpose of these goals is to
create a common understanding between students, faculty and potential employers of the core
objectives for a business education. The seven goals, together with assessment criteria, can be
viewed at:

The following Zicklin Learning Goals will be addressed in this course:
􀂾 Analytical and Technological Skills: Students will possess the quantitative,
technological, analytical, and critical thinking skills to evaluate issues faced in business
and professional careers.
􀂾 Communication Skills: Oral - Students will have the necessary oral communication skills
to convey ideas and information effectively and persuasively
􀂾 Communication Skills: Written - Students will have the necessary written communication
skills to convey ideas and information effectively and persuasively.
􀂾 Civic Awareness and Ethical Decision Making: Students will have the knowledge base
and analytical skill to guide them when faced with ethical dilemmas in business. Students
will have an awareness of political, civic and public policy issues affecting business.
􀂾 Global Awareness: Students will know how differences in perspectives and cultures
affect business practices around the world.
􀂾 Business Knowledge/Integrative Abilities: Students will have knowledge of the basic
disciplines in business management, and be able to apply and integrate that knowledge
effectively in problem specification and problem solving.

Expectations of Students/Grades:
Assignments: If you are not in class when an assignment is scheduled to be handed in,
you must email the assignment to me prior to the relevant class period. If you miss a class, you
are required to get notes and other relevant information discussed during class from one of your
classmates. If you have any questions after you review the notes, you should schedule a time to
meet with me.
􀂾 Readings: Students must read the assigned portions of the text as well as any additional
readings posted on Blackboard or provided in a course packet. From time to time, I may
provide you with additional readings or give you in class quizzes or exercises on the
􀂾 Homework Assignments: In addition to the assigned readings which are essential for
classroom discussion, I will assign the following homework assignments to be turned in
for grading. (I will provide hand-outs with more detail on these assignments.)
o Movie Reaction Paper
o Mini-Lifecycle Analysis Exercise
o Action Letter to Elected Official or Businessperson
􀂾 Mid-Term Exam: As a general rule, there will not be any make-up exams given for the
mid-term exams. Mid-term exams will be given in class and are closed book exams.
(Exceptions for serious illness with advance notice to the professor prior to the time of
exam administration and written doctor notes will be considered.) The mid-term exam for
this class will be an in-class essay exam applying the theories that you have learned in the
readings to a hypothetical business case.
􀂾 Final Project (The Inspired CEO Proposal to the Board of the Directors): You will take
on the role of a CEO who wishes to make changes to the company’s operations which
will have a positive impact with respect to the environment and presents his/her
recommendations to the Board of Directors. I will provide more detail for this project.
There will be interim deadlines for this final written and oral project to ensure your
steady progress over the semester.
Use of Blackboard: Additional material, including specific readings, handouts,
problems, or exercises will be posted on Blackboard throughout the semester. It is your
responsibility to access Blackboard to retrieve these materials. If you do not have computer and
Internet access that allows you to reach Blackboard, please speak to me so that we can arrange
for you to get course materials.
Use of Other Technology: An e-mail written to a professor (like an e-mail to a boss or
business colleague) should be considered professional correspondence and should be written
accordingly. It should be in formal English, spell-checked, and have a subject line that properly identifies the subject of the e-mail. All e-mail communication from the professor to the students will be sent to the student’s official Baruch e-mail account. Cell phones should be turned off and put away during class. Laptops may be used but if their use becomes distracting, the professor may ban continued use.

Grading: Your final grade for this course will be computed as follows:
􀂾 Homework/Participation: (Movie Reaction Paper, Mini-Lifecycle Analysis,
Action Letter to Elected Official or Businessperson, etc.) 25%
􀂾 Mid-Term Exam: Mini-Case 25%
􀂾 Final Project: Inspired CEO Proposal to the Board of Directors 50%
Your obvious completion of the readings and thoughtful participation in class may be taken into
consideration in determining your overall final grade.
Students should read the Zicklin School of Business Written and Oral Communication
Assessment Criteria, located in the Syllabus section of this course’s Blackboard site. Students
are additionally expected to adhere to writing standards described in The Little, Brown Writing
Handbook, (10th edition) by Fowler and Aaron.

Required Textbook:
􀂾 Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create
Value and Build Competitive Advantage by Daniel C. Esty & Andrew S. Winston

Required Supplementary Readings:
Additional readings which are assigned and required will be located in the course packet
available for purchase for this course, posted on Blackboard, or are on e-reserve. These
additional readings include current news articles, business case studies, excerpts of statutes and codes, and may include excerpts or chapters from the following books (this list also serves as optional book recommendations for students interested in reading more on this subject):
􀂾 Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough &
Michael Braungart
􀂾 The Natural Step for Business by Brian Nattrass & Mary Altomare
􀂾 Mid-Course Correction by Ray C. Anderson
􀂾 Getting Green Done: Hard Truth from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution
by Auden Schendler
􀂾 The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken
􀂾 Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, & L. Hunter Lovins
􀂾 Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change
Everything by Daniel Goleman
􀂾 Stirring it Up: How to Make Money and Save the World by Gary Hirshberg
􀂾 Making Sustainability Work: Best Practices in Managing and Measuring Corporate
Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts by Marc J. Epstein
Additional Optional Resources: The professor will post on Blackboard a list of additional books,
articles, and movies which may be of interest to you, or may serve as a resource for your final
Recording Policy: There is no recording of class sessions without prior approval by the

Attendance Policy: All students are required to attend every session of their courses. If a
freshman or sophomore is absent in excess of twice the number of class sessions per week, the
instructor must give the student a WU grade, which counts as an F. The instructor may also give
a junior or senior a WU grade (the equivalent of an F) for excessive absences. The Registrar’s
office requires that students who have attended no classes before week 5 be dropped from the
class. Lateness will not be tolerated. A student who is more than 15 minutes late for a class
session may be marked absent by the instructor.

Academic Integrity: Students are expected to know and adhere to the Baruch College
Academic Honesty Policy, found at It states, inter alia, that
Academic dishonesty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Cheating, forgery,
plagiarism and collusion in dishonest acts undermine the college's educational
mission and the students' personal and intellectual growth. Baruch students are
expected to bear individual responsibility for their work, to learn the rules and
definitions that underlie the practice of academic integrity, and to uphold its ideals.
Ignorance of the rules is not an acceptable excuse for disobeying them. Any student
who attempts to compromise or devalue the academic process will be sanctioned.
I fully support Baruch College’s policy on Academic Honesty. Academic sanctions in this class
will range from an F on the assignment to an F in the course. A report of suspected academic
dishonesty will be sent to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Professor Marya Cotten

The syllabus below is subject to change. Any changes will be announced in class and posted on
Baruch College
Zicklin School of Business
Department of Law
Law, Business and Sustainability – [course number]
Instructor – Marya Cotten

1-2 The Need for Environmental Sustainability & the Role of Business
Class 1: Introduction to course/personal goals & attitudes re environment
Class 2: Overview of environmental issues (energy, water, natural
resources, pollution/toxic materials, and waste) and what
“sustainability” means
Class 3: Introduction to environmental concerns for business:
issues (risk assessment and management) and opportunities (value
creation and competitive advantage)
Class 4: Intersection of environment laws and business operations
[** Movie Reaction Paper Due**]
3-4 Re-Thinking the Way We Do Business
Class 5: The traditional business model & externalities
Class 6: “Cradle to cradle” design
Class 7: Life cycle analysis
Class 8: Case discussion: Herman Miller (or McDonalds)
[**Mini-Lifecycle Analysis Exercise Due**]
5-6 Taking Action: Implementation of Sustainable Business Practices
Class 9: Eco-advantage culture and legal compliance
Class 10: Example of eco-tracking: a company’s environmental “footprint”
Class 11: Example of implementation: “greening” your supply chain &
international legal standards
Class 12: Case discussion: IKEA (or Wal-Mart)
[**Topic Selection for Final Project Due**]
Victories and Challenges in Sustainable Business Practice
Class 13: Success: what has worked and why
Case discussion: Interface (Ray C. Anderson)
Class 14: Why environmental initiatives by companies fail
Case discussion: Aspen (Auden Schendler)
8-9 Regulations and Reporting (Legal Compliance, Disclosure and Assessment)
Class 15: **Mid-Term Exam**
Class 16: Environmental law compliance & business risk management
Case discussion: Chevron
Class 17: Environmental standards (ISO 14000, EMAS)
Class 18: Triple bottom line accounting & reporting (UN Global Compact,
Global Reporting Initiative, stock indices, and SEC policy)
10-12 Approaching the Future: Market Trends & Government Policy-Setting
Class 19: Government-based solutions: tax breaks, subsidies & regulation
Class 20: [Current legislative proposal]
Class 21: Market-based solutions: PPAs, RECs, green tags & emissions
Class 22: Third-party certification: international eco-labels
[**Final Project Research Outline Due**]
Class 23: Case Study: E-Waste regulations and policies
Class 24: Third-party certification: LEED
13-14 Your Role: Inspired Business Leader and Educated Consumer
Class 25: Call to action for business leaders
[** Action Letter Due**]
Class 26: Power of consumers & investors
[Additional day for oral presentations of final projects, if needed]
Class 27: Begin oral presentations of final projects
[**Written Final Projects Due in Class**]
Class 28: Finish oral presentations of final projects