General Definition of Sustainability

"Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Elkington, John, "Sustainable Developmen - what is it?," available at, 27 May 2002.

Business Definition of Sustainability

"...Business strategies that are intended to add social and/or environmental values to external stakeholders while increasing values to shareholders." Reed, Donald J., CFA (December 2001), "Stalking the Elusive Business Case for Corporate Sustainability, Sustainable Enterprise Perspectives, World Resource Institute.

The Environment in Economic Terms

"The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment. All economic activity is dependent upon that environment and its underlying resource base of forests, water, air soil and minerals. When the environment is finally forced to file for bankruptcy because its resource base has been polluted, degraded, decapitated and irretrievably compromised, the economy goes into bankruptcy with it. The economy is after all, just a subset with the ecological system." Gaylord Nelson with Susan Campbell and Paul Wozniak.Beyond Earth Day Fulfilling the Promise. University of Wisconsin Press. 2002.

The Triple Bottom Line

The harmony of economic prosperity, environmental resource preservation & pollution prevention, and society well-being and equity.


Shown above is a depiction of the Triple Bottom Line in which the economy is a sub-set of society, which is a sub-set of the environment.


Business and Sustainability

  • Explaining the Triple bottom line and the need for business to incorporate the affect of every business decision made on the environment, society and the bottom line.
  • The marketing of sustainability to and through businesses, grass roots organizations, NGOs, religious groups, cities, politicians, government, individuals, etc.
  • Sustainability and marketing - changing the marketing paradigm
  • Consumerism - searching for a more sustainable model
  • Materialism
  • Bringing sustainability to small and medium size businesses
  • China and sustainability during these times of rapid economy development and growth


Education and Sustainability

  • Fighting to Infuse sustainability into the College curriculum
  • Education faculty on sustainability and how to infuse sustainability into their courses
  • Pushing the faculty and administration of the Kania School of Management to educate future managers in sustainability

"There remains a distinct "disconnect" between the kind of sustainability training that business leaders are asking for, and what MBA programs are actually delivering." Report: Beyond Grey Pinstripes, 2003.

  • Educating anyone who will listen on sustainability
  • Infusing sustainability into all of the courses I teach and developing new courses that focus on sustainability

The University of Scranton campus and sustainability

  • Fighting to make sustainability a main focus on campus, i.e. part of the strategic plan with and allocated budget
  • Actively pursuing sustainability on campus through the Sustainability Task Force
  • Giving presentations on sustainability
  • Educating students on sustainability


Scholarly work and conference presentation

  • Cann, Cynthia W. and Natalya M. Parente Boock (2006). "Is CSR Reporting Just Reputation Assurance or is There More to It?" International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 1, 3, 141 - 149.
  • Cann, Cynthia W., Michael C. cann and GAO Shangquan, "China's Road to Sustainable Development: An Overview," China's Environment and the Challenge of Sustainable Development, editor Kristen Day. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005.
  • Cann, C. W. and Cann, M. C., "A plan for Corporate Sustainable Development: Creating a Corporate Competitive Advantage Through the Combination of Green Chemistry and Strategic Marketing Management." 7th International Conference Towards Sustainable Product Design proceedings, Managing Sustainable Product: organizational Aspects of Product and Service Development (London, England, October 28 - 29, 2002).
  • Cann, C. W., Sebastianelli, R. and Cann, M. C. (March 2005), "examining Environmental Sustainability Efforts: A Preliminary Survey." Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Northeast Decision Sciences Institute. Philadelphia, PA.
  • Cann, Cynthia W. and Janson, Peter. "A Review of Environmental Accounting: Recognition, Manipulation, and Recommendation." Eight Annual Meeting Academy of Business Disciplines, Forthcoming. (Ft. Myers, FA, November 9 - 11, 2006)
  • Cann, Cynthia W. and Natalya Parente Boock (February 25 - 27, 2005), "An Investigation into the Relationship between Organizations that Communicate a Commitment to Sustainability versus Those that Communicate a Commitment to Sustainability and embed Sustainability into their Operations," The International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. (virtual presentation)
  • Invited Panel Presenter and Discussant: "Ecology, Environment and Development: The Role of the University," The Internationalization of Higher Education Revisited: The Americas In a Global Context, Thirteenth Annual International conference of European - American University Forum, November 3 - 6, 2003, San Jose, Costa Rica.


  • Cann, Cynthia (September 15, 2005), invited panelist, "A Panel Discussion on the Effects of Katrina from the Perspectives of Business, Biology, Public Policy, Public Health and Ethics," University of Scranton
  • Cann, Cynthia W. and Michael C. Cann (March 3, 2004), "Sustainability," Justice Club, University of Scranton.
  • Cann, Cynthia W. and Michael C. Cann (November 17, 2003), "Sustainability in a Global Context", International Education Week, International Center, University of Scranton
  • Invited Presented. "Sustainability," Parent's College, September 27, 2003, University of Scranton.
  • Invited speaker (July 28, 2003), Course entitled, "Wanted: Educators Determined to Help Save the World, One Classroom at a Time," Working Toward a Sustainable Future, The Center for clean Products and Clean Technologies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Cann, Cynthia W. and Michael C. Cann (September 19, 2002), "Business, Green Chemistry (GC) and Other Sustainable Practices," Secretary David Hess of Department of Environmental Protection, State of Pennsylvania, University of Scranton.
  • Invited Panel Presenter: "The Business Perspective on Justice," Panel on Justice, Trustee Day, February 6, 2002, University of Scranton.
  • Invited speaker (June 4, 2002), "The Strategic Approach to Corporate Sustainable Development," Baosteel, Shanghai, Peoples Republic of China
  • Invited speaker (July 25, 2001), "Marketing Green Chemistry Inside and Outside Your Organization," at a one-day conference on Green Chemistry: The Next Technology Wave, Portland, Oregon.

Courses developed that focus on sustainability

  • MBA second capstone course on Responsibility, Sustainability and Justice (MGT 501), which was offered for the first time spring of 2006 put in link to syllabus
    • Course Description: This Course revolves around one of the most significant and controversial concepts of the 21st century-sustainable development (SD). At issue today are concerns over globalization, expanding corporate influence and the huge impact that business has on the environment and society. Many corporations are feeling the pressure to become more responsible and are taking a leadership role in improving SD performance by focusing on the triple bottom line or the three Es: the ethical (including issues of social justice), environmental and economic impacts of business. In order to inculcate SD into business, a paradigm shift in the way that organizations do business is required. Therefore, it becomes incumbent upon the future managers of the world to understand sustainable development. The course will analyze and reflect on the relationship between SD, business and all affected stakeholders through case studies, readings, discussions, guest lecturers and problem solving
  • New undergraduate marketing elective, Sustainable Marketing (MKT 484), which was offered for the first time spring of 2007 put in link to syllabus
    • Course Description: This seminar course focuses on the new paradigm in marketing: sustainable marketing or "the establishment, maintenance and enhancement of customer relationships so that the objectives of the parties involved are met without compromising the ability of futures generations to achieve their own objectives", Consumers today are putting pressure on companies to be more responsible and to take into consideration the affect that their actions have on the environment and society. Although the bottom line is still important, companies are learning to develop, produce, market and take back products and services in new ways that include the three R's of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Sustainable marketing is an approach that is leading business into the 21st century and beyond; creating new opportunities and providing a standard for all companies to maintain a competitive advantage. It is critical for all future marketers to have insight into this new paradigm. The course will analyze and reflect on the relationship between sustainable development (SD), marketing and affected stakeholders through, readings, case studies, discussions, presentations, and guest lecturers.

Courses developed that focus on sustainability

  • In the spring of 2007, the MBA class of MGT 501 (Sustainability, Responsibility and Justice) took on the project of conducting a sustainability audit of The University of Scranton. For them, this was a unique challenge. A sustainability audit was something they were not familiar with and therefore had to investigate and learn about. In addition, the class faced serious time constraints. The class did an excellent job of collecting and analyzing data, and reporting their findings in a written report. They also did a PowerPoint presentation of the results of the study to The Sustainability Task Force who had commissioned the project.
  • The four areas of education, community, management and endowment investment activities were investigated in the context of the triple bottom line
  • The report highlights in progress The University has made toward sustainability by the spring of 2007, and points out ways in which the institution can further the sustainability effort - need link to report in My Documents/MGT 501/Final Sustainability/Report3)sp'07.doc
  • The class put a great deal of time and effort into project and, a result, came away feeling that The University had accomplished a great deal toward sustainability, however, there is much more the institution needs to do.
  • As on example, the class proposed that all students at the institution be educated in sustainability. Another recommendation is that at lease a percentage of the endowment be consciously invested in stocks listed on the sustainability indices.

Click here fo an Annotated Bibliography.

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