Educator Toolkit: Business and the Environment

by Kara Dunn

Inspire awareness and action for protecting the environment by helping young leaders navigate the relationship between business and the environment. April’s toolkit of online materials supports learning on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and the power of individual choices.

Why This Matters Now

April is awash in green as companies broadcast their sustainable practices and Earth Day projects promote a cleaner, environmentally connected world. The message is appealing, but incomplete. Exploring the relationship between economic and ecological activities is important to help young leaders understand how business decisions aspire to balance profit and productivity with social responsibility. Can we have a healthy environment and a thriving economy? Discussing fundamental concepts that clarify both perspectives – as well as our role in the process – can foster innovative thinking around this long-term challenge.


Business Journal
The ‘Green’ Path from Corporate Social Responsibility to a Brighter Future for All of Us introduces students to the concept of CSR through the lens of corporate initiatives and student perspectives. KWHS Conversation Starters encourage critical thinking about the authenticity of CSR and how activism can begin with consumer choices.

Lesson Plan
Sustainability as Good Business Practice: What is sustainability and why has the business world embraced it? Students record and discuss their evolving knowledge of this concept through a KWL chart activity, as well as learn about a young entrepreneur’s clean-oceans startup.

Hands-on Learning
Each year Reputation Institute, a global consultancy, identifies the companies with the best CSR reputations in the world. These are powerful brands that many high school students know and buy from — we’re talking Google, Walt Disney, BMW, Lego and Apple. Have students check out the list on and then break them into groups of three or four. Each group selects one of the companies from a hat (or you can have duplicates, if you prefer) and creates a video/media campaign based on one of the company’s most interesting CSR initiatives. They will present to the class, but don’t let them get off easy. Based upon what students have learned, encourage the class to challenge them on every angle of their CSR initiative!

Video Glossary
Provide an extra layer of learning for your students with our video glossary. Here Wharton professors define terms like: Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business.

KWHS Quote of the Month
“Businesses are the ultimate trendsetters, so I think they have the responsibility to get involved with sustainable practices.” — Jessica Ainslie, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

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