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Designing for Environmental Sustainability and Social Impact, Acumen+ Course

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    Profile photo of Craig Zelizer
    Craig Zelizer

    Creativity & Design

    Designing for Environmental Sustainability and Social Impact

    Develop entrepreneurial solutions that promote environmental conservation and address problems of poverty

    Course Details

    • Price: FREE
    • Start Date: OCTOBER 9, 2018
    • Time: 3 hours/week
    • Duration: 6 weeks
    • Sponsor: MAVA Foundation



    Supported By

    MAVA Foundation is a family-led, Swiss-based philanthropic foundation with an exclusive focus on the conservation of biodiversity. Since 1994, MAVA has played a transformational role in driving forward innovative conservation across the Mediterranean, West Africa, the Alps and beyond through its sustainable economy programme. Supporting passionate leaders and entrepreneurs working across sectors to address environmental and social challenges together is a key component of MAVA vision

    What You’ll Learn:

    • Explore opportunities for collaboration between social entrepreneurs and conservation actors to address environmental challenges and create social impact
    • Design solutions that leverage entrepreneurial mindsets to tackle environmental challenges, including systems thinking, circular design, and behavior change
    • Understand how to develop new products and services that promote a circular economy and meaningfully change behavior to conserve biodiversity
    • Make the business case for investing in environmental conservation by using the principles of “natural capital”


    This course will introduce social entrepreneurs, conservation entrepreneurs, and corporate intrapreneurs to the entrepreneurial mindsets and methods for strategically addressing environmental sustainability and social impact.

    The course will feature practical insights from Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy, Vien Truong, CEO of Green for All, and Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability for Levi Strauss & Co. You’ll also learn from case studies of social entrepreneurs and conservation organizations around the world. This hands-on learning experience is for any entrepreneur or social change-maker looking to deepen their understanding of the connection between biodiversity, poverty alleviation, and business.


    Format and Timing:

    • Team-Based Course: We strongly encourage (but do not require) that you form a team of 2-8 people to take the course with. It works best to find friends or coworkers who can meet in person. Need to find team members? You can post to the discussion forums a month before the course starts.
    • Platform: NovoEd (+Acumen developed the course. We host this course on the NovoEd platform.)
    • Timing: This course will be open for 6 weeks. You can work through the materials at your own pace during the time the course is open. There are no required times for you to log in. There will be suggested deadlines for you to complete each assignment. The final deadline is the final day of the course.


    Section 1: The Link Between Poverty and the Environment

    Section 2: Mapping the Socio-Ecological System

    Section 3: Circular Economy and Circular Design

    Section 4: Behavior Change for Environmental Conservation

    Section 5: Natural Capital and Making the Business Case for Environmental Conservation


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