The Green Business Lab (GBL) is a team-based business sustainability simulation. It is richly detailed and realistic, with participants playing a role on an Executive Team of a company as they compete with other companies. The Executive Teams design, manufacture, and market a product and get back financial reports, environmental impact and energy consumption reports, and social assessments.
The company Board has directed them to measure performance against a triple bottom line. Immediately, a complex challenge arises; participants must perform multi-objective optimization for the firm. In addition to chasing profits, they must minimize environmental impact and enhance social outcomes.
Thus, they must stretch across boundaries to understand how decisions by profit-maximizing firms impact the environment and society. Every decision in GBL requires participants to evaluate opportunity costs and trade-offs.
The life cycle analysis framework of GBL is one of the most transformative learning aspects. Participants often think of the environmental or social impact of one, maybe two life cycle stages. GBL helps participants develop a comprehensive awareness of the impact at all five life cycle stages: raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, customer use, and end-of-life.
Further, the teams experience the impacts of environmental and social change on their decisions. GBL presents financial systems as embedded within the environmental and social systems, not separate from them. For example, in one of several scenarios in the Lab, sea level rises and disrupts the supply chain. And participants engage with stakeholders, including investors, employees, NGOs, civic groups, etc., to improve the outcomes of their decisions.
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