Darden offers 17 elective courses that solely or partially focus on sustainability and ethical leadership/decision-making. Coursework includes tools essential for developing a successful sustainability strategy such as stakeholder engagement and systems thinking. Specific courses are below, with hyperlinks to descriptions. These courses also count toward the Innovation for Sustainability concentration.
Three of Darden's Global Business Experiences (one- or two-week academic trips to other countries that include classroom work as well as local company/NGO/government agency visits) are sustainability-themed:
In the following video, Darden faculty discuss the importance of sustainability and ethics in business and how they incorporate these topics throughout Darden's general management curriculum.
For-Credit Projects in Sustainability
Students conducting research electives and Darden Business Projects frequently choose sustainability topics, such as developing markets for recycled products, biofuels, microfinance, renewable energy, carbon trading and local food systems. Many projects have been Darden-focused, helping the school achieve its goal of being a zero waste, carbon neutral enterprise. Examples include:
- Zero Waste, Carbon Neutral at Darden: Recommendations for Sustainable Operations
This project summarized Darden’s carbon footprint and waste, providing short-term and long-term recommendations for becoming a zero waste, zero carbon enterprise.
- Making the Case for Composting at Darden
This project evaluated the costs and benefits of three different technologies/processes for composting Darden’s organic waste.
- Community Food Systems Project
In collaboration with UVA Architecture School’s Department of Urban and Environmental Planning, this study delved into local food entrepreneurship opportunities that help achieve economic development, sustainability, and health and supply chain security goals.
Darden faculty created the following concentration to help Second Year students develop a course plan:
Innovation for Sustainability
The Innovation for Sustainability concentration includes both courses and a required capstone project. The objectives of the Sustainability concentration are to: provide students with knowledge about the global impacts on natural systems from rising energy and material consumption patterns; to inform students of institutions and policy instruments that influence business operations; to expose them to innovative processes and tools available; and to provide guidance on how innovative sustainability practices can be designed to increase revenues and lower costs.
Clubs & Events
- Net Impact at Darden - Net Impact is dedicated to using the power of business to positively impact social, environmental and economic concerns across the world.
- Darden Nonprofit Internship Fund (DNIF) - DNIF is a student-funded program that helps First Year students defray summer living expenses while pursuing low-paying internships in the nonprofit and social sectors.
View the full list of Darden student organizations.
In the following video, students and faculty discuss Darden's approach to teaching sustainability, as well as experiences in mission-driven MBA internships and career opportunities:
For more information, visit the Mission-Driven Careers page.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact the following current student and alumni to ask specific questions about sustainability at Darden or in their careers. For additional contacts, please visit the Darden Student and Alumni Ambassadors list.
Julia James (MBA' 12)
Undergraduate education: Harvard University
Undergraduate major: Environmental Science and Public Policy
Role: Senior Consultant, Commercial Strategy & Operations
"The case method style of learning and participating in the Net Impact case competition have been good preparation for working in consulting. In addition, my
experiences in learning team and the classroom have made me more comfortable contributing in a team environment."
Patty Foglesong (MBA '09)
Undergraduate education: University of Notre Dame (MS from UNC-Chapel Hill)
Undergraduate major: Geological Sciences (MS in Geological Sciences)
Company: National Park Service
Role: Business Management Specialist, Intermountain Region
Current location: Denver, CO
"Darden gave me the skills and the confidence to begin making a valuable contribution to my organization on day one. As the only MBA on my team, I have unique expertise to share. As the newest person on my team, I have much to learn about the culture and history of my organization. Darden taught me to ask good and relevant questions as well as to explain new concepts to facilitate learning and collaboration within my team."
Will Teichman (MBA '09)
Undergraduate education: Washington and Lee University
Undergraduate major: Economics and Politics, Certificate in Environmental Studies
Company: Kimco Realty Corporation
Role: Director of Sustainability
Current location: Charlotte, NC
"Darden gave me a broader understanding of the elements that make a business sustainable over the long-term. I discovered that sustainability isn't just about checking the boxes on a handful of environmental or social initiatives — it's about making decisions today that will ensure that the business will be around for its customers, employees, and shareholders for years to come. The Darden experience — rigorous case prep, spirited classroom discussions, a tight-knit student population, and world class faculty — gave me a bias toward action that I rely upon every day in my work."