Sustainability & Environmental Compliance MBA Online

A sustainability MBA could be for you if you find value in things in business other than just profits. That is, you are also interested in a positive environmental and social impact. Business professionals with this type of MBA often work in large corporations that have dedicated significant resources to having profitable but sustainable business practices throughout their corporate facility structure. This MBA degree will equip you with the ability to maintain profitability as well as environmental responsibility.

What We Do

MBA professionals with a focus on sustainability work in maximizing environmental responsibility in their organization. Due to the increases in government regulation in this area, corporations can no longer drive up profits by polluting our environment. With this degree, you will will be responsible for maintaining the sustainability practices of your company or department. Some professionals hold titles such as Sustainability Manager or Director of Corporate Responsibility. You also could be an operations or general manager with sustainability responsibilities adding to their primary job duties.

Why It’s Hot

Corporations in America were not always good stewards of the environment. As they understandably tried to maximize profits for a variety of businesses, they unnecessarily damaged the environment. Bodies of water have been polluted with mercury and other terrible toxins, and the air has been polluted with harmful carcinogens. Today, the US and state governments have enacted much stricter environmental regulations to ensure that companies do not damage the environment as they seek to make more money.

Sustainable business practices are essential in the modern regulatory environment to ensure that corporations do not do harm to the environment. Companies that engage in polluting corporate practices receive a great deal of bad publicity and also can be heavily fined by the government. So, corporations place a premium on bringing in MBAs with a sustainability background.

Work Environment

Sustainability MBAs will most often work in a corporate office environment. You will in most cases work for a private company that wants to implement better sustainability practices, but you also can work for a government agency in a sustainability role.

How to Do It

To earn your MBA in sustainability, you will need to earn your bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts or in one of the sciences. Competition for good sustainability MBA programs is intense these days, so you may need to apply to more than one.

Many MBA programs may require you to do well on the GMAT or GRE exam to be admitted. There now are some online MBA programs in sustainability that have waived the testing requirement.

Online Sustainability MBA Programs

Finding a strong university with high quality credentials and a top online sustainability MBA program is easier than ever:

  1. *Online Master of Business Administration in Sustainability and Environmental ComplianceSouthern New Hampshire University – Do you want to learn about the many environmental challenges that are facing businesses around the globe today, and how those challenges have a great influence on business development strategy? Then this environmental MBA may be for you. This two year online MBA is designed for those who want to make a major impact in the world. You will take classic MBA classes such as accounting and statistics, but also classes that focus on ecological and energy related challenges. All of this department’s professors have extensive environmental experience in the business world, so they can provide both the theoretical framework as well as real world examples. Some students can complete this program in as little as 15 months.
  2. Online Master of Business Administration in Sustainable Enterprise – University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School – To succeed today in our highly competitive consumer and media driven market, businesses need to provide more than just the best quality products and services. They need to bring them to market in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible. This strong commitment to leaving the world better than we found it is good for business as it is usually appreciated by consumers. At this top notch online MBA program, you will learn how corporations can be responsible and profitable. You then will be ready to launch your own environmentally conscious businesses, and help companies to establish socially and environmentally friendly policies. Note that this is the top-ranked online MBA program in the US, according to US News and World Report. UNC is ranked in the top 200 of America’s best MBA degrees online ranking for 2017.
  3. *Online Master of Business Administration in Sustainable Management – Presidio Graduate School – This MBA program will prepare you to be a highly skilled, visionary leader in sustainable business management in any industry. As an environmentally conscious business professional, you will understand the complex and interdependent problems that define sustainability – from global warming to clean, sustainable technologies. This program combines intense, rigorous theory of management and practice with social and ecological awareness and sustainable leadership. You will be empowered to become a sustainable practice leader in your field so that you can help your firm become part of a more prosperous and sustainable economy. This program takes two years and combines both in person classes in San Francisco with online learning.
  4. *Online Master of Business Administration in Sustainable BusinessMaharishi University – This online MBA program from a premier liberal arts university in Iowa focuses on self sustainability, sustainable human resources, sustainable technologies, sustainable process improvement, and sustainable community development. When you start this two year MBA program online, you will be readying yourself to compete effectively in business job markets and to work with operational and strategic management partners. As you learn these skills, you also will enjoy quick growth in intelligence, health and personal creativity through this university’s unique consciousness-based education. This MBA program is a strong believer in lean management and sustainable business practices.
  5. *Online Master of Business Administration in Global Sustainable ManagementAnaheim University – This two year online MBA is strongly focused on leadership, social responsibility and sustainable business practices. This program will help you to look beyond just short term profits and focus more on long term gain in business by incorporating social and environmental costs into business practices. This program features six standard business administration courses and six green, sustainable classes. You will have the chance to interact online with your classmates and professors from around the world.
  6. *Online Master of Business Administration in Energy and Sustainability Franklin Pierce University – This two year online MBA will prepare you to take positions of high influence and responsibility to become an agent of change in corporate and community sustainability roles. The curriculum focuses on growing your knowledge in business management, leadership, energy and resource management, including how to manage food, water, raw materials, and renewable and non-renewable energy sources. You also will study conservation and exploitation issues, and be exposed to international energy markets and the need to manage these carefully. You will be provided with concrete, new tools to apply right away in your business career. Most students can complete this accredited sustainability degree in 18-24 months.

Pros & Cons

Earning an MBA in sustainability will offer you many opportunities in the global marketplace. Let’s take a closer look:


  • Sustainability is growing quickly in importance, given the increased government regulations and the growth of the 24/7 media. Jobs will become more abundant.
  • If you are already working at your company, finishing your MBA could result in a substantial salary increase.
  • You will be regarded as the go-to person for sustainability practices at your company.


  • Earning an MBA takes time and money, which can be challenging when working on a full time basis.
  • Sustainability MBAs are still quite new, and your skills could be of limited value outside this specialized field.

Financial Aid

Below are five MBA scholarships that can assist you in funding your graduate studies:

Career Paths

There are many exciting career paths opening up for professionals who earn their MBA in sustainable business practices:

  • Chief executive: This general area could involve a job title such as chief sustainability officer, environmental VP or possibly of corporate responsibility. Whatever your job title, professionals in these roles have a great deal of power in a company.
  • General and operations manager: This person works to make sure that 100% sustainable practices are used in everyday operations in a company, and that any new sustainable measures and techniques are used in the production process by all employees.
  • Industrial production managers: They plan, direct and coordinate all production activities that are mandated to product many manufactured goods today. These managers may hold responsibility for boosting the industrial product process and determine innovative ways to cut down on waste of resources.
  • Distribution managers: These professionals determine ways to cut down on waste and make moving goods from place to place more efficient and sustainable. This is a very important role today becaus transportation, storage and distribution use a great deal of energy and require extensive use of non-renewable resources.

Further Reading

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