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IBUS4900: International Perspectives on Green Business (Service-Learning Course)

It is evident from the current societal climate in the United States that politicians and regular citizens alike have begun to take environmental considerations more seriously. Only a few years ago the United States was the land of SUVs and light trucks. Compared to countries in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, the US move towards a more enthusiastic environmental focus comes late. In Sweden, in contrast, consumers are adamant about protecting the environment, and both the political establishment and important industry players support and capitalize on these sentiments.

There is great international variation in attitudes towards the environment and in the level of adherence to sustainable ways of life both in the private and public sphere. The emission of greenhouse gas per capita (in metric tons) is approximately three times as high in the US compared to Sweden. The Japanese consume about 50% less energy per capita compared to the US. Denmark has a 180% sales tax on cars with tail pipes in order to speed up the migration to zero-emission electric cars, which are entirely exempt from sales tax.

The fact is that these pieces of information have substantive impact on strategic opportunities and competitiveness in the green technology sector – Japan owns 40% of the world’s patents in green technology! Sweden has a myriad of companies capitalizing on the country’s focus on biomass and other renewable energy sources. While the CleanTech sector is emerging rapidly in the United States, we still have much to learn from the overarching public policies and consumer behavior patterns in the “green” sector internationally.

This course will explore patterns and preferences in the realm of Clean Technology and “green” consumption from a cross-cultural and international perspective. It will incorporate theoretical frameworks and topics relevant to international business, for example lifecycle of industries, infant industry considerations, aspects of innovation management across countries, impact of regulatory challenges, international venture capital flows, as well as clustering effects. Different examples from the CleanTech sector will be used to demonstrate how these theoretical frameworks help us understand this emerging industry better. In addition, the course will explore cross-cultural aspects as related to “green” consumer behavior and to the marketing strategies of green products.

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