STS 488 The Age of Sustainability



  • Levent Kurnaz ( KB410H
  • Gulin Yucel (, Owner, Brika Sürdürülebilirlik

Lectures: WWW678

Office Hours: W 5, send us an email if you want either of us to be in the office for sure.

Sustainability poses the biggest challenge for our planet, society and businesses in the 21st century. It requires all humanity and organizations to change from conventional thinking to one where environmental neutrality is secured, social inclusion is enabled while economic prosperity for all is achieved. To do that, a systems thinking approach needs to be adopted by all societal norms, organizations and states.

Business has a major role in this transformation. Sustainability poses a risk as well as a challenge for business. The purpose of the course is to introduce relevance and significance of sustainability for business, considering progressively ‘greener’ corporate responses and broader sustainability challenges.

In order to give graduates a comprehensive knowledge of sustainability across multiple functional areas, this course focuses on the below topics, complemented heavily by focusing on latest discussions on sustainability, how to define opportunities and plan well for a transition and transformation of the business around sustainability.

Course Agenda:

  • Why sustainability and why now?
  • Sustainable Development Concepts
  • Planetory Boundaries
  • Energy
  • Waste
  • Stakeholders NOT Shareholders only!
  • Developing a Sustainability Agenda for Business
  • Managing Change: How to transform businesses?
  • Measurements: How do you measure sustainability performance?
  • Leadership for Sustainable Business
  • Next steps: A call for action

Preparation: No background knowledge is necessary.

Materials: Can be found at Suggested reading material will be announced throughout the course, in regard to the topics discussed.

Exams: Three midterm exams based on portions of the material will be given during regular class periods on the date indicated below. A comprehensive final exam will be given at the end of the semester. Exams will be limited to readings and topics discussed in class.

Grades: The components of the final grade, exam dates and relative weights are:
EXAM 1 25%* March 15th
EXAM 2 25%* April 26th
EXAM 3 25%* May 17th
TOTAL 100%
*The best 2 of the 3 exam scores will be counted toward the final grade. If the student takes the last exam, that exam will be counted toward the final grade. This allows for an unavoidable absence from one of the exams, and recognizes improvement in performance during the semester. No make-up exams will be scheduled. The final exam will be comprehensive. Exams are intended to provide a fair indication of students’ understanding of basic physical principles and not the ability to memorize equations. Use of calculators is not permitted.

Attendance: Students are encouraged to attend classes to be able to pass this course. If they fail to do so, they may not be allowed to take the final. Students should be reminded that the “YÖK” rule for satisfactory attendance is at least 70% presence.

Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. The first instance will result in a grade of ‘F’ for the course.

Disabilities: Students with certified disabilities requiring special accommodations are urged to contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester so that suitable arrangements may be made.

About Gulin Yucel – Co-Instructor

Gulin Yucel received her bachelors degree in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University, Istanbul in 1992, followed by an M.B.A. in International Business from CASS, City University in London, U.K between 1993-94.

Upon her return to Turkey, Gulin started to work for IBM and held various positions between 1994-2013. She led various management roles, where she had the chance to develop expertise in various sectors like retail, manufacturing, insurance, banking, others and engage in development of complex services projects (business consultancy, e-business, business intelligence, CRM, ERP, technology projects, outsourcing) with major clients.

Gulin then joined Pronet Security , a leading Turkish electronic security systems company with over 1500+ employees and 150,000+ customers, as General Manager. In this role, she was engaged in running the execution as well as longer term change agenda of the Company. Gulin worked with Cinven (a leading European private equity firm, founded in 1977, with offices in Guernsey, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Luxembourg and Hong Kong and funds of €100 million or more), who owned majority of the stakeholding at Pronet and hence had the chance to see the interactions between traditional stakeholders and investors.

Gulin Yucel, is a co-owner in Brika Construction, a visiting professor for graduate management studies at Koc University, a member to Kagider (Women Enterpreneurs Organisation of Turkey) and Keiretsu (global angel investors network).