Sustainable Business Processes

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Sustainable Business Processes

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Business Administration

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Objective
    After successfully completing the course Sustainable Business Processes you are able to
    • Analyse business and societal problems taking into account the interests of different stakeholders (economic, ecological, societal, and others)
    • Quantify the economic, ecological, and societal objectives for business process cases and find optima using multi-objective linear optimization
    • Apply systems thinking using System Dynamics to examine the dynamic behaviour of business and societal processes
    • Understand the transition from a linear to a circular economy and its implications for managing business processes
    • We put emphasis on applying the methodologies to real-life cases

    Course Content
    This course aims to introduce students to operationalizing sustainability in business and societal problems. We define sustainability as the combined economic, environmental, and social optimum of business process alternatives that take into account constraints, such as technological limits or legislation, also known as the triple bottom line (TBL) approach of People-Planet-Profit optimization. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is presented as a methodology to quantify the environmental impact of products and processes and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to quantity social impact. Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis is introduced as a concept to
    operationalize the TBL approach for practical business process problems. Next, we discuss systems thinking using Systems Dynamics for understanding and evaluating the complex and interactive behavior of systems, such as sustainable supply chains. Finally, the transition from a linear to a circular economy and its effects on business processes is discussed.

    Additional Information Teaching Methods
    12 Lectures and 6 computer tutorials of each 2 hours

    Method of Assessment
    Written exam – Individual assessment;
    Two written assignments – Group assessment that may be corrected depending on the individual contribution

    Entry Requirements

    Students should have a basic knowledge of business processes or
    operations management and business mathematics. Students are expected to
    have a basic understanding of MS Excel before the start of the course.

    Mandatory readings:

    (1) Inghels, D. (2020). Introduction to Modeling Sustainable Development in Business Processes - Theory and Case Studies. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Online:
    (2) Fiksel, J. (2015). Resilient By Design: Creating Businesses That Adapt and Flourish 35 in a Changing World, ISBN: 978-1-61091-684-4 (Print) 978-1-61091-588-5 (Online), Online:

    Additional Information Target Audience
    This course is part of the Minor Sustainability and Innovation.

    Additional Information
    During the course, models will be built using software tools. Students should be interested in applying mathematics using software tools. Moreover, working out two written assignments in groups appeals to your
    commitment to contributing to the success of the group result.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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