Learn How To

Tackle environmental challenges with concepts like systems thinking, circular design, behavior change, and natural capital

Create a culture of collaboration between social entrepreneurs and conservation organizations

Design products and services that contribute to a circular economy

Change behavior in order to conserve biodiversity

Make the case for investing in environmental conservation with lessons from the natural capital movement

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Course Syllabus

Learning Tools

5 reading guides

5 workshop guides to structure your own project

12 videos featuring Mark Tercek of the Nature Conservancy, Michael Kobori of Levi Strauss and Co, Vien Truong of Green for All

Section 1: The Relationship Between Poverty and the Environment

Reading: Understanding the Challenges of Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

Reading: The Relationship Between Poverty and the Environment

Reading: Collaborating to Tackle Environmental Challenges

Reading: What You Will Learn in This Course

Video: Meet the Experts

Video: How are Poverty and the Environment Connected

Workshop Activity: Choose a Conservation Challenge to Explore in the Course

Section 2: Systems Thinking

Reading: A Mindset for Solving Complex Problems

Reading: What is Systems Thinking?

Case Study: Transforming a Fishing Community In Mexico through Systems Thinking

Reading: Identify the Enablers and Inhibitors in Your System

Reading: Identify Upstream Causes and Downstream Effects

Reading: Build Feedback Loops

Example: Vicious and Virtuous Circles in Amazonian Ecuador

Reading: Find Leverage Points

Example: Finding a Leverage Point for Endangered Lions

Workshop Activity: Build a Feedback Loop and Find a Leverage Point

Section 3: Circular Economy

Reading: Limitations of the Linear Economy

Reading: What is the Circular Economy?

Reading: A Circular Flow of Resources

Example: Finding New Life for Temple Flowers

Reading: Circular Design Strategies in Social Enterprises

Example: Plastic Waste and Packaging for Recyclability

Example: Managing Electronic Waste in Developing Countries

Example: Circularity in Agriculture

Example: How Cotton Waste is Powering Rural Pakistan

Videos: Life Cycle Assessment at Levi Strauss & Co.

Workshop Activity: Find a Circular Design Opportunity

Section 4: Behavior Change for Environmental Conservation

Reading: Introduction to Behavioral Economics

Reading: The Challenge of Changing Behavior When Tackling Environmental Issues

Reading: Mapping the User Journey and Identifying Points of Friction

Reading: Strategies for Behavior Change

Example: When Incentives Don’t Go as Planned: Fishing in the Republic of Kiribati

Case Study: Facilitating Behavior Change in Complex Waste Management Systems in India

Example: Collecting Data and Building Pride in Mozambique’s Fisheries

Example: The Four As of Adoption: Changing Behavior in Agriculture

Videos: Changing Mindsets About Environmental Conservation

Workshop Activity: Apply a Behavior Change Strategy

Section 5: Natural Capital and Making the Business Case for Environmental Conservation

Reading: Understanding the Value of Nature

Example: The Natural Capital Project and Coastal Development in Belize

Reading: A Greener Economy For All

Reading: Making the Business Case for Environmental Conservation

Example: Accelerating and Investing in Restoration Enterprises

Video: Unexpected Partnerships: The Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace and McDonald's

Video: Making the Business Case at Levi Strauss & Co.

Workshop Activity: Build a Summary Deck

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Change your view of the world

Draw inspiration from thought-provoking readings, videos, and reflections.

Gain diverse perspectives

Learn with a team that brings different experiences and thinking to the table.

Receive a certificate of recognition

Attain a “Statement of Accomplishment” recognizing your successful completion of a course.

"This is one of the few courses that has a great holistic approach to solve environmental challenges.”


Course Description

This project-based course will explore the connection between environmental conservation and poverty reduction. Learn how to develop entrepreneurial solutions for challenges where the environment and livelihoods are sometimes at odds -- like deforestation, overfishing, waste management, and agriculture.

Readings, case studies and expert insights from Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy; Vien Truong, CEO of Green for All; and Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability for Levi Strauss & Co. will guide you as you generate solutions to an environmental challenge of your choosing.

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Supported By

MAVA Foundation is a family-led, Swiss-based philanthropic foundation with an exclusive focus on the conservation of biodiversity. Since 1994, MAVA has played a transformational role in driving forward innovative conservation across the Mediterranean, West Africa, the Alps and beyond through its sustainable economy programme. Supporting passionate leaders and entrepreneurs working across sectors to address environmental and social challenges together is a key component of MAVA vision for sustainability.

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