The Yale Center for Business and the Environment is offering a number of independent studies this semester.  

CBEY Independent Studies – Fall 2017    

  • Walmart/TNC Collaboration on Supply Chains
  • TNC's Role in Certification Schemes
  • The Clean Energy Finance Reading Group: CT Green Bank and National Infrastructure Banks – Initial meeting to gauge interest will be held on Friday, September 8 at 11am in CBEY Offices in Kroon Hall.
  • B-Corps Investors Guidebook
  • Corporate Water Risk Workshop Series

If you are interested in participating in any of these projects please fill out this google form by 9:00 am on Friday, September 8th.



Independent Studies w/the Nature Conservancy and F&ES Executive Fellow Jen Molnar (3 credits)

Walmart project (2 Students):

Research fellows will collaborate with scientists from The Nature Conservancy throughout the process of identifying key opportunities to improve the sustainability of animal product supply chains. This opportunity will give fellows real-world experience in working through the process of developing sustainability recommendations for companies from start to finish, along with experienced staff from The Nature Conservancy, as part of a partnership with a major food retail company. This will include activities such as: reviewing and comparing global and national estimates of environmental impacts to identify key aspects to improve (e.g. reducing enteric methane in beef to improve GHGs), investigating the sources of differences in these estimates of impacts, reviewing the efficacy of changes to management practices (in different contexts around the world), estimating potential impact of large-scale changes in practice, and comparing highlighted recommendations to existing recommendations and plans.


Certification group project (2-4 students):

This research project will inform the roles that The Nature Conservancy and other NGOs should play in certification schemes, especially those related to sustainable agriculture and forestry.  What conditions are needed for certification schemes to result in conservation outcomes on the ground? What criteria should the Conservancy use to determine what role, if any, they should play in supporting them?  The research will include surveying major environmental certification schemes to document goals, approaches, motivations, partners, funding models, market penetration, and conservation outcomes.  Identify what has worked, what is repeatable, shared features and potential future approaches for the Conservancy.  Students will be working with Jen Molnar, executive fellow with CBEY, and the program she leads: the Conservancy’s Center for Sustainability Science. 

For more information contact or


Clean Energy Finance Forum: Reading Group and Research Project (3 credits) - F&ES 1153-02, Proj: CEFF

Independent Study Project:  The CT Green Bank – Understanding and Replicating a Clean Energy Finance Policy Innovation

First meeting of the group, to gauge interest, will be held on Friday, September 8th at 11am in the CBEY offices for students that are interested.  The group will be capped at 12 students and is currently scheduled to meet on Wednesday mornings from 8:30 - 10:00am during the fall semester. 

This reading group/consulting project will be dedicated to exploring topical issues in clean energy finance identified through the Clean Energy Finance Forum (CEFF) and our partnerships with the Coalition for Green Capital and the CT Green Bank.

The reading group/independent study will include two components:

  • Participation in a weekly discussion group exploring topics related to Green Banks in the news update that is produced twice a month, is read by 6,000 subscribers, and is the top-ranked English-language news source for professionals interested in learning more about energy efficiency and solar finance;
  • The independent study will result a detailed, deep dive analysis of the CT Green Bank model. We will focus on the policy innovation that the CT Green Bank represents and major challenges that it has overcome. We will consider how the example of the Connecticut Green Bank can be scaled up as a public policy concept and successfully replicated. Specifically, we will explore how the CT Green Bank can be scaled up to a national level, using the recently established Canadian Infrastructure Bank as the relevant example to consider and analyze.

Students will perform desk research and direct outreach, as necessary, to gather relevant details and produce a detailed case study report.

For more information contact Stuart DeCew


B-Corp Investor Guide Independent Study (3 credits)

Yale Center for Business and Environment is looking for students to pursue an independent study (3 credits) on developing an “Investors Guide to B-Corps”

In partnership with Patagonia, the Yale Center for Business and the Environment published An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations. The guide advises on best practices while helping entrepreneurs minimize legal costs, and make informed decisions as to whether B certification or Benefit incorporation makes sense for the company at that time. The guide was released in March 2017, and has reached more than 1.2 million people through facebook, twitter and our web-platform.

The next stage of our research into B Corporations and Benefit Corporations is to research opportunities and challenges for investors looking to fund/invest in the “B-Corp” world.

Outline of Independent Study:

  • Conduct an initial analysis of existing information for investors who want to work with Benefit Corporations/B-Corps;
  • Interview stakeholders in the Benefit Corporation, B Corp, impact investor, and venture capital ecosystems to identify opportunities and challenges around funding and investing in these entities;
  • Research into existing legislation and other factors around “B-Corps” which would influence investor’s decisions;
  • Synthesize information into a comprehensive publication to be published early 2018

For more information contact - Cass Walker at


Corporate Water Risk and Strategy Workshop - Fall 2 (1 credit)

The goal of the series is two-fold: to teach students about the materiality of water through the lens of corporate risk and strategy, and to provide students with the opportunity to work with a company to solve a real-world water-risk challenge. This series will provide students with a basic fluency in the terminology of water risk, as well as the relevant tools, ideas and processes needed to succeed in a corporate environment. A corporate client serves as a case study for students to apply their learning and recommend solutions. Each week, relevant guest lecturers provide information and materials to help students learn about corporate water risk and strategy. Using the knowledge gained, students work in small teams to propose a solution to a water risk challenge. Students from across Yale are invited to participate, allowing for a wide breadth of knowledge and experience within the teams. The group with the winning proposal will present in person to the corporate client over winter break. The workshop will be held over four Friday sessions during Fall-2 for one credit.

For more information contact – or