IBUS 3080: Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

Undergraduate Global Enrichment in Costa Rica
January 2, 2017 to January 14, 2017

January 2-14, 2017; Pre-departure classes during Fall B Term - Tuesday, 4:00pm-7:00pm. Students are required to attend all pre-departure sessions.

This course focuses on the concepts of sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility in cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance and key businesses practicing sustainability in Costa Rica. Achieving an in-depth understanding of the many interrelated and complex issues associated with sustainability and CSR requires an exploration into the entire value chain and the stakeholders who affect or are affected throughout the chain. Students will explore the value chain from origins through final product and the stakeholders involved. This includes exploration regarding the important interaction between multinational corporations, local producers and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to promote sustainability. This course will also examine the challenges regarding how corporations effectively communicate sustainability in an authentic and meaningful way (through sustainability certifications and reporting) and engage with upstream suppliers to embed sustainability as a joint objective.

Program schedule

The program comprises guest lectures, site visits, and case study. Costa Rica represents a critical growing and distribution center for coffee, banana, pineapple, and palm oil. Students will learn about the sustainability issues surrounding the cultivation and supply of these products, as well as the strategies companies have developed to support sustainability programs. Cultural tours and two group dinners will complement the academic program.

Application and Admissions

To apply, please visit the Apply page. Students will be charged a $50 application fee. The application cycle starts on March 1 and the priority deadline is April 1. Applications for programs that do not fill by the priority deadline will be accepted on a rolling basis until full. Applications will be reviewed and students will be informed of their status within 4 weeks of the priority deadline.


This program is open to University students in good academic standing, with a GPA of 2.5 at the time of application or instructor permission. All students with an interest in topics covered by CFANS are invited. Preference will be given to Carlson School students.

Location details

Costa Rica is a world leader in sustainable development and the promotion of ecologically sound tourism practices. Geographically Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaraqua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Its location provides access to American markets as it has the same time zone in the central part of the United States and direct ocean access to Europe and Asia. As a small country which covers only 0.03 % of the surface of the globe, it proudly shelters a 6% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world. 25.58 % of the country is composed of conservation and natural protected territory. The country is ranked fifth in the world, and first among the Americas, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index.

Students stay in conveniently-located hotels and will share a room with one or two classmates of their same gender. Because networking and community-building are key parts of the program, students will not have the option of a single room. Guests are not permitted during the program. Breakfast daily, a welcome dinner, and a closing dinner are provided.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid may be applied to study abroad. University of Minnesota students are eligible for education abroad scholarships. Please see Financial Aid and Scholarships for more information.


  • 20–30 University of Minnesota undergraduate students

Academics and credits

  • 4 credit
  • Grading is A-F basis
  • This course is approved for the Civic Life & Ethics theme.

Class times: Fall 2017 B Term, Tuesday evenings, 4:00pm-7:00pm.

Cost estimate (Summary)

Fees are based on estimates and may change due to international economic factors. This information applies to 2016-2017 programs.


*Students should also maintain their U.S.-based health insurance plan while abroad.

Cost table

2015-2016 Tuition for 4 academic credits (included in the 13-19 credit tuition plateau)$0
Program Fee (including international group airfare, hotel accommodation, program events, daily breakfast, two group meals, baggage fees ($25 each direction), and int'l health insurance*)$4,600
International airfare between Minnesota and Costa Rica (included in Program Fee), and baggage fees (not included in Program Fee)$50
Passport and Photos$145
Hotel Accommodation (included in Program Fee)$0
Daily Living Expenses (local transportation, incidentals, internet, laundry, etc)$250
Meals (lunch and dinners not included in Program Fee)$450
Estimated Total$5,530

Faculty Leader

Program Manager

Academic term(s)



Short-Term January

Degree level





Costa Rica