The Knight Management Center

By Kathleen Kavanaugh, Jake Kraft, Baba Shiv
2010 | Case No. RE135
The Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), Bob Joss, must decide whether to make the school’s new campus LEED certified. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was an environmental certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED was a system where projects earned points for satisfying specific green building criteria. In addition to the added cost of making the campus LEED certified, which was thought to be around $11 million, but was very hard to estimate, Joss had to take into consideration the differing opinions of the school’s faculty, alumni, students and administration. While many of the school’s alumni and students were in favor of the certification, faculty tended to be against it. Stanford’s administration was decidedly against pursuing LEED certification. There were several arguments for pursuing LEED certification. First, the GSB would take a leadership position in sustainability, which would teach students about the importance of the role of sustainability in business and serve as a model for the business community. It would also give the GSB a competitive advantage in attracting students to the school. There were also arguments against pursuing LEED certification. Would the environmental concerns be put ahead of practical day-to-day operational functionality, such as having sufficient light and air conditioning? Some felt that the LEED system itself was flawed, with a rigid point system, which they believed counted nominal environmental improvements rather than real ones. Also, Stanford’s administration argued that the school had its own set of sustainability standards which were strict, yet more suited for campus buildings than the LEED system.
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