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2018/2019  BA-BHAAV5003U  Introduction to Sustainable Business

English Title
Introduction to Sustainable Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring, Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Karin Buhmann - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalization and international business
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-02-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The students should be able to demonstrate:
  • Describe and critically discuss what sustainability means for a company
  • Analyse and critically assess a company’s information of its sustainability policies, strategies or work against theories of creating shared value for the company and society
  • Analyse and assess a company’s sustainability strategy against the key elements of the UN Global Compact
  • Identify and critically assess how a company engages with stakeholders in its development of its sustainability strategy and its implementation
  • Develop well-argued recommendations for a company to improve its sustainability commitments and contribute value to society
Course prerequisites
Introduction to Sustainable Business:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 24 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer and Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Course content and structure

The course is an introduction to sustainable business with a focus on firms’ environmental and social impact on society. It provides students with an understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues in relation to organization, supply-change management, finance, non-financial accounting and reporting. The course addresses stakeholder approaches to strategic management, branding through CSR, CSR in supply chains, social and environmental management systems, CSR reporting and socially responsible investment. Students will obtain knowledge about how corporations integrate CSR issues in order to identify new business opportunities, communicate with their stakeholders, compete in global markets, and address social and environmental sustainability expectations and requirements of firms in the early 21st century. Beside of introducing a number of CSR issues, the course provides students with analytical skills and theories to critically interrogate CSR ideals and practices. 
Sustainable business and CSR concerns the governance of environmental, social and economic aspects.  In a world where corporate reputation is essential to the success of business, CSR and its focus on stakeholder dialogue and responsible business development can enhance the market share of enterprises. CSR strategies may include optimization of operational efficiency to increase workplace productivity (human resource management) and to reduce cost associated with environmental or social risks (risk management). The course develops students’ competencies with regard to govern such new business opportunities to the advantage of the corporations. 
The course rests upon a stakeholder view of the corporation. Its central proposition is that organizational wealth is created (or destroyed) through a corporation's interaction and communication with its stakeholders. Emphasis will be given to characterizing and discussing what constitutes as effective stakeholder engagement. To this end, the course will, in particular, look into how corporate social responsibility issues can be integrated in business through stakeholder engagement processes.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is taught through lectures, cases, discussions and group work in class as well as student presentations. Guest lecturers from companies and other organizations provide the students with practical examples of some of the challenges involved in sustainable business. By drawing on the experience of these practitioners and on recent developments within research on sustainable business, the course enhances students’ abilities to analytically address the issue of sustainable business.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback: For the period of teaching, individual feedback is offered during ‘office hours’ provided by faculty staff members teaching in the course (see day and time on Learn). We also encourage you to ask questions or make comments in class and form self-study groups to secure peer feedback on your work.

Student workload
Preparation 165 hours
Teaching 36 hours
Examination 24 hours
Expected literature

Preliminary list of readings:

Last updated on 21-02-2018