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2018/2019  KAN-CCBLV5003U  What is Behind the Label: Sustainability in Developing Countries

English Title
What is Behind the Label: Sustainability in Developing Countries

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 40
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Peter Lund-Thomsen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalization and international business
  • Supply chain management and logistics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 13-02-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Describe and critically assess concepts and methods covered in the course readings that are relevant to assessing the impacts of sustainability policies and practices in global value chains.
  • Design an innovative methodology for investigating the impact of such policies and practices on farms, firms, workers, and the environment in export-oriented industries in developing countries.
  • Display an awareness of the intercultural and ethical challenges associated with researching economic, work, and environmental conditions in developing countries.
Course prerequisites
The most important qualification you need to participate is intellectual curiosity and willingness to engage in experimental forms of learning and innovation. It will also be useful for students wishing to work, write their masters’ thesis about sustainability and/or undertake fieldwork in developing countries.
What is Behind the Label: Sustainability in Developing Countries:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Group exam
Please note the rules in the Programme Regulations about identification of individual contributions.
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 40 pages
Groups of 2 have to hand in no more than 20 pages, groups of 3 no more than 30 pages, and groups of 4 no more than 40 pages. It is also possible for students to hand in an individual assignment. Individual assignments should be max. 10 pages. The assignment must show appropriate academic writing skills, including: correct referencing, clear argumentation and correct usage and definition of key concepts.
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

Have you ever thought about what is behind the product brand labels that you buy in stores such as H&M, IKEA, and Primark? Have you ever considered how you can trace or map how your clothes, coffee, chocolate or other products travel through the global economy and find out whether they are sustainably produced at the base of global value chains? In this course, we will explore what sustainability means for firms, factories, farmers, and workers in developing countries. In doing so, students will be introduced to a range of impact assessment tools. They will also be trained in designing innovative methodologies for assessing the effects of sustainability policies and practices in export-oriented industries in developing countries. The course is divided into two parts.


Global value chain mapping and sustainability impact assessment

This involves training in value chain mapping and analysis as well as sustainability impact assessment at the base of these chains. Students will become familiarized with IT-enabled platforms that allow consumers to trace the sustainability impacts of the products that are manufactured, distributed, sold, consumed, and recycled in these chains. Furthermore, an introduction is given to the intercultural and ethical challenges associated with assessing the impact of sustainability certification in export-oriented industries in developing countries.


Teamwork and design of novel methodologies

Students will learn about and practice teamwork in relation to impact assessment of sustainability policy and practice in global value chains. This involves several practical exercises enabling students to design an innovative methodology for assessing whether corporate sustainability claims are matched by on-the-ground practice in relation to firms, factories, farmers, and the environment in developing countries. Students will also be trained in how to act as consultants on a strategic level and market their methodology to help clients (either internally within existing companies or new customers) improve the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of export-oriented production in developing countries.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is built around a rigorous training platform that dynamically combines practice, reflection and theory. The course will introduce you to existing knowledge in this research and practice field including the use of lectures and class-based case exercises about global value chain analysis, impact assessment, the use of IT-tools, and start-up approaches to facilitate methodological and organizational innovation in relation to impact measurement of sustainability certification in developing countries. We will also use learning techniques aimed at enhancing creative processes, exploring ideas and innovation using effective and fun brainstorming techniques, rapid prototyping and working with problem solving through design thinking practices.
Feedback during the teaching period
The principal way for students to obtain feedback on their readings and work for this course is through active participation in class. Students are therefore expected to attend lectures and classes regularly and to come prepared and be ready to participate actively. The course is designed and hosted to support more transparent and autonomous learning, and as such it endeavors to run in a self-directed and collaborative way between students and staff. Participation will also support incremental check-ins on students’ progress. For instance, students will receive feedback from a panel of practitioners on their draft methodology in the last part of the course. In addition, students are given 10 minutes of supervision in connection with their exam assignments. Finally, students have the possibility of receiving individual and group feedback during regular consultation hours.
Student workload
Lectures 30 hours
Exam 35 hours
Preparation 141 hours
Total 206 hours
Last updated on 13-02-2018