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2019/2020  KAN-CCMIV1158U  CEMS Block Seminar

English Title
CEMS Block Seminar

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 3 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 52
Max. participants 52
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Steen Vallentin - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • CSR and sustainability
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15/08/2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
The aim of this seminar is to increase students’ knowledge of development in CSR and
sustainable development, with a special focus on the pros and cons of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

After completing the course the student will be able to:
  • understand and reflect on CSR as an ambiguous and contested concept
  • understand the strategic benefits of CSR/corporate sustainability as well as some of the possible shortcomings of instrumental approaches to sustainable development
  • understand and reflect on opportunities, challenges and possible barriers associated with the creation of a more circular economy
  • understand sustainable development as a systemic and dynamic concern that involves a variety of actors, agendas, principles, standards and modes of governance
Course prerequisites
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved: 1
CEMS Block Seminar:
Exam ECTS 3
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 24 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The examination will be a 24-hour written exam. It will be based on questions relating to the curriculum and the presentations and discussions of the course


Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The block seminar offers an opportunity for students to engage with cutting edge developments in the theory and practice of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainable development. We cover the most recent developments in CSR and argue that companies increasingly have to commit themselves to a broader sustainability agenda with a strong focus on climate change and the environment. To speak of sustainability instead of social responsibility is not just a matter of substituting corporate sustainability for CSR. More importantly, it is a matter of gaining a systemic – inclusive and collaborative – view of problems and possible solutions – even when taking the corporate point of view. Development in circular economy are a vivid example of this, as it forces us to address the workings of the whole production cycle, including consumption and post consumption phases. The omnipresent UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is another example of how a systemic view is gaining prominence in debates about corporate responsibility. Theoretically, the block seminar will explore instrumental, political-ideological, governance and communicative aspects of CSR along with recent developments in corporate sustainability and sustainable development, including circular and sharing economy, regenerative sustainability and digitalization. On the practice side, we will have presentations from leading Danish companies on their current and future sustainability challenges. We will cover the most recent developments in sustainability reporting and materiality assessment, including corporate uses of the SDGs, and dig into topics such as responsibility in the digital economy and business-NGO partnerships. Throughout the seminar, our discussions will be rooted in practical examples, including film clips. 

The headings for the five days will be as follows:

Day 1 – Developments in CSR

Day 2 – Sustainability, circularity and the Global Goals

Day 3 – Corporate cases

Day 4 – Digital economy and the role of NGOs

Day 5 – Final reflections, wrap up and preparing for the exam

Description of the teaching methods
The block seminar will be a mixture of lectures, class discussions, corporate presentations, group work and group presentations.
Feedback during the teaching period
The students will be engaged in group work and get feedback on their group presentations.
Student workload
Preparation 5 hours
Teaching 25 hours
Exam 20 hours
Further Information

The course lasts for one week only 

Expected literature

Expected literature Esposito, M., Tse, T. & Soufani, K. (2018). Introducing a Circular Economy: New Thinking with New Managerial and Policy Implications. California Management Review, 60(3), 5-19.

Kirchherr; J. et al. (2018). Barriers to the Circular Economy: Evidence from the European Union (EU). Ecological Economics, 150, 264-272.

Porter, M.E. and Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating Shared Value. Harvard Business Review, 89, 62-77.

Robinson, J. & Cole, R.J. (2015). Theoretical underpinnings of regenerative sustainability. Building Research & Information, 43(2), 133-143.

Scherer, A.G. & Palazzo, G. (2011). The New Political Role of Business in a Globalized World: A Review of a New Perspective on CSR and its Implications for the Firm, Governance and Democracy. Journal of Management Studies, 48(4): 899-931.

Sjåfjell, B. (2018). Redefining the Corporation for a Sustainable New Economy’. Journal of Law and Society, 45(1), 29-45.

Valente, M.: (2017). Corporate Responsibility Strategies for Sustainability. In: Rasche, A., Morsing, M. & Moon, J. (eds.): Corporate Social Responsibility – Strategy, Communication, Governance (pp. 86-109). UK: Cambridge University Press.

Vallentin, S. (2015). Governmentalities of CSR: Danish Government Policy as a Reflection of Political Difference. Journal of Business Ethics, 27, 33-47.

Vallentin, S. & Murillo, D. (2019). CSR and the Neoliberal Imagination. In: A. Sales (Ed.). Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Change. Springer Verlag (forthcoming)

Vallentin, S. & Spence, L. (2017): Strategic CSR: Ambitions and Critiques. In: Rasche, A., Morsing, M. & Moon, J. (eds.): Corporate Social Responsibility – Strategy, Communication, Governance (pp. 63-85). UK: Cambridge University Press.

Last updated on 15/08/2019