English   Danish

2019/2020  KAN-CCMVI2095U  Accounting for Sustainability

English Title
Accounting for Sustainability

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor: Eduardo Schiehll, M.Sc., Ph.D., FCPA, FCMA, HEC Montréal - Professor Department of Accounting
    Sven Bislev - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
For academic questions related to the course, please contact instructor Eduardo Schiehll at eduardo.schiehll@hec.ca
Other academic questions: contact academic director Sven Bislev at sb.msc@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Management
  • Accounting
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 12/11/2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
After completing the course, students should be able to:
  • Apply relevant theories and management accounting tools to real-life business cases.
  • Design sustainability metrics for business in terms of external reporting (e.g., Sustainability Report) and strategic performance management.
  • Critically analyse the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibility of an organization.
  • Understand measurement problems related to ESG performance.
  • Better understand relevant concepts and sustainability reporting frameworks, such as GRI, SASB, and “Integrated Reporting”.
  • Evaluate responsible investments and ESG ratings.
Course prerequisites
Completed social science Bachelor. Basic knowledge in accounting and fundamentals in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Accounting for Sustainability:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Written sit-in exam on CBS' computers
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration 4 hours
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer, Ordinary exam: 4 hour written exam in the period of 27–31 July 2020
Retake exam: 4 hour written exams in the period of 28 September–2 October 2020
3rd attempt (2nd retake) exam: 72-hour home assignment- 23-26 November 2020 – for all ISUP courses simultaneously

Exam schedules available on https:/​/​www.cbs.dk/​uddannelse/​international-summer-university-programme-isup/​courses-and-exams
Aids Limited aids, see the list below:
The student is allowed to bring
  • Any calculator
  • Language dictionaries in paper format
The student will have access to
  • Advanced IT application package
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Retake exam: 4 hour written sit-in exam, new exam question
Exam form for 3rd attempt (2nd retake): 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach
This course covers both the theory and practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the modern organization, with a focus on the accountability (measurable) aspects of CSR. As such, this course builds on the necessary distinction between external reporting (e.g., Sustainability Report) and CSR performance, as well as the importance of linking sustainability strategy and management control systems (e.g., Management Accounting).
Through readings, case studies and learning activities, students will be encouraged to apply conceptual CSR frameworks to business practice and to critically evaluate the links between strategy, management control, and the accountability process for sustainable development. The aim is to offer business students a holistic and comprehensive approach to the study of accounting systems to support sustainability strategies.
Preliminary assignment:
Reading the short article “Why and How Investors Use ESG Information: Evidence from a Global Survey,” by Amir Amel-Zadeh and George Serafeim, Financial Analyst Journal, vol. 74 (3), pp. 87-103 / Publication of CFA Institute
Class 1: The raise and relevance of ESG information
Class 2: Sustainability reporting: scope, assurance, and the GRI framework
Class 3:  Identifying and measuring environmental costs
Class 4: Accounting for corporate greenhouse emissions
Class 4: Incorporating sustainability into decision making (Part 1)
Class 5: Incorporating sustainability into decision making (Part 2)
Class 6:  ESG metrics and responsible investment
Feedback activity:
We will have a feedback session in Class 6 based on an individual assignment. The individual take home assignment (handout) is due to prior Class 6 and will consist of a max 4 pages assessment report grounded on the Frito-Lay a case study.
Class 7: Key concepts and principles of the SASB materiality framework
Class 8: Applying the SASB materiality map
Class 9: Understanding and using ESG metrics for performance assessment
Class 10: Measuring and rewarding sustainable performance
Class 11: Conclusion, overview, and team presentations
Description of the teaching methods
All teaching takes place on campus (notice that face-to-face teaching may include the use of online materials and tools.
Feedback during the teaching period
We will have a feedback session half-way through the course. Students will be asked to prepare a small take home assignment base on a case study (handout of max 4 pages) due to before the interactive feedback session. This assignment will be graded. Feedback will also be provided on team work presentations.
Student workload
Preliminary assignment 20 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 20 hours
Further Information
Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.
Course timetable is available on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams
We reserve the right to cancel the course if we do not get enough applications. This will be communicated on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams end March 2020.
Expected literature

Mandatory readings:


Two Case Studies:

  • Corporate Greenhouse Gas Accounting: Carbon Footprint Analysis

UV2027  - Darden Business Publishing

  • Frito-Lay North America: The Making of Net Zero Snack Chip

UV2025 - Darden Business Publishing

These case studies need to be purchased by the student.


From Transparency to Performance: Industry-based Sustainability reporting on Key-Issues; by The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations & Initiative for Responsible Investment
(public available document; pdf file will be provided)
JetBlue Sustainability report
(public available document; pdf file will be provided)
Eccles, R. G., Perkins, K. M., & Serafeim, G. (2012). How to become a sustainable company. MIT Sloan Management Review, 53(4), 43-50.
Scholtens, B. & Sievänen, R. (2013). Drivers of Socially Responsible Investing: A Case Study of Four Nordic Countries. Journal of Business Ethics, 115: 605 -616.
Khan, M., Serafeim, G., & Yoon, A. (2016). Corporate sustainability: First evidence on materiality. The Accounting Review, 91(6), 1697-1724. 

Additional relevant readings:


EPSTEIN, M. J. and Roy, M-J. (2001). “Sustainability in Action: Identifying and Measuring the Key Performance Drivers.” Long Range Planning, 34(3): 585-604.
Peloza, J. (2009). The challenge of measuring financial impacts from investments in corporate social performance. Journal of Management, 35(6), 1518-1541.
RICCABONI, Angelo, Emilia Luisa LEONE, (2010). Implementing strategies through management control systems: the case of sustainability, International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 59 (2) 30-144.



Last updated on 12/11/2019