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2020/2021  KAN-CCBLV1030U  ESG, Sustainable and Impact Investments

English Title
ESG, Sustainable and Impact Investments

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 50
Max. participants 100
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Kristjan Jespersen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Finance
  • Accounting
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 23-04-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Describe and critically interpret the concepts and methods covered in the course readings that are relevant to appraising the relevance and applicability of different ESG metrics and approaches when developing and analysing sustainable and impact oriented investments.
  • Apply concepts, and theories from the course to analyze how specific sustainability considerations are applied and interpreted by the financial sector.
  • Critically evaluate various forms of leadership and change-management employed in the financial sector so as to adopt and design more sustainability oriented metrics, incentives and deal structures.
  • Critically assess methodologies employed by financial institutions when designing specific sustainability related schemes, or factoring in sustainability considerations within the deal flow.
  • Display a clear understanding of the tradeoffs (environmental, social and governance), financial organizations face when designing sustainability focused investments.
ESG, Sustainable and Impact Investments:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Note that the exam is a group exam. If you are not able to find a group yourself, you have to address the course coordinator who will place you in a group.

Groups of 2 have to submit no more than 10 pages. Groups of 3 have to submit no more than 15 pages.
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
There are four different scenaria for the re-exam.
A) If the student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has been part of handing in the report,s/he does not have to submit a new project report, but MUST hand in the same project AGAIN for the re-exam.
B) If an individual student fails the oral exam, s/he does not have to submit a new project report, but MUST hand in the same project report again for the re-exam.
C) If a whole group fails, they must hand in a revised report for the re-take.
D) If you have not handed in anything for the ordinary exam, you will hand in a report for the re-exam.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The financial world is under increasing scrutiny to “lead” in the service of sustainability. In order to respond to such a calling, financial organizations are tasked to design new and innovative financial mechanisms, that can not only withstand heavy investment and expected returns, but also ensure #thefuturewewant. 


This course is designed to immerse students into the global sustainability challenges embarked upon by institutional investors, investment firms and innovative companies, to develop strategy, management systems, metrics, and financing policies. Strongly grounded in theoretical and empirical studies from various disciplines in the field of finance, economics, development and environmental studies, this course will provide a thorough understanding of the growing field of ESG, sustainable and impact investment. Students will explore the field of sustainable asset management, and the strategies and reporting used by many of the leading organizations in the field. Participants will similarly acquire specific competencies in carbon finance, ecosystem service financing, sustainable real estate, and green bonds. Of particular note, students will learn how to finance new economic and social challenges in a sustainable manner. In addition to the highly qualified faculty leading the class, leading experts in the field, have actively volunteered their time to also relate how experts in this field must be an active leader in the field of sustainable investments. Students will explore the tradeoffs between equity investing with an ownership stake vs. investing without voting power. It is worth noting that students interested in this field must understand that investing in long term value creation is just as much about innovative schemes, as the fostering and development of new indices and metrics for attributing value in their financial dealings. The topic of sustainability is not only emerging as a critical component in these metrics and indices, it is viewed more and more as a competitive advantage.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is designed in such a fashion that theory and practice are closely studied. The course will introduce you to existing knowledge in the fields of ESG, Sustainable and Impact Investments. We will explore this dynamic topic through lectures, and class-based debate case exercises and specific sustainable financial mechanisms. The course will adopt an international perspective, illustrating cases from around the world. Such an international perspective will only benefit the learning taking place in the classroom where specific methodologies and organizational innovations will be grounded and contextualized by the cases. The classroom dynamics are managed through a dialogue-based approach to teaching. Students will regularly be tasked to consider tradeoffs and a variety of options so as to devise solutions to complex ‘real-life’ sustainable finance dilemmas/opportunities.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will receive feedback in the following forms
In class feedback based on the classroom discussions
Digital feedback in response to emails
Exam feedback following the exam
Student workload
Lectures 30 hours
Exam 35 hours
Preparation 141 hours
Total 206 hours
Expected literature

Oikonomou, I., Yin, C., & Zhao, L. (2020). Investment horizon and corporate social performance: the virtuous circle of long-term institutional ownership and responsible firm conduct. The European Journal of Finance26(1), 14-40.


Banerji, S., Duygun, M., Noe, T., & Shaban, M. (2020). Institutions, governance and finance in a globally connected environment. Journal of Corporate Finance.


Kawamoto, M., & Kanie, N. (2020). Engaging Business: The UN Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change. In International Development and the Environment (pp. 47-54). Springer, Singapore.


Crifo, P., Durand, R., & Gond, J. P. (2019). Encouraging investors to enable corporate sustainability transitions: The case of responsible investment in France. Organization & Environment32(2), 125-144.


Chang, Y. (2019). Green Finance in Singapore: Barriers and Solutions. Handbook of Green Finance: Energy Security and Sustainable Development, 1-17.


Liu, F. H., Demeritt, D., & Tang, S. (2019). Accounting for Sustainability in Asia: Stock Market Regulation and Reporting in Hong Kong and Singapore. Economic Geography, 1-23.


Mishra, R. K., Sarkar, S., & Kiranmai, J. (2019). Ethical Finance Dimension of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case Study of Indian SOEs. Journal of Modern Accounting and Auditing15(1), 475-486.


Agrawal, A., & Hockerts, K. (2019). Impact Investing Strategy: Managing Conflicts between Impact Investor and Investee Social Enterprise. Sustainability, 11(15), 4117.


Sustainable Investing. The Art of Long-Term Performance*. Edited by Cary Krosinsky and Nick Robins. Earthscan Publications Ltd, 2008 


Emerson, Jed, Tim Freundlich and Shari Berenbach, ‘Where Money Meets Mission: Toward a Unified Investment Strategy,” 2007


Porter, Michael E. and Mark Kramer, “The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value,” Harvard Business Review


Nicholls, Alex, “The Institutionalization of Social Investment: The Interplay of Investment Logics and Investor Rationalities,” Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 1.1, pp. 70-100


Christian, Leslie, “A New Foundation for Portfolio Management,” RSF Social Finance and Portfolio 21 Investments, 2011. 

Ebrahim, Alnoor and V. Kasturi Rangan, “Acumen Fund: Measurement in Impact Investing (A) and (B),” HBS Cases, 9-310-011 and 9-106-043, 2010


Grantcraft, The Ford Foundation, “Mapping Change: Using a Theory of Change to Guide Planning and Evaluation,” 


Emerson, Jed, Joshua Spitzer and Jacob Harold, “Blended Value Investing: Real Estate, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship Working Paper, 2007


Baker, H. K., & Nofsinger, J. R. (2012). Socially responsible finance and investing: financial institutions, corporations, investors, and activists. John Wiley & Sons.


Adams, A. (2017). Performance of microfinance institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: a cross country analysis of outreach, sustainability, efficiency and regulation (Doctoral dissertation, University of Zululand).

Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership* Cary Krosinsky, Nick Robins, Stephen Viederman John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / Wiley Finance, 2012

Last updated on 23-04-2020