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2020/2021  KAN-CCMVV4054U  Digitalization and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

English Title
Digitalization and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Rony Medaglia - Department of Digitalisation
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Information technology
  • Management
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 04-06-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the concept and practice of sustainable development
  • Critically reflect on digital technologies as enablers and obstacles to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • Analyse a real-life case of digital technology use in relation to the pursuit of at least two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • Devise strategies for the implementation of one or more digital technologies in relation to at least two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
Digitalization and the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration 2 weeks 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
If the student group fails the first written project exam, they can either submit a revised version of the project, or a completely new project for the re-exam
Description of the exam procedure

Examination form:

Individual project exam/home assignment


A project of 15 A4-pages. The project must be submitted at the end of the teaching term.  The students will have minimum 14 days to write the project. The student is not entitled to supervision.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Course content

The 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are shaping the global agenda with the new vision to move the focus beyond the single instances of e.g., climate change, or economic and gender inequalities separately, and to tackle them as a coherent whole.

Digitalization is a key part of achieving the SDGs. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT), for instance, have the potential to make the distribution of scarce resources (e.g., water, electricity) more effective, to make global supply chains more transparent (to e.g, labour abuses and environmental damage), and to reduce bias and discrimination.

This course will analyse the potential and challenges of digitalization in achieving sustainable development goals. Through student work on real-life cases, the course will critically investigate how digital technologies can be both enablers and obstacles to sustainability, equity and social inclusion. Based on this understanding, the course will enable students to devise appropriate digitalization strategies explicitly geared towards the achievement of specific sustainable development goals.


Structure and pedagogical approach

The course will consist of interactive lecture sessions dedicated to the introduction of the course and to the SDGs grouped in clusters, and of workshops dedicated to written project development.

Description of the teaching methods
Online videos on Canvas
Case discussions
Student presentations
Feedback during the teaching period
Continuous feedback will be provided in two ways:
1) Joined supervision on written group projects during dedicated sessions. In these sessions, the students will present their project proposal, their progress status and challenges, and will receive oral feedback from the teachers and from student peer groups.
2) All groups are offered supervision on their projects in prearranged timeslots that are set during office hours by the teacher. The students will have the option to sign up for these slots.
Student workload
Lectures 21 hours
Project worshops 12 hours
Reading preparation 70 hours
Project writing 103 hours
Expected literature

The reading list may be subject to modifications.


The mandatory readings will consist of selected chapter from the book:


Sachs, J. D. (2015). The Age of Sustainable Development. New York: Columbia University Press.


And of the following articles:


Corbett, J., & Mellouli, S. (2017). Winning the SDG battle in cities: How an integrated information ecosystem can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 sustainable development goals. Information Systems Journal27(4), 427–461. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1111/​isj.12138 

Elliot, S. (2011). Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability: A Resource Base and Framework for IT-Enabled Business Transformation. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 197–236. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.2307/​23043495

Gholami, R., Watson, R. T., Hasan, H., Molla, A., & Bjørn-Andersen, N. (2016). Information Systems Solutions for Environmental Sustainability: How Can We Do More? Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 17(8), 521–536. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.17705/​1jais.00435

Larios-Hernández, G. J. (2017). Blockchain entrepreneurship opportunity in the practices of the unbanked. Business Horizons, 60(6), 865–874. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.bushor.2017.07.012

Mensah, J. (2019). Sustainable development: Meaning, history, principles, pillars, and implications for human action: Literature review. Cogent Social Sciences, 5(1), 1653531. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1080/​23311886.2019.1653531

Ning, X., Ramirez, R., & Khuntia, J. (2019). Technology to Shape Social Policy: Blockchain for Targeted Poverty Alleviation in China. AMCIS 2019 Proceedings. Retrieved from https:/​/​aisel.aisnet.org/​amcis2019/​global_dev/​global_dev/​12

PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2018). Building block(chain)s for a better planet. Retrieved November 12, 2019, from PwC website: https:/​/​www.pwc.com/​gx/​en/​services/​sustainability/​building-blockchains-for-the-earth.html

Watson, R. T., Boudreau, M.-C., & Chen, A. J. (2010). Information Systems and Environmentally Sustainable Development: Energy Informatics and New Directions for the Is Community. MIS Quarterly34(1), 23–38. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.2307/​20721413 

United Nations. (2015a). About the Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved January 16, 2019, from United Nations Sustainable Development website: https:/​/​www.un.org/​sustainabledevelopment/​sustainable-development-goals/​

Zheng, Y., & Walsham, G. (2008). Inequality of what? Social exclusion in the e‐society as capability deprivation. Information Technology & People, 21(3), 222–243. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1108/​09593840810896000

Last updated on 04-06-2020