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2021/2022  KAN-CCBLV1601U  Poverty, Sustainability and the Private Sector

English Title
Poverty, Sustainability and the Private Sector

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 80
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Andrew Crabtree - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
  • Søren Jeppesen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Intercultural studies
  • International political economy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 18-06-2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Account for, and critically reflect upon, the most important contemporary conceptualisations of poverty, sustainability and the private sector.
  • Analyse the leading issues relating to poverty and the private sector with particular emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Connect conceptualisations and issues at global, regional, national and local levels
Course prerequisites
Students should have a basic knowledge of economics or development
Poverty, Sustainability and the Private Sector:
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 2-3
Size of written product Max. 25 pages
Groups of 2 student have to hand in max 20 pages. Groups of 3 have to hand in max. 25 pages. Students are allowed to write individually and have to hand-in an assignment of max. 10 pages.
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
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
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach


In 2016 the United nations unanimously adopted the resolution Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development more commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals aim to be transformative in that they are sustainable development goals placing sustainability at the heart of development, they are also global goals which are not just “limited” to developing countries. Moreover, they are not stand-alone goals which emphasize the interconnectedness of their aspirations. This course considers the role the private sector can play in achieving these objectives, the need for the private sector to think across goals and where its limitations lie. It examines relatively new initiatives such as the Circular Economy within a broader holistic framework asking how they relate to human development concerns such issues as responsible production and consumption (SDG 12), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8) or human rights (SDG 16). The course also critically examines the viability of alternatives to the private sector including social enterprises, microfinance, Fair Trade and degrowth, or whether or not we should just give the money to the poor in terms of conditional or unconditional cash transfers. 


The course begins with a discussion of how we define sustainable development, present trends, and the present status in relation to the SDGs. It then takes up the individual SDGs, themes and central issues relating each to the private sector concentrating on inclusive green growth, multidimensional poverty and the Bottom of the Pyramid approach, private sector education for the poor, health, gender empowerment, energyand climate change, decent work and the clothing industry, innovation, technology and mobile money, Planetary Boundaries, climate action, nature-based tourism and biodiversity, and the private sector’s possible contribution to peace and justice. The global goals are examined by looking at the activities in India, China, Taiwan, Latin America and Africa. 


Description of the teaching methods
Two hours for 15 weeks. A combination of lectures, students’ (individual or group) critical presentations of topics (10-15 minutes) and active participation in discussions and group work. Students will be required to read approximately 800 pages and encouraged to read more. Multimedia will also be drawn upon as appropriate. Students are also encouraged to use peer-to-peer feedback as a part of the learning process, e.g. in smaller study groups Students often come from very different backgrounds and their knowledge and experience can be very illuminating.
Feedback during the teaching period
Lecturer feedback will be given on presentations and ensuing discussions. Students are also encouraged to use peer-to-peer feedback. Finally, students are welcome to use the office hours for individual feedback
Student workload
Preparation 136 hours
Teaching 30 hours
Examination 40 hours
Expected literature

Week 1: Introduction 

Naim, M. (2000). Fads and fashion in economic reforms: Washington Consensus or Washington Confusion?. Third World Quarterly21(3), 505-528.  


Week 2: The Private Sector and Inclusive Green Growth

Scheyvens, R., Banks, G., & Hughes, E. (2016). The Private Sector and the SDGs: The Need to Move Beyond ‘Business as Usual’. Sustainable Development, 24(6), 371-382.


Week 3: SDGs 1 (No poverty) and 2 (Zero hunger)

London, Ted. (2016) The Base of the Pyramid Promise: Building Businesses with Impact and Scale, Ch 1 Impact Enterprise for the base of the Pyramid. Stanford University Press (Via Library). 


Week 4SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being

Juanita Elias & Jenna Holliday (2019) Who gets ‘Left behind’? Promises and pitfalls in making the global development agenda work for sex workers – reflections from Southeast Asia, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45:14, 2566-2582, 


Week 5: SDG 4 Quality Education

Tooley J and Dixon P (2012) Private Education is Good for the Poor Cato Institute 

Week 6: SDG 5 Gender Equality and Empower Women 


Lyon S, Bezaury JA, Mutersbaugh T Gender equity in Fair Trade–organic coffee producer organizations: Cases from Mesoamerica Geoforum  Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 93-103 


Week 7: SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy & SDG 13 Climate Action 

Shardul, A. and Carraro, M. (2010), Assessing the role of microfinance in fostering adaptation to climate change, OECD Environmental Working Paper No. 15, 2010, OECD  

Week 8SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

Pollin, R. (2019). Advancing a Viable Global Climate Stabilization Project: Degrowth versus the Green New Deal. Review of Radical Political Economics, 51(2), 311-319.


Week 9: SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Franco Fassio, & Nadia Tecco. (2019). Circular Economy for Food: A Systemic Interpretation of 40 Case Histories in the Food System in Their Relationships with SDGs. Systems (Basel), 7(3), 43.


Week 10: SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities

Pereira S (2010) Payment for Environmental Services in the Amazon Forest: How can conservation and development be reconciled? The Journal of Environment and Development 19 (2) 171-190 


Week 11: SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Murphy, J. T., Carmody, P., Grant, R., & Owusu, F. (2018). The impact of China on African cities: Potentials for development. In Handbook of Emerging 21st-Century Cities. Edward Elgar Publishing


Week 12: SDG 12  Responsible Consumption and Production

Plieth H, Bullinger A.C., Hansen E.G. (2012) Sustainable Entrepreneurship in the Apparel Industry. Vol. 2012 Number 45,1 pp 123-138Journal of Corporate Citizenship


Week 13: SDG 14 (Life below water) and 15 (Life on land): Biodiversity

Yi-fong, Chen. "The Indigenous Ecotourism and Social Development in Taroko National Park Area and San-Chan Tribe, Taiwan." GeoJournal 77.6 (2012): 805-15. Web


Week 14: SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals: technology

Hughes, N., Lonie, S. (2007) M-PESA: Mobile Money for the “Unbanked” Turning Cellphones into 24-Hour Tellers in Kenya. Innovations, Technology, Governance, Globalization. Vol. 2. Issues 1-2 


Week 15: SDG 16 Peace and Justice and Strong Institutions

Berdal M., Mousavizadeh N (2010) Investing for Peace: The private sector and the  challenges of Peacebuilding. Survival vol. 52 no.2 April-May pp 37-58

Last updated on 18-06-2021