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2022/2023  BA-BBLCO2106U  Politics of Sustainability

English Title
Politics of Sustainability

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, BSc
Course coordinator
  • Kevin McGovern - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • International political economy
  • Political leadership and public management
  • Language
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 28-06-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Content:
  • Describe relevant forms of global governance and regional cooperation
  • Analyze discourses on relevant policy areas
  • Critically relate to theories and concepts taught in the course
  • Understand common challenges and ethical dilemmas facing policy-makers and other stakeholders
  • Define a relevant problem and conduct an analysis using a range of sources
  • Develop an independent and lucid argument on relevant topics
  • Language:
  • Communicate precisely and fluently on complex topics
  • Employ linguistic styles appropriate to academic English
  • Use a wide range of vocabulary, both general and specific to the subject matter
Politics of Sustainability:
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, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-3
Size of written product Max. 3 pages
Students who wish to write across exercise classes must apply to the Study Board for an exemption.
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
30 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 external examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary 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 a student has not handed in anything for the ordinary exam, he/she will hand in a report for the re-exam.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This course focusses on the politics of sustainability and sustainable economics. It takes its point of departure in Europe and makes relevant comparisons with other regions, such as North America. Issues of sustainability, or a lack thereof, are to a degree framed by the institutional structures of global and regional governance, including the UN and UNFCCC, the WTO, World Bank, and regional arenas such as the EU. This course gives an overview of such forms of international and regional governance, enabling in-depth examination of key topics, such as trade, investment and sustainability; development issues and the UN Sustainable Development Goals; climate change policy; migration issues; and labour rights.


The course discusses forms of global and regional governance, as well as relevant policy regimes and instruments. For example in the EU, where supranational institutions are vested with the powers to coordinate a range of economic, social and environmental policy areas. Yet the record of the EU on sustainability issues is uneven, and some policy areas strongly contested, for example the implementation of the European Green Deal. By comparison, in the case of the US, regional cooperation in the form of NAFTA/USMCA and the extension of this model through bilateral agreements is criticized by many for being too narrowly focused on free trade and investor protection.


In this course, emphasis is placed on the importance of critical reflection on theories and concepts taught in the course. It involves questioning assumptions and reflections on the relationship between power, interests, knowledge and different policy solutions. The course also has a strong emphasis on the accumulation of subject-specific concepts and vocabulary, as well as speaking the English language accurately, fluently, and in a manner appropriate to discussing complex issues at an advanced level.


Finally, Politics of Sustainability builds upon knowledge attained in the first semester course Globalization and Sustainability and the third semester course International Business and Sustainability, and complements the fourth semester course The Corporation in Society.  

Description of the teaching methods
The course consists of a combination of lectures and classes, with the latter organised around student presentations of the assigned texts. In each class session, a 10-15 minute student presentation (normally 2-3 students) forms the basis of the ensuing discussion of the text(s). Presentations and class discussions are meant to complement rather than repeat the readings. Furthermore, the presentations enable the teacher to give each student individual feedback, both on his/her grasp of the content and on proficiency in English. It should be stressed that the reading load is fairly demanding.

Students write three assignments during the course: The first is a set of slides prepared for a student presentation; the second a joint case assignment shared between the courses The Corporation in Society and Politics of Sustainability; and the third a draft of the introduction and proposed research question for the exam synopsis.
Feedback during the teaching period
Student feedback will occur regularly throughout the course via exercise classes, in which there will be weekly presentations by students as well as set questions on the texts. Written feedback will be provided on the slides students prepare for their presentations in class, as well as feedback on the oral performance. Written feedback will also be provided when the other assignments are returned. Students are also encouraged to participate fully and engage in two-way communication in exercise classes, and as far as possible lectures too. Lecturers will also strive to be readily available for a one-to-one dialogue in both lecture/lesson breaks and following each lecture/lesson. Students are also welcome to take advantage of office hours.
Student workload
Lectures 22 hours
Exercises 23 hours
Preparation and exams 161 hours
Total 206 hours
Further Information

Please note that the course will run the first time in Spring 2023.

Expected literature

To be announced on Canvas

Last updated on 28-06-2022