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2022/2023  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 15-02-2022

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 these 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



The central question this course explores is: What role can the private sector play in achieving development and sustainability aims?


The development agenda is dominated by the issues of poverty and sustainability which are understood from a variety of - often competing - approaches. It is also clear that Covid-19 has caused a substantial loss in development achievements and that, in all likelihood, the sustainable development goals will not be met by 2030. This course entails examining the private sector’s benefits, disbenefits and limitations in relation to development and sustainability. Thus, the course begins with a discussion of how we define development, sustainability and the private sector. It presents trends including the current status in relation to the SDGs. It introduces central theories concerning multidimensional poverty, weak and strong sustainability, Planetary Boundaries, ecosystem services and Nature’s Contribution for People. It also investigates emerging forward-looking thinking concerning nature-based initiatives and solutions as advanced by, among others, the United Nations.


These perspectives are related to individual themes and central issues concerning the private sector concentrating on the Bottom of the Pyramid approach, private sector education for the poor, health, Covid and equitable access to vaccines, gender empowerment and Fair Trade, microfinance, cash transfers, decent work and the clothing industry, innovation and the circular economy, technology and mobile money. It also looks at possible win-wins concerning nature-based tourism biodiversity and climate change. Geographically, the course draws on examples from Asia, 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
  1. Naim, M. (2000). Fads and fashion in economic reforms: Washington Consensus or Washington Confusion?. Third World Quarterly21(3), 505-528. 
  2. Ravallion, M (2016) The Economics of Poverty: History, Measurement and Policy. Chs. 1 + 2 (or indeed the entire book). Oxford Scholarship Online (Via Library)
  3. Sachs, J. D., Schmidt-Traub, G., Mazzucato, M., Messner, D., Nakicenovic, N., & Rockström, J. (2019). Six transformations to achieve the sustainable development goals. Nature Sustainability2(9), 805-814.
  4. 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.
  5. Nhamo, G., Chikodzi, D., Kunene, H. P., & Mashula, N. (2021). COVID-19 vaccines and treatments nationalism: Challenges for low-income countries and the attainment of the SDGs. Global public health16(3), 319-339.
  6. Yessoufou, A., Blok, V., & Omta, S. (2018). The process of entrepreneurial action at the base of the pyramid in developing countries: A case of vegetable farmers in Benin. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 30(1-2), 1-28.
  7. Hanlon, Joseph, et al. (2010) Ch 2 pro Poor Growth: Turning a $1 grant into $2  income. Just Give Money to the Poor: The Development Revolution from the       Global South, Lynne Rienner Publishers. 
  8. Ngugi, B., Pelowski, M. and Ogembo, J.G. (2010), M‐pesa: A Case Study of the  Critical Early Adopters’ Role in the Rapid Adoption of Mobile Money Banking in Kenya. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 43:1-16. doi: 10.1002/​j.1681-4835.2010.tb00307.x
  9. Laudal, T (2010) An Attempt to Determine the CSR Potential of the International Clothing Business Journal of Business Ethics  96:63-77
  10. Schröder, P., Lemille, A., & Desmond, P. (2020). Making the circular economy work for human development. Resources, Conservation & Recycling, 156, Resources, Conservation & Recycling, May 2020, Vol.156.
  11. Ange, Priya, Jérôme Ballet, Aurélie Carimentrand, and Kamala Marius. "Changing Women's Lives? (2019) Empowerment and Aspirations of Fair Trade Workers in South India." Journal of Global Ethics: Special Issue: Indian Global Ethics Initiative 15.1: 32-44. Web.
  12. 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 
  13. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Industry.
  14. 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
  15. UNDP. (2020). Human development report 2020. The next frontier: Human development and the Anthropocene. Ch. 6 Building Nature-based Human Development
  16. Kooijman, E. D., McQuaid, S., Rhodes, M. L., Collier, M. J., & Pilla, F. (2021). Innovating with nature: from nature-based solutions to nature-based enterprises. Sustainability13(3), 1263.
  17. Spenceley A and Goodwin H, (2007) Nature-Based Tourism and Poverty Alleviation: Impacts of Private Sector and Parastatal Enterprises In and Around Kruger National Park, South Africa, Current Issues in Tourism vol. 10 Nos. 2&3
  18. Hoogendoorn, G., Meintjes, D., Kelso, C., & Fitchett, J. (2019). Tourism as an incentive for rewilding: the conversion from cattle to game farms in Limpopo province, South Africa. Journal of Ecotourism18(4), 309-315.
Last updated on 15-02-2022