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2023/2024  BA-BHAAI1107U  Sustainability for Social Justice: Business Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging Markets

English Title
Sustainability for Social Justice: Business Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging Markets

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 30
Max. participants 100
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Jacobo Ramirez - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
For academic questions related to the course, please contact course responsible Jacobo Ramirez (jara.msc@cbs.dk).
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Globalisation and international business
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 22-11-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
In this course, we aim to equip students with a nuanced understanding of the interconnected realms of sustainability and social justice, particularly in the context of emerging markets. The course is designed to provide students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. By the end of the course, students should be able to achieve the following learning objectives:
  • Define the multidimensional concepts that underlie sustainability and social justice.
  • Compare and contrast sustainable development from the perspectives of local communities, businesses, and governments in emerging markets.
  • Discuss the interconnections between businesses' economic growth, sustainability, and shared risks associated with climate change.
  • Apply sustainability and social justice frameworks to concrete cases involving local firm business strategies and management in emerging markets, and assess their respective relevance and applicability.
Course prerequisites
Sustainability for Social Justice: Business Opportunities and Challenges in Emerging Markets:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Release of assignment An assigned subject is released in class
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Retake exam: 72-hour home assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question.
If the number of registered candidates for the make-up examination/re-take examination warrants that it may most appropriately be held as an oral examination, the programme office will inform the students that the make-up examination/re-take examination will be held as an oral examination instead.
Description of the exam procedure

Home assignment written in parallel with the course.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Sustainability and social justice are interconnected concepts, particularly within the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation. While sustainability is framed in terms of ecological, economic, and social dimensions, social justice encompasses elements such as distributive justice, procedural justice, and cosmopolitan justice. In this course, we will explore how sustainability and social justice have evolved from isolated considerations to interrelated frameworks that jointly influence policy decisions. Discussions will focus on understanding sustainable development through the diverse worldviews of local communities, businesses, and governments in emerging markets. The course aims not only to examine sustainability from ecological and economic perspectives but also to incorporate ethical and social considerations, particularly issues of intergenerational fairness and justice.

The course will specifically discuss and contrast the concept of sustainability for social justice within the operations of both local and multinational corporations (MNCs) in emerging markets. It will frame these discussions in the context of the unintended impacts that business investments can have on biodiversity, human rights, and global value chains. Special attention will be given to the challenges businesses face in mitigating and adapting to climate change within their operations.

The course seeks to equip students with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the intricacies of sustainability, with a special emphasis on human rights, biodiversity, and global value chains in emerging markets. Supported by academic theory and real-world case studies, the course will adopt a holistic, social-sciences perspective on current sustainability concepts. This comprehensive approach will facilitate the design and evaluation of governmental and corporate policies and practices, with the aim of contributing to a more equitable and sustainable future.

Description of the teaching methods
This course is designed to employ a pedagogical framework that closely aligns with the learning objectives outlined. The principal teaching-learning strategy is the case study approach, aimed at developing a holistic, social-sciences perspective on current sustainability and social justice concepts.

1. Individual Readings and Reflective Activities: These will help students define the multidimensional concepts underlying sustainability and social justice, meeting the first learning objective.
2. Case Studies and Group Discussions: Through collaborative analyses of case studies, students will have the opportunity to compare and contrast sustainable development from the perspectives of local communities, businesses, and governments in emerging markets.
3. Capstone Case Study Project: In teams, students will apply sustainability and social justice frameworks to concrete cases of local firm business strategies and management in emerging markets. These case studies will delve into the interconnections of businesses' economic growth, sustainability, and shared risk associated with climate change.

Through these teaching methods, students will practice and apply theory to real-world problems. They will collaboratively identify and clarify the problems presented, analyze the information in each case, formulate and evaluate options, and present and defend their recommendations. The ultimate goal is to cultivate students' critical thinking, information analysis, and problem-solving skills, allowing them to assume a key role in their own learning process.
Feedback during the teaching period
To ensure alignment with the course's learning objectives, multiple avenues for student feedback will be integrated throughout the instructional design. These include:

1. In-Class Case Study Discussions: These will offer real-time feedback on students' abilities to compare and contrast sustainable development perspectives, directly related to the second learning objective.
2. Regular Participation and Two-Way Communication in Lectures: Active engagement in lectures will offer ongoing feedback on the understanding and application of multidimensional concepts underlying sustainability and social justice, corresponding to the first learning objective.
3. Office Hours: Designated office hours will provide an opportunity for more in-depth discussion on how to apply sustainability and social justice frameworks to real-world situations, thereby meeting the third and fourth learning objectives.

Students are encouraged to avail themselves of these feedback mechanisms to further enrich their learning experiences. In addition, the lecturer will be readily available for one-to-one dialogue during lecture breaks and following each lecture session to address any queries or concerns, thereby ensuring a continuous feedback circle.
Student workload
Teaching 38 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Exam 35 hours
Further Information

6-week course.


Preliminary assignment: The Nordic Nine pre-course is foundational for the summer university and identical for all bachelor courses. Students will receive an invitation with all details by the end of May.The assignment has two parts. 1.) online lectures and tutorials that student can access at their own time and 2.) one synchronous workshop which will be offered both online and in-person at several dates and times before the official start of the summer university courses. Sign-up is first come first serve. All students are expected to complete this assignment before classes begin.




Expected literature

1. Carbajo, R., & Cabeza, L. F. (2019). Sustainability and social justice dimension indicators for applied renewable energy research: A responsible approach proposal. Applied Energy, 252, 113429. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1016/​j.apenergy.2019.113429

2. Casanova, & Miroux, A. (2022). Emerging Market Multinationals Report 2021: Building the Future on ESG Excellence. Emerging Markets Institute, Cornell University. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.7298/​cvhn-dc87

3. Hahn. (2022). Sustainability management: global perspectives on concepts, instruments, and stakeholders  (First edition.). Hahn Rüdiger.

4. Harrington. (2016). Sustainability Theory and Conceptual Considerations: A Review of Key Ideas for Sustainability, and the Rural Context. Papers in Applied Geography, 2(4), 365–382. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1080/​23754931.2016.1239222

5. Hoffman. (1991). Business and Environmental Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 1(2), 169–184. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.2307/​3857261

6. Ina Aust, Michael Muller-Camen, & Erik Poutsma. (2018). Sustainable HRM: a comparative and international perspective. In Handbook of Research on Comparative Human Resource Management (pp. 358–370). Edward Elgar Publishing. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.4337/​9781784711139.00026

7. Purvis, Mao, Y., & Robinson, D. (2019). Three pillars of sustainability: in search of conceptual origins. Sustainability Science, 14(3), 681–695. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​s11625-018-0627-5

8. Ramirez, J. (2021). Contentious Dynamics Within the Social Turbulence of Environmental (In)justice Surrounding Wind Energy Farms in Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Business Ethics169(3), 387-404. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​s10551-019-04297-3 

9. Winston, M. (2011). Sustainability and social justice. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(16), 33-38, https:/​/​citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/​document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=9aecfff9e0950a0f64c75ecd6e0508b819a508ab


Last updated on 22-11-2023