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2023/2024  BA-BHAAV2310U  Sustainable Maritime Business

English Title
Sustainable Maritime Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Michele Acciaro - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Globalisation and international business
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 08-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course, the students should be able to:
  • Describe, identify, and critically contribute to current academic, policy and industry debates on sustainability in the context of maritime business
  • Describe, structure, and identify solutions for strategic and operational issues related to sustainability in shipping and maritime logistics
  • Describe, apply, and combine the concepts, theories, methods of strategic management, economics, and international business in relation to a sustainable shipping
  • Identify and develop relevant strategic choices in relation to sustainability in shipping
  • Define and analyse the strategic alternatives offered by the emergence of sustainability-related technologies in shipping
  • Understand, identify, describe, and analyse innovation processes in international shipping
  • Assess and communicate the solution of problems and thus be able to focus on decision making and the use of strategic tools in situations with conflicting objectives
Course prerequisites
Sustainable Maritime Business:
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 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Assignment type Essay
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 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 second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Students who are sick for the oral exam can submit the same written product. If the entire group fails a new product can be submitted or an edited version of the already submitted product can be submitted.
Description of the exam procedure

Students need to select a maritime business and discuss how sustainability is impacting the business. The company choices will be agreed upon with the lecturer in class. Guidelines on the issues to be considered when writing the assignment will be provided.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

This course provides an in-depth understanding of the role of sustainability for the competitiveness of maritime companies. Sustainability, and in particular environmental sustainability, has grown in importance for all shipping sectors in the last decade. Shipping companies are facing increasing business complexity due to the climate crisis, stricter environmental and social regulations, increasing public scrutiny and greater ecological awareness and value orientation.


While shipping has traditionally been characterised by low levels of social responsibility, lax environmental regulation, and enforcement, and generally a short-term profit orientation, more and more companies have embraced sustainability, either as an integral part of their business strategy or in response to pressure from regulators, customers or other stakeholders. Whether in relation to the introduction of new technologies, decarbonisation, or the impact of Covid-19 on seafarers' welfare, the importance of developing a sustainable strategy in every aspect of the shipping business cannot be overlooked. In particular, environmental regulations and decarbonisation are likely to trigger structural changes in the shipping industry and require managers to face an increasingly complex business environment. In this changing context, shipping companies need to be able to assess and implement new strategies and innovate to ensure compliance and sustainable growth.


The course provides advanced shipping business knowledge placed in the context of a rapidly changing regulatory and economic context. It aids students in reflecting on some of the biggest challenges to business and identify how the shipping sector needs to transform to better respond to the needs of its customers and stakeholders. The course highlights the tension between short-term profitability, that is often driving shipping companies, and longer-term societal goals that should be rooted on sustainable development principles. During the course, students learn to make complex business decisions under uncertainty, evaluate innovative approaches to address sustainability issues in the shipping industry, communicate the need for change and drive change in their future organisations.


The curriculum is structured in two modules covering (1) the role of sustainability considerations in shaping a shipping firm’s strategy, including innovation, corporate social responsibility and long-term environmental commitments; (2) how sustainability issues are affecting operations, through regulatory compliance, uptake of new technologies and responding to customer demands. Module 1 looks at how sustainability is an integral part of corporate strategy in shipping and how shipping companies can use sustainability to increase their competitiveness. The role of innovation is particularly important in this context. Module 1 discusses how companies can take advantage of changes in the external environment and internal resources and how sustainability affects the strategic positioning of the company. In Module 2, students learn how sustainability affects shipping operations, with a focus on decarbonisation and environmental compliance. Both modules address sustainability in shipping, building on different disciplines. This ensures that students are able to gain management insights when considering technological, operational, regulatory, and geopolitical developments.


Each session combines theoretical readings with case study discussions on existing sustainability challenges for shipping companies and encourages students to understand and apply abstract frameworks but also discuss their limitations. The students will learn how to integrate ideas and concepts to solve complex realistic problems. They will also learn how to select and acquire relevant knowledge for solving sustainability challenges related to shipping. Through the analysis of how sustainability issues have been dealt with, students explore how executives were able to recognize opportunities for innovations and translate them into strategy or adapt their operations to account for the changed environment.

Description of the teaching methods
Teaching methods include case study analysis, group discussions and lectures, based on frontal teaching and blended learning. Students are expected to prepare readings and cases prior to each session and actively participate in class.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given in class in group work based on group discussions and presentation.
Student workload
Lecture 38 hours
Preparation 120 hours
Exam 48 hours
Expected literature
  • Acciaro, M. (2014). Real option analysis for environmental compliance: LNG and emission control areas. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment28, 41-50.
  • Acciaro, M. (2022). Sustainable Maritime Business, Lecture notes.
  • Christodoulou, A., & Cullinane, K. (2022). Potential alternative fuel pathways for compliance with the ‘FuelEU Maritime Initiative’. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment112, 103492
  • Dirzka, C., & Acciaro, M. (2021). Principal-agent problems in decarbonizing container shipping: A panel data analysis. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment98, 102948.
  • Lun, Y. V., Lai, K. H., Wong, C. W., & Cheng, T. E. (2016). Green shipping management. New York: Springer.
  • Pomaska, L., & Acciaro, M. (2022). Bridging the Maritime-Hydrogen Cost-Gap: Real options analysis of policy alternatives. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment107, 103283.
  • Psaraftis, H. N., Amboy, P., & Psaraftis. (2019). Sustainable shipping. Berlin: Springer International Publishing.
Last updated on 08-02-2023