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2023/2024  KAN-CCBLV2304U  Sustainability, Disasters and the Private Sector

English Title
Sustainability, Disasters 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
  • International political economy
  • Political Science
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 08-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course, and based on a thorough knowledge of the reading, the students should be able to:
  • Account for the most important concepts in relation to Disaster Risk Reduction, sustainability and development.
  • Connect themes (mitigation, vulnerability and adaption) relating to global, regional, national and local levels.
  • Analyze the leading issues (corporate social responsibility, the sustainable development goals, climate change loss and damage, and rights issues) relating to the course themes and the private sector.
  • Discuss and critically reflect upon these concepts, themes and issues,
Course prerequisites
A background within the social sciences
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 1
Sustainability, Disasters 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 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Five pages per student. Hence, four students max. 20 pages, three students max. 15 pages, and two students max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn and Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The private sector is increasingly concerned about the implications disasters have for their short and long term strategies and their responsibilities. Recent heatwaves, famines and flooding are clear evidence that significant climate change is already taking place. Furthermore, we have seen an increase in zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19 and Ebola as a result of land use change and human pressures on ecosystems. Thus disasters have become salient issues for firms working in the 21st century. 


The first part of the course will introduce students to theories about disasters and key themes such as mitigation, vulnerability and adaption and the role of the private sector in disasters.


The second part will link these theories and issues to more specific examples such as how firms can mitigate there negative influence on the environment (e.g. achieving net zero emissions), in what way their enterprises will be vulnerable to climate change both in terms of their workforces and supply chains, and how they will adapt to present and future circumstances. This includes examining their business continuty strategies involving mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters ranging from global (such as Covid-19) to local levels.


In the third part, the course will critically examine issues related to the responsibilities the private sector has in relation to disasters and the positive roles they might play. In this part of the course, the emphasis will be on corporate social responsibility, the sustainable development goals, climate change loss and damage, and rights issues.



Description of the teaching methods
The course will require approximately 800 pages of reading and will be based around the core themes and issues.

Lectures sessions will be a combination of lectures, student presentations and class discussions. Student presentations will be based on specific questions related to each of the lectures’ theme and last max. 10-15 minutes. Fellow students will be assigned the task of being discussants thereby providing constructive feedback. Students will be responsible for preparing, presenting and taking part in the discussions of the cases. Class discussions are an integral part of the course and all students should prepare and be ready to discuss the issues and related questions.

Students are encouraged to use peer-to-peer feedback as a part of the learning process, e.g. in smaller study groups.The course includes ‘teacher-to-student’ and ‘student-to-student’ feedback. Student feedback will occur regularly throughout the course, e.g. via the student presentations, as will the teacher's. Students are also encouraged to form smaller study groups as part of the preparation for classes, exams and meeting the learning objectives.
Feedback during the teaching period
Student workload
Class 30 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Exams 50 hours
Further Information

Nordic Nine

Knowledge: Clear relation between disasters and the private sector, data included in texts, ambiguity in terms of dilemmas

Values: CSR, Loss and Damage, Rights, consequences of disasters for business and society. Gender issues.

Action: Climate change is a problem for present and future generations: What can businesses do – adaption, mitigation? Effects on local communities: climate change generally but also SMEs and gender issues.

Expected literature

Indicative reading 



1. Introduction: Disasters and Sustainable Development I 

What is a disaster, where are they and what can we expect? Collins, Andrew E., (2009) Disasters and Development, Routledge, Oxon Chapters 1-4 inclusive. 

2. Disasters and Sustainable Development II
Collins, Andrew E., (2009) Disasters and Development, Routledge, Oxon Chapters 5-Conclusion inclusive.


3 Overviews: Disasters and the Private Sector

Izumi, T., Shaw, R. (2015). Overview and Introduction of the Private Sector’s Role in Disaster Management. In: Izumi, T., Shaw, R. (eds) Disaster Management and Private Sectors. Disaster Risk Reduction. Springer, Tokyo. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​978-4-431-55414-1_1

Johnson, D.A.K., Abe, Y. (2015). Global Overview on the Role of the Private Sector in Disaster Risk Reduction: Scopes, Challenges, and Potentials. In: Izumi, T., Shaw, R. (eds) Disaster Management and Private Sectors. Disaster Risk Reduction. Springer, Tokyo. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​978-4-431-55414-1_2


4. Mitigation: Renewable Energy

Bodomo, A. (2018). Is China Colonizing Africa?: Africa–China Relations in a Shifting Global Economic Governance System. In Global Economic Governance and Human Development (pp. 120-133). Routledge.

Bhamidipati, P. L., Gregersen, C., Hansen, U. E., Kirchherr, J., & Lema, R. (2021). Chinese green energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa: Are there co-benefits?. In Building Innovation Capabilities for Sustainable Industrialisation (pp. 205-223). Routledge.


5 Vulnerability: Gender and SMEs in SSA


Gannon, K. E., Castellano, E., Eskander, S., Agol, D., Diop, M., Conway, D., & Sprout, E. (2022). The triple differential vulnerability of female entrepreneurs to climate risk in sub‐Saharan Africa: Gendered barriers and enablers to private sector adaptation. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change13(5), e793.



7 Adaption 


Goldstein, A., Turner, W.R., Gladstone, J. et al. The private sector’s climate change risk and adaptation blind spots. Nature Clim Change 9, 18–25 (2019). https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1038/​s41558-018-0340-5



Clark-Ginsberg, A. (2020). Disaster risk reduction is not ‘everyone's business’: Evidence from three countries. International journal of disaster risk reduction43, 101375.


Sarmiento, J. P., Hoberman, G., Ilcheva, M., Asgary, A., Majano, A. M., Poggione, S., & Duran, L. R. (2015). Private sector and disaster risk reduction: the cases of Bogota, Miami, Kingston, San Jose, 

Santiago, and Vancouver. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction14, 225-237.


8 Business Continuity Planning


Shaw, R. (2018). Role of private sectors in disaster risk reduction: Potential and challenges. Journal of Disaster Research13(7), 1207-1212.


Andrew, S. A., Chatterjee, V., & Webb, G. (2022). Disasters and the Private Sector: Impact of Extreme Events, Preparedness, and Contribution to Disaster Risk Reduction. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Natural Hazard Science.


9. Supply Chain Resilience

Abe, M., & Ye, L. (2013). Building Resilient Supply Chains against Natural Disasters: The Cases of Japan and Thailand. Global Business Review14(4), 567–586. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1177/​0972150913501606

Perwaiz, A. (2015). Thailand Floods and Impact on Private Sector. In: Izumi, T., Shaw, R. (eds) Disaster Management and Private Sectors. Disaster Risk Reduction. Springer, Tokyo. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​978-4-431-55414-1_14

Haraguchi, M., & Lall, U. (2015). Flood risks and impacts: A case study of Thailand’s floods in 2011 and research questions for supply chain decision making. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction14, 256-272.


10. Zoonatic diseases: Ebola


Bali, S. (2016). 'Fearonomics' and the Role of the Private Sector in the Nigerian Ebola Response (Doctoral dissertation, Duke University).


Novelli, M., Burgess, L. G., Jones, A., & Ritchie, B. W. (2018). ‘No Ebola… still doomed’–The Ebola-induced tourism crisis. Annals of Tourism Research70, 76-87.



11. Zoonotic diseases: Covid-19, Organizations and the workforce.


Raghavan, A., Demircioglu, M. A., & Orazgaliyev, S. (2021). COVID-19 and the new normal of organizations and employees: An overview. Sustainability13(21), 11942.


Maity, S., Sen, N., & Sahu, T. N. (2020). COVID-19: Triggers fear psychosis among private sector employees. Journal of Labor and Society23(4), 503-513.


11. Zoonotic diseases: Covid-19 and supply chains


Atkinson, C. L., McCue, C., Prier, E., & Atkinson, A. M. (2020). Supply chain manipulation, misrepresentation, and magical thinking during the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Review of Public Administration50(6-7), 628-634.


Aday, S., & Aday, M. S. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on the food supply chain. Food Quality and Safety4(4), 167-180.


Ishida, S. (2020). Perspectives on supply chain management in a pandemic and the post-COVID-19 era. IEEE Engineering Management Review48(3), 146-152.



12 Corporate Social Responsibility

Mbanyele, W., & Muchenje, L. T. (2022). Climate change exposure, risk management and corporate social responsibility: Cross-country evidence. Journal of Multinational Financial Management, 100771.

Ozkan, A., Temiz, H., & Yildiz, Y. (2022). Climate Risk, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Firm Performance. British Journal of Management.

Fu, P., Qu, Q., Yang, B., & Jiang, H. (2020). Responsible management with Chinese characteristics. In Research handbook of responsible management (pp. 304-317). Edward Elgar Publishing.

He, Z., Guo, B., Shi, Y., & Zhao, Y. (2022). Natural disasters and CSR: Evidence from China. Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, 101777.



13. Loss and damage


Toussaint, P., & Blanco, A. M. (2021). A human rights-based approach to loss and damage under the climate change regime. In The Third Pillar of International Climate Change Policy (pp. 90-104). Routledge.


Geetanjali Ganguly, Joana Setzer, Veerle Heyvaert, If at First You Don’t Succeed: Suing Corporations for Climate Change, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Volume 38, Issue 4, Winter 2018, Pages 841–868, https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1093/​ojls/​gqy029


Linnerooth-Bayer, J., Surminski, S., Bouwer, L.M., Noy, I., Mechler, R. (2019). Insurance as a Response to Loss and Damage?. In: Mechler, R., Bouwer, L., Schinko, T., Surminski, S., Linnerooth-Bayer, J. (eds) Loss and Damage from Climate Change. Climate Risk Management, Policy and Governance. Springer, Cham. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​978-3-319-72026-5_21


14 Dilemmas, Rights and Justice


Gregersen, C. T. T. (2022). Local learning and capability building through technology transfer: Experiences from the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya. Innovation and Development12(2), 209-230.

Cormack, Z., & Kurewa, A. (2018). The changing value of land in Northern Kenya: the case of Lake Turkana Wind Power. Critical African Studies10(1), 89-107.



15: Conclusion






Last updated on 08-02-2023