English   Danish

2023/2024  KAN-CCMVI2139U  Sustainable Maritime Business

English Title
Sustainable Maritime Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 30
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
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 22-11-2023

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 Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
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 Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
First retake: 72-hour home assignment, 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

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 30 hours
Preparation 128 hours
Exam 48 hours
Further Information

3-week course that cannot be combined with any other course.


Preliminary Assignment: The course coordinator uploads Preliminary Assignment on Canvas at the end of May. It is expected that students participate as it will be included in the final exam, but the assignment is without independent assessment and grading.

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 22-11-2023