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2023/2024  KAN-CCMVV2314U  Sustainability Action in Food Production and Consumption

English Title
Sustainability Action in Food Production and Consumption

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
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Maria Figueroa - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Customer behaviour
  • Innovation
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 16-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • critically discuss the key challenges of food systems transformation in connection with resource use in agriculture, energy, water, waste and recycling systems, and biodiversity; identify their socio-technical, business and regulatory components; and examine their development and interconnections
  • develop a system-level perspective that takes an integrative approach towards the sustainability actions transitioning food production and consumption areas covered in the course
  • apply science, technology and business management approaches and assessment tools covered in the course in a ‘capstone food project’ to examine a specific company approach, lifestyle food practices, consumer behavioral change and other societal ‘food sustainability transformative actions
  • in the capstone food project: present relevant facts and context of the selected ‘sustainability action’; identify the key problems, stakeholders and interactions; justify your choice of approaches and relevant data;
  • assess the societal, technological, business and regulatory elements in your capstone project food action; critically reflect upon the approaches you select to use; and provide suggestions for improving these approaches to better fit the problem at hand.
Course prerequisites
DTU students and other Master University students can enroll at CBS via exchange credit.

This course is offered in parallel and as complement to Sustainability Action: Reversing Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss.
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
Compulsory home assignments
Group assignment following capstone group formation
The assignment is to prepare an presentation about the group capstone project selected topic and expected project methodology
The number of students follows the capstone groups 3-4 students
Slide presentation minimum 3 slides per group must be uploaded and will be followed by faculty feedback

The student will not have extra attempts to get the required number of compulsory activities approved prior to the ordinary exam. If the student has not received approval for the required number of compulsory activities or has been ill, the student cannot participate in ordinary exam. Prior to the retake the student will be given an extra attempt. The extra attempt is a 10 page home assignment that will cover the required number of compulsory activities. If approved, the student will be able to attend retake. Please note that students must have made an effort in the allocated assignments thoughout the course. Students that do not participate in the assignments (no show/U) are not entitled to the extra assignment and will have to wait until the next ordinary exam to complete the course.
Sustainability Action in Food Production and Consumption:
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 Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Definition of number of pages:
Groups of
2 students 10 pages max.
3 students 15 pages max
4 students 20 pages max

Note that the exam is a group exam. If you are not able to find a group yourself, you have to address the course coordinator who will place you in a group.
Assignment type Project
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
Re-take exam is to be based on the same report as the ordinary exam:

* if a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written group product she/he does not have to submit a new product for the re-take.

* if a whole group fails the oral exam they must hand in a revised product for the re-take.

* if one student in the group fails the oral exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have the oral exam on the basis of the same product or if he/she has to hand in a revised product for the re- take.
Description of the exam procedure

In the Capstone Project, students from the participating universities will work in mixed groups to examine a specific food sustainability action. It can be in connection with a food company case, a consumer behavior change or other food system transition challenge. The project should follow a systemic approach covered in the course.

Student groups for the capstone project will be formed in connection with their affiliation in different participant universities. Group participants will be drawn randomly from the list of class attendees. The selection of the food system cases assigned will take place according to a balance of company cases and societal transition topic cases. 

In the report, they will be asked to present relevant facts and context of the selected food system action in transition to sustainability; identify the key problems, stakeholders and interactions; justify the choice of approaches and relevant data; use the chosen approaches to analyze the food challenge; assessing existing and/or suggesting when posible alternative actions that combine scientific, technological, business and regulatory elements; critically reflecting upon the approaches taken and providing suggestions for improving these approaches to better fit the problem at hand.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The food production and consumption systems account for much of the global pressures on climate and biodiversity loss, health, and persistent socio-economic problems. Rapid and ambitious transformational action to change food systems locally and globally are necessary over the short run and for next several decades. Actions include adopting plant-rich diets, increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. Without transformative action in  food production and consumption it will be extremely difficult to reverse climate change and biodiversity loss. Business, government and civil society are engaging with these actions. With the growth in world population more food is needed. Diets and consumption patterns are also changing as countries become more affluent. Crop yields increases are unevenly distributed in the world and linked to rapid biodiversity loss. No single actor or solution can transform food systems toward sustainability on its own. A momentous global commitment was reached with the adoption of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and the Biodiversity action in 2022, with countries choosing to tackle major development challenges while working toward delivering a future where nature and people can thrive. These challenges have global and local, financial, managerial, political, social and environmental components. Tackling them require strong, trustworthy and long-lasting partnerships between the private and public sectors, or multi-stakeholder initiatives involving non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, venture capital and universities.


There is an increasing need, and demand for, managers and employees who have specialist skills, and who can also operate in multi-disciplinary teams. They need to have developed a common language and understanding with specialists in other fields so they can bridge the gaps between science, technology and business solutions to sustainability.


'Sustainability Action in Food Production and Consumption builds upon knowledge and discussions advanced in the companion course 'Sustainability Action: Reversing Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss" to examine specific challenges of Food production and consumption in interrelation with other systems: Energy; Water, Agriculture, Waste & Recycling; and Natural and Biodiversity resources. Lectures will be combined with group work and a Capstone Food Project. In the Capstone Food Project groups of students will examine a specific action (within a company case an individual behavioural change or a societal transformational case) and assess existing challenges and societal implications. 


The Sustainability Actions courses are taught by faculty members and includes students from CBS, KU, DTU and other Universities.  The aim is to provide a new generation of specialist professionals with the relevant skills to properly operate and communicate in multi-disciplinary teams that seek to tackle and find innovative solutions to the complex sustainability challenges society and business face. 

Description of the teaching methods
In person and online lectures, group work and simulation exercises
group work on capstone project
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback is offered as follows: 1. in class usually at the beginning and end of each lecture there will be an open Q&A session; in addition to feedback offered in interaction with students during class and following group exercises during class time 2. as students work in their final capstone group written report. 3. during office hours for all the faculty involved in this course
Student workload
lectures and group work in class 30 hours
in-class project supervision 6 hours
class preparation and capstone project work 170 hours
Further Information

This course is taught in connection with Sustainability Action: Reversing Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss".  Taking the two courses is mandatory for students wishing to obtain the COSI ‘Joint Certificate in Sustainability: Science, Technology and Business' (CBS/KU/DTU)


The certificate is assigned by a joint COSI committee from the three participating universities. To obtain the certificate, students need to pass the two Sustainability Action  courses.


For more info on this initiative, please contact the coordinator for this class or see: http://cosiuni.weebly.com


Students not seeking to obtain the joint certificate can also take each course as self-standing electives

Expected literature
Last updated on 16-02-2023