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Sustainable Business Practices


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 3500-word individual report (100%)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to the issue of sustainability at the organisational level. It will define what is meant by the concept, focusing on environmental, social, economic and human challenges, but with an emphasis on how organisations respond (or fail to respond) to these challenges. It will engage in critical debate about economic models, engaging you in intellectual debate about the current economic system that prioritises economic growth. This will lead to debate and discussion about alternative models and organisational forms that can provide solutions to the global sustainability challenges that we are facing. The module will therefore address questions such as what does it mean for a business to be sustainable; what are the differences between a business and other types of organisation; what is sustainable performance and how is it measured and communicated; and is sustainability actually achievable at the level of a single organisation?

Indicative module syllabus

  • Definitions, frameworks and business models for sustainability
  • Why sustainability is good for business
  • Business and regulation: government policy, international agreements, and what needs to change to address sustainability through rethinking the economy
  • Role of partnerships: how businesses can work in partnership with key actors including the commercial sector, government and non-profit actors to bring about change to address sustainability challenges
  • Sustainability in supply chains and value chains: business models and processes for sourcing, producing and consuming sustainably
  • Resource use and the circular economy
  • Environmental management and assessment tools
  • Environmental reporting and communication: how to communicate sustainability strategies and goals to internal and external stakeholders
  • Developing a sustainability plan: how to create and implement a sustainability action plan

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the impact of global economic, social and environmental pressures on business
  • critically discuss definitions, frameworks and business models around sustainability
  • understand and evaluate the changes that organisations are required to make to transition to a more sustainable business model
  • examine risks and opportunities associated with sustainable business, including those linked to regulations, partnerships, supply chains and value chains
  • evaluate approaches taken by organisations to environmental reporting and communication
  • develop a sustainability action plan for implementation across an organisation.