module specification

AC7070 - Fundamentals of CSR and Sustainability (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Fundamentals of CSR and Sustainability
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Coursework 40%   Group Assignment where each group will be given a current CSR issues and asked to research and present their findings
Coursework 60%   Individual essay of 3,000 words
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

The field of corporate social responsibility has practically transformed our world and reoriented the way organisations conduct and perceive their operational activities. Corporate managers and those who represent organisations are expected to behave ethically at all times. Modern societies now expect that solutions to our social and environmental problems cannot only be the prerogative of nation governments, businesses of the 21st century have a lot to contribute when finding solutions to these problems. The demands modern stakeholders put before organisations have continued to increase; tomorrow’s managers need to know how to meet these demands. Some scholars have in fact argued that corporate social responsibility has drawn our attention to some of the excesses which globalisation has brought unto the corporate scene in the 21st century. We have seen some unacceptable practices which have accompanied globalisation and consequently made the job of CSR and what it advocates much more difficult. Many things have been made a lot more challenging for everyone as a result of this. We cannot ignore the adverse impacts of these excesses. There are a number of unacceptable practices in the form of injustices and human rights abuses, extreme poverty in several nation states both - emerging and even some advanced nations, environmental degradation, some irresponsible and reckless practices by some corporate leaders and terrorism on a very large scale. In recent years, a number of social, economic and environmental problems have continued to cause concern to us all, for example; climate change, waste management and irresponsible use of our depletable resources just to mention a few. Sustainable Development is a buzzword in CSR, both corporate and individual citizens still need to demonstrate that they are serious in executing what sustainable development means to us, what it requires from us all and how the needs of future generations of all inhabitants of this planet would be met sustainably, these are issues tomorrow’s managers would need to know how to embed in corporate strategies. This module hopes to lay the foundation on how modern managers should address these and other CSR related issues.

Module aims

This module aims to:


  • Analyse Sustainable and Environmental reports of business and non-profit seeking organisations.
  • Enable students to understand the underlying issues involved in the CSR debate.
  • Enable students to understand the need for socially responsible behaviours on the part of individual and corporate citizens.
  • Enable students to understand the features which distinguish the socially responsible corporate entities from the socially irresponsible entities
  • Enable students to understand the ‘business case’ for CSR which suggests that socially and environmentally aware companies can expect to survive and prosper in any competitive business environment.
  • Enable students to understand the concept of Sustainable Development and how it should be weaved into operational practices of corporate entities.
  • Understand the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and business perspectives of the Goals.
  • Understand issues surrounding social innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Understand issues surrounding corporate governance, essential requirements of good governance and the UK Combined Code and Corporate Governance Codes in selected countries around the world.


The module will explore the following CSR issues:

  • Meaning and origins of corporate social responsibility.
  • Managing and implementing corporate social responsibility.
  • Corporate social responsibility and its theories.
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Socially Responsible Investment and the capital market
  • Corporate Social Responsibility around the world
  • Stakeholders and corporations
  • Business and society

Learning and teaching

This module will be delivered by a mixture of Lectures and Seminars with occasional use of guest lecturers invited from the industry and academia in order to give course participants a unique opportunity of understanding and blending in their minds how CSR continues to evolve in practice and what other academics are doing in CSR. Course materials and guest lecturers powerpoint slides will be put on WebLearn for students. In addition, the module leader will ensure that students on the course are updated with relevant CSR Journal articles on WebLearn for their use. Seminars will be student led in many cases which might require students being asked prior to the seminars to search for up to date articles on relevant topics of the lectures. This might involve them being asked to critically evaluate and debate key issues in the article.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate core issues surrounding CSR
  • Trace the history of CSR to its roots
  • Analyse and interpret CSR reports of organisations
  • Discuss the interrelationships between business and social responsibility
  • Debate the need for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Discuss the need for sustainable business models
  • Analyse the link between CSR and financial performance 
  • Explore how CSR is perceived and practiced around the globe
  • Discuss the need for social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Assessment strategy

There will be three in-course assignments which will be weighted as follows:

1. A Group Assignment where each group will be given a reasonably current CSR issues and asked to research and present their findings to the class with a weighting of 40%.
2. Individual essay of 3,000 words with a weighting of 60%


• Idowu, S O (ed.) Key Initiatives in Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer 2015
• Visser, W, CSR 2.0 Transforming Corporate Sustainability, Springer 2014
• Idowu, S O et al (Eds.) Sustainable Business Models: Principles, Promise and Practice Springer (2017)
• Aluchna, M and Idowu, S O (Eds.) The Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibility Springer (2017)
• Mitra, N and Schmidpeter, R Corporate Social Responsibility in India: Cases and Developments After the Legal Mandate, Springer
• Camilleri, M A (2017), Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, Springer International, Switzerland.
• Idowu, S O and Cheruiyot, T K (Eds.) Sustainable Development: Critical Sectors and Deprived Communities, Springer, 2017.
• O’Riordan, L (2017) Managing Stakeholder Relationships: Corporate Approaches to Responsible Management, Springer International, Switzerland.


• Journal of Business Ethics
• International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility
• Business & Society
• Corporate Governance: International Journal of Business in Society
• Social Responsibility Journal
• Business Ethics: A European Business Review
• International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation
• Society & Business Review