module specification

AC7070 - Fundamentals of CSR and Sustainability (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
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 200
12 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
152 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Individual Essay of 3,000 words
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

The field of corporate social responsibility has practically transformed our world and reoriented the way corporate entities conduct and perceive their operational activities. Corporate managers and those who represent corporate entities are expected to always behave ethically. 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 corporate entities 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 because of this. We cannot ignore the adverse impacts of these excesses. There are several 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 we 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 sustainably met; these are issues tomorrow’s managers would need to know how to embed in corporate strategies. This module aims to lay the foundation on how modern managers should address these and other CSR related issues.


Note: If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the School reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the School cancels a module it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative.

Prior learning requirements



The module will explore the following CSR issues:


  • Meaning and origins of corporate social responsibility, and the evaluation of core issues, policy and legislation surrounding CSR. (LO1)
  • Managing and implementing corporate social responsibility, identifying risks and opportunities. (LO2)
  • Corporate social responsibility and its theories.
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals (LO4)
  • Socially Responsible Investment and the capital market (LO5)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility around the world (LO6)
  • Stakeholders and corporations (LO3)
  • Business and society (LO3)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching is delivered through a weekly two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar, with the total student contact time of 3 hours per week over 12 weeks. Lectures will introduce key topics related to CSR and Sustainability concepts, theories, policies and practice.  . 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. 


Student learning is further supported by the virtual learning environment, Weblearn, where students can find additional learning material including lecture slides, reading list, details of assessment and feedback.

Learning outcomes

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


1. Critically evaluate core issues, policy and legislation surrounding CSR

2. Analyse and interpret CSR reports of corporate entities.

3. Discuss the interrelationships between business and society.

4. Discuss the need for sustainable business models.

5. Analyse the link between CSR and financial performance. 

6. Explore how CSR is perceived and practiced around the globe.


Reading List Talis Link:

Core Texts:

Idowu, S O and Sitnikov, C (Eds.) Essential Issues in Corporate Social Responsibility 2019.

Idowu, S O et al (Eds.) ISO 26000: A Standardised view on CSR Practices, Cases and Controversies 2018.

Additional Texts:

Aluchna, M and Idowu, S O (Eds.) The Dynamics of Corporate Social Responsibility Springer (2017)

Camilleri, M (Ed.) Corporate Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 2018.

Idowu, S O (ed.) Key Initiatives in Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer 2015

Idowu, S O et al (Eds.) Sustainable Business Models: Principles, Promise and Practice Springer (2017)

Idowu, S O et al (Eds.) ISO 26000, Springer 2017

Idowu, S O et al (Eds.), People, Planet and Profit, Gower 2014.

Idowu, S O et al (Ed.) The Future of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Business Perspectives for Global Development 2019.

Mitra, N and Schmidpeter, R (Eds.) CSR in India: Cases, and Development after legal mandate 2017.

Moratis, L et al (Eds.) Sustainable Business Models: Principles, Promise and Practice 2018

O’Riordan, L (Ed.) Managing Stakeholder Relationships 2017.

Visser, W, CSR 2.0 Transforming Corporate Sustainability, Springer 2014


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

International Journal of Responsible Management in Emerging Economies