module specification

BL7001 - CSR and Environmental Law (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title CSR and Environmental Law
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 10%   An in-class presentation of a journal article, chosen by the lecturers, during weeks 6-8
Group Coursework 30%   A group simulation exercise
Coursework 60%   An individual essay: 2,000 words
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

Many argue that the crisis of environmental and sustainability is a crisis of governance and law and the challenges of economic growth and development.
Stemming the tide of natural resource depletion, environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity requires an urgent revision of global, national, and local decision-making mechanisms.  The challenges of reaching consensus and the limitations of international law enforcement when addressing on global environmental issues is clear.
In more recent times, the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is seen as a possible gap between the enforcement or imposition of hard law and the need to implement environmental strategies and issues including climate change. The application of environmental law and policy through contractual agreements that embody CSR norms has become an effective way to imbed CSR within a legal framework.
This module aims to critically evaluate the relationship between environmental law and CSR norms and the prospects for effective global environmental governance. The module explores and evaluates this relationship within the context of the legal (governance), corporate, ethical, and financial aspects.

Module aims

This module aims to :

  • introduce students to critical legal, corporate, ethical, and financial aspects of global environmental governance/ law
  • critically analyse the role and impact of CSR theories and its application to environmental law as an incorporating tool
  • critically evaluate the prospects for effective environmental governance with respect to climate change and sustainability
  • equip students with the substantive knowledge and critical thinking skills required to engage with sustainability issues in a professional context.


We look at the following interrelated themes:

  • Overview of legal environmental principles
  • Selected topical environmental issues e.g.
    o Climate change law
    o International environmental law
    o International economic law and the environment
    o Global environmental governance
    o Environmental law and ethics
  • Voluntary environmental initiatives.
  • CSR theories, ISO 26000, international guidelines
  • CSR, environmental law – perspectives – industrial and developing economies

Learning and teaching

In weeks 1-5 there will be five workshop/lecture sessions delivered by the module tutors and guest speakers. These sessions will introduce students to the economic, ethical, legal and corporate dimensions of global environmental governance and the role and impact of CSR.
During the first five weeks students will also begin to prepare for the group simulation exercise that takes place in week 10. During weeks 6-8 students will present analyses of journal articles chosen by the lecturing team. The presentations in weeks 6-8 will be given in groups of two or three (*subject to group size). The simulation exercise is a group exercise in which students represent competing interests in a simulated government level climate change conference. This exercise is partly scripted and partly improvised. Beginning in week three there will also be individual and small group meetings to discuss the individual essay. The module will be supported by Weblearn.

Learning outcomes

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

  • understand nature and scope of environmental law
  • apply knowledge of CSR concepts to environmental law and governance
  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of the legal, corporate, and ethical aspects of global environmental governance (GEG)
  • understand, analyse and apply theories of negotiation involving simulation and role-play.
  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of CSR theories and concepts

Assessment strategy

The assessment for the module has three parts:

  1. An in-class presentation of a journal article, chosen by the lecturers, during weeks 6-8 (10%)
  2. A group simulation exercise in week 10 (see section 14) (30%)
  3. An individual essay: 2,000 words, due in week 15 (60%)

Assessment 1 provides an opportunity for formative feedback
Assessments 2 & 3 support learning outcomes 1-3.
Formative assessment will be continuous throughout the module based on a variety of PBL tasks which in turn will inform one element of summative assessment. 

Participation and performance in the simulation (assessment 2) and will inform the essay required for the third summative assessment.

The simulation and essay will assess students knowledge and understanding of the environmental law and CSR framework. The two related assessments will consider the application of environmental law and CSR concepts  within the context of an international conference.


Alder J, Wilkinson D (1999), Environmental Law and Ethics, Palgrave *
Axelro, R, Vandeveer, S, Downie, D (eds.) (2011), The Global Environment: Institutions, Law, and Policy, CQ Press, Washington D.C.
Bell S, McGillivray D, Pedersen O, Lees E, Stokes E (2017), Environmental Law, 9th edition, Oxford University Press
Boyle, Birnie, Redgewell, International Environmental Law, OUP
Carlarne, C, Gray, K, Tarasofsky, R (eds.) (2016), The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law, OUP
Gardiner S, Weisbach D (2016), Debating Climate Ethics, Oxford University Press
Hulme, M (2010), Why We Disagree About Climate Change, CUP
Idowu, S, Louche, C (Eds.), Theory and Practice of Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer, Heidelberg
Leal Filho, W, & Idowu, S (2009), Global Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer, Heidelberg
Leal Filho, W (ed.) (2011), The Economic, Social and Political Elements of Climate Change Series: Climate Change Management, Volume 2, Springer, Berlin
Lyster, R (2016), Climate Justice and Disaster Law, CUP online
Nunan F (2015), Understanding Poverty and the Environment, Routledge

Journal of Environmental Law, OUP
Environmental Law Review