module specification

LT5078 - Sustainability, Business and Responsibility (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Sustainability, Business and Responsibility
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
108 hours Guided independent study
42 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Individual portfolio (blog)
Coursework 60%   Individual report.
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module will address the critical issue of how current thinking on climate change and sustainability will impact on businesses and organisation. The need to create more sustainable organisations and businesses is fundamental to current and future organisational development strategies, and it is necessary for students to understand the growing influence of the sustainability agenda on industry. This influence takes on many forms, from government policies and international agreements to the measuring the impacts of organisational practices on the ecology and communities. It is clear that in the future, organisations, businesses, communities and individuals will be expected to understand and take responsibility for their economic, environmental and social impacts. This module will examine the current and future challenges, it will equip students with knowledge to deal with the challenge of creating sustainable forms of business that operate within ecological and socio-economic limits.

It will explore the sustainability context, and how business practices will need to evolve to reflect the realities of operating within a globalised trading system that is striving to apply sustainability principles.

Module aims

The overarching aim of the module is to ensure that students develop a full understanding of what is meant by sustainability, who decides, what constitutes sustainability principles and how these principles are applied. It will explore varied tools and techniques used to apply sustainability principles, by governments, business and communities, and the challenges and conflicts these present. Such appreciation will be developed progressively via more specific aims which are:

  1. To engage with the growing international debate and practice around sustainability, business and corporate social responsibility (CSR);
  2. To evaluate how this will challenge organisations and businesses;
  3. To examine tools and techniques for evaluating and implementing of sustainability;
  4. To analyse the evolving policy frameworks within which business operates;
  5. To understand how changing environmental realities may effect business practice.

The module also aims to assist students in the acquisition of the following academic skills:

  • Academic reading
  • Researching
  • Problem-solving and decision making
  • Critical thinking and writing
  • Application of knowledge and presenting data


  • Definitions and history of the “Sustainability” concept
  • Globalisation – “our shrinking world”
  • Climate change and the future
  • Principles and criteria for sustainability: who decides?
  • Measuring sustainability: Challenges and realities
  • International Policy frameworks and the role of governments
  • CSR and the Industry response to the sustainability challenge

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through a weekly series of 1.5 hour lectures and 1.5 hour seminars. Teaching will have a blended learning approach. Lectures will deliver information and present academic problems appropriate to the topic under consideration. Full use will be made online opportunities including web-based multiplayer simulation games. Seminars will provide students with opportunities for discussion and activities in small groups and at whole class level, presentations, short writing exercises and reflection, usually on the topics covered in the lecture of the same week.

Learning materials and opportunities will be made available on Weblearn, which will also be an important means of communication between students and between students and tutors, especially via a blog maintained by each student. Students will be expected to spend approximately 7 hours per week reading and reflecting upon the work covered so far through the module. Progress will be facilitated by the maintenance of the weekly blog, where students will not only consider their own responses but also read those of their peers in the seminar.

Lectures will also be given by guest speakers from experts in development and tourism in developing countries with a particular emphasis on speakers from the host communities in the developing country.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. Recognise and analyse the complex process of developing sustainable human systems;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of business development within the context of sustainability;
  3. Apply analytical tools in order to assess the extent to which businesses have achieved sustainability in a wide range of contexts and situations;
  4. Evaluate the relationships between business and economic, socio-cultural and environmental parameters

Assessment strategy

Module assessment comprises of two components

  1. Individual portfolio (blog) – this exercise tests student’s ability to absorb and articulate key discussions within sustainability. Students are required to set up an online (Weblearn Blog) and write reflectively on the topics addresses in the course.
  2. Individual case study (2500 word) – Students are required to analyse and evaluate the responsible business strategies of an appropriate organisation. This organisation will reflect the focus of their undergraduate studies.


Korton, D. (2007) The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, 2nd ed, Berrett Koehle Publishers, New York.
United Nations (1987) Our Common Future - Brundtland Report, Oxford University Press; available at:
United Nations World Summit (2005) 2005 World Summit Outcome, available at: