Business and Sustainability


Module code: CORP 2550

Module description

Sustainability is commonly described as sustainable development that 2meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (Bruntland Report, 1987:8). But what role does or should the business sector play in sustainable development? If corporations are expected to contribute towards the realisation of a more sustainable, responsible and equitable society, what does this mean in practice, and how does this align with corporate goals of economic growth and profit maximisation?

This module addresses these important questions and equips students with a sound understanding of sustainability in the business context. It first highlights how the transformation in the global political economy has given rise to debates about the nature and role of business in society. It then examines the changing expectations of business and how managers have responded to calls for greater social and environmental sustainability. It will also highlight some of the key debates in the sustainability field such as the drivers of corporate responsibility, the extent of responsibility, the governance and implementation of sustainability, and sustainable business models.

Please note that the format within each component for assessment information is subject to change.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  1. Recognise and explain the broader historical context in which debates about the responsibility and sustainability of business have emerged.
  2. Appreciate the importance and significance of sustainability for the business sector as well as for society.
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the core principles of sustainability and their application in the business context.
  4. Identify and examine the institutional, organisational and individual pressures and drivers for corporate sustainability and their impact on the nature and scope of business’ economic, social and ecological responsibilities.
  5. Debate, discuss and analyse the key sustainability issues facing the business sector and critically examine strategies and approaches companies have used to address these. 

Contact hours per student per year

  • Lectures: 20 hours
  • Seminars: 8 hours


  • Draft essay plan: 10%
  • Individual essay: 90%

Additional costs: No extra costs other than purchase of books