ICM614-Sustainability in the Business World

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2023/4

Module Convenor: Dr Simone Varotto
Email: s.varotto@icmacentre.ac.uk

Module Co-convenor: Dr Lisa Schopohl
Email: l.schopohl@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Sustainability is becoming a priority not only in government policy but also in business strategy. The role of the private sector in achieving sustainable production and consumption models is key to preserve fast depleting natural resources, improve social justice and reduce inequalities, address climate change and loss of biodiversity. This module explores how sustainability can be incorporated in business practices and balanced with corporate growth objectives. You will look at how to implement sustainability objectives in a corporate environment and how governments can facilitate corporate sustainability with the right incentives and policies.


This module aims to give students a thorough understanding of how sustainability goals are shaping the corporate world and how this transformative process is involving a wide range of stakeholders.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to: 

1. Explain how corporations can integrate sustainability in their business practices and differences in approaches to sustainability in developed and developing economies.

2. Critically evaluate costs and benefits of sustainable options and the balance between  growth and sustainability in the corporate world.

3. Evaluate the data needs to design and implement sustainability strategies by corporate management.

4. Critically assess the role of government subsidies and technological advances for faster adoption of the SDG in the business world.

Additional outcomes:

This module enables students to have a study abroad experience as it is delivered at the partner institution Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Outline content:

1. Corporate environmental sustainability: how businesses can help preserve the natural environment and its resources for future generations.

2. Corporate social sustainability: fair treatment of people and communities, as well as promotion of social equity and justice.

3. Sustainable business growth: balancing economic growth and development with environmental and social considerations to ensure long-term prosperity.

4. SustainableDevelopment Goals (SDGs) and the business world.

5. Sustainability in developing economies: trade-off between growth and SDGs?

6. Business opportunities offered by a circular economy.

7. Biodiversity conservation: how businesses can protect the diversity of plant and animal species and their habitats.

8. Sustainable consumption and production: responsible use of resources and minimizing waste throughout the production and consumption process.

9. Data for designing and implementing sustainability strategies.

10. Government incentives for corporate sustainability: international case studies.

11. Job opportunities in corporate sustainability.

Global context:

The module will cover corporate sustainable practices in different parts of the world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The topics are introduced in lectures which are then followed by seminars which allow for a deeper discussion of the concepts.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 30
    Wider reading (directed) 20
    Exam revision/preparation 50
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for seminars 20
    Revision and preparation 40
Total hours by term 0 0 200
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Project output other than dissertation 60
Class test administered by School 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Multiple choice test of 1.5 hours in week 50 of the summer vacation period. 

Individual project (2,500 words) to be submitted in week 52 of the summer vacation period.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/cqsd-old-site-documents/penaltiesforlatesubmissionpgflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/cqsd-old-site-documents/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% weighted average mark

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment via individual project

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Travel, accommodation, and subsistence £1300

Last updated: 4 April 2023


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