UCL School of Management

Module Fact Sheet

BENV0009: Business and Sustainability

Masters, level 7
Energy Institute students, SOM Mres, MSc Mgt & utilisation of international
Term 2
Delivery method
Lectures (20 hours) and seminars (10 hours)
50% - Individual essay; 50% - Team essay

Course overview

This module is designed for students who wish to develop an in-depth understanding and debate how sustainability can create value for business. It introduces students to the necessary principles to measure, manage, and report corporate sustainability performance in terms of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). The module also analyses the role played by ESG, responsible investments and impact investing in the overall performance of business, and discusses the link between business’ sustainability obligations and financial success sectors. The role that business can play in addressing the current global challenges will also de debated.

In addition, the module explores the role of sustainability in companies’ risk management efforts, and looks at the ways to hedge climate-change related risks. It also explores sustainability accounting, examines how and why sustainability should be reported, and assesses different strategies for sustainability improvement. Finally, this module addresses practical applications of the TBL principles to manage issues in different sectors: extractive, energy-intensive, land/water-incentive, and consumer products/demand sectors, media and social, technology, data analytics, Distributed Ledger Technology and healthcare. Existing innovative and sustainable solutions across various sectors will also be discussed, as well as the emerging role that technology, social media and data can play, challenges for adoption and how they can be leveraged to create shared value. 

Sessions will be interactive; case studies debates and guest speaker events will provide insights for in-class discussions. Normally, the module has five to six guest speakers from industry, including a closing lecture by John Elkington.

Learning outcomes

The aims of this module are to:

  • Engender comprehension of the nature of sustainable business and the inherent challenges
  • Develop and apply appropriate business strategies to a range of sectors
  • Assess investment proposals against both financial and non-financial criteria (financial, social and environmental)
  • Develop metrics to measure the success of investments in financial, social and environmental contexts

Topics covered

  • Creating sustainable economic, social, and environmental value
  • Sustainable and responsible investment
  • Sustainability risk management
  • Sustainability Accounting (SA) and Reporting
  • Strategic Planning for Sustainability Improvement
  • Emerging Economies and Sustainability
  • Extractive Industries and Sustainability
  • Energy-intensive Sectors and Sustainability
  • Land/water Intensive Sectors and Sustainability
  • Consumer products/demand sectors and Sustainability
  • Healthcare
  • Technology, media and social media. Data Analytics, Distributed Ledger Technology

Assessment summary

100% coursework comprising:

  • 50% based on a individual essay
  • 50% based on a team essay

Current students should refer to Moodle for specific details of the current year’s assessment.

Essential reading

McElroy, M. & J. van Engelen (2012) Corporate Sustainability Management. London & New York: Earthscan.

Elkington J., Zeitz J., Sir Richard Branson (Foreword by). (2014). The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today’s Profit with Tomorrow’s Bottom Line. Jossey-Bass

Past versions of this module

BENV0009 18/19

BENVGED8 17/18

Last updated Friday, 17 August 2018