Module code: MANM274

Module Overview

Sustainability creates value for your firm and for your career. Challenges at the core of Board-level decision-making are risks and opportunities associated with necessary investments in sustainability. Goldman Sachs estimate that 75% of major projects are delayed or late owing to sustainability risks, incurring massive commercial risk, and the scale of these risks is growing. The ESG market (environment social governance) is valued in the trillions and
growing at over 10% annually as companies large and small integrate these risks and opportunities into their portfolio.

The theory behind sustainability teaches that optimising among economic, environmental and social drivers will achieve a sustainable outcomes. However, in practice, this is challenging for a manager charged with the sustainability portfolio. Decisions that involve trade-offs among company profitability, clean air and social values accruing to neighbouring populations is challenging. This course develops your ability to take decisions that are defensible, robust and stand up to scrutiny of all stakeholders.

Sustainability is more than a buzzword, it is a catch-all for a wide range of complex commercial risks facing your company today and in the future. The most efficient way to deal with these is to identify and plan to deal with these as early as possible. Profitability sustainability will require skilled professionals in leadership, negotiation, partnering, and communication in order to realise lasting and conspicuous value to the business.

Your businesses must become more efficient, responsive and profitable, and this course will give you the skills to be at the forefront of this push. This course will help you understand sustainability in order to identify these risks, prioritise and manage investments to deal with them, develop corporate strategies for future-proofing your business, and ultimately deliver higher returns for your company and shareholders.

In most cases, sustainability is not managed by a ready-made solution, rather it needs to be identified, strategised, negotiated, fought for, often in partnership with key internal and external stakeholders. To ready you for this, learning will be broad spectrum, with guest speakers from some of the largest investors in sustainability in the UK and across the world.

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader

WEHRMEYER Walter (Civl Env Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 42

Guided Learning: 18

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  1. Sustainable Management introduction: CSR, Business Ethics, Non-technical risk, Green Economy

  2. Sustainable decisions

  3. Sustanable management at Board level: Corporate Policies and Strategies

  4. Stakeholder management tools, processes and frameworks: Environmental and social reporting

  5. Tomorrow’s sustainable managers: regulation, innovation, policy

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION (15 MIN Q&A) 30
Coursework INDIVIDUAL ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 70

Alternative Assessment

Students who fail the Individual Company Report will have to prepare a report on a similar topic (3000 words). Students who fail the individual essay have to pick a different topic from the essay list (2000 words)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their achievement regarding the learning outcomes. The summative assessment for this module consists of two components: the first is a short essay (2000 words) the topic of which can be picked from a list or agreed with the module organiser. The second is a individual company report (3000 words) that makes a persuasive case for change towards greater sustainability in a company. This can be based on the practical action-learning session.

Formative assessment and feedback

Feedback will be provided in detail to the assessments and in class during the discussions.

Module aims

  • Have an appreciation of the complex ethical issues involved with corporate sustainability;
  • Understands how environmental and social impacts across the value chain affect business and product strategies
  • Able to identify and manage appropriate different definitions and perceptions of risk
  • Have knowledge of a range of business strategies pertinent to the field
  • Able to conceptualise the role of sustainability reporting
  • Knowledge of a range of environmental and social responsibility standards, such as ISO14001, SA800o etc.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand, and articulate a position on corporate sustainability C
002 Formulate a brief sustainability policy for business PT
003 Appreciate and contextualise an LCA and a certified EMS / SMS CP
004 Apply meaningfully the core Principles for Sustainability Management KC
005 Use core terms, such as usufruct, clean technology, industrial ecology strategies, value chain analysis, thermodynamic limits etc. CPT
006 Present a business case towards sustainability management KCP
007 Able to apply critical thinking. KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The module adopts a case-based learning strategy that presents, after a lecture on the material, a case (often using videos) that offers direct application of the learnt concepts and ideas. Emphasis is given to foster opinions and ideas on the material to apply the learning material in a direct, practical and business-relevant manner.

The learning and teaching methods include: Lectures, seminar discussions, practical applications, company case studies (2 hours per week)

A practical action-learning session (half-day) will apply the principles learnt in this course to develop the sustainability strategy for a local business in Surrey

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MANM274

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Master of Business Administration MBA(MBA PART-TIME YEAR 2) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2021/2 academic year.