Module code: MANM274

Module Overview

The environmental problems that morphed over time into the sustainability challenge teaches us an equally self-evident but hard-to-accept lesson - that living way beyond ones’ means may work for some time, but the accumulated costs of doing so may soon turn unacceptable. The buzzwords that are in front of this simple statement include the credit crunch, peak oil, water stress, climate change, biodiversity loss etc which can be summarised to suggest that the status quo is not viable as a successful strategy in the long run. Businesses must become substantially more efficient, responsive and profitable and the past cannot be a guide for the future. 

However, sustainability is, in most cases, not successfully managed by means of a ready-made solution or an implemented technology. For example, notwithstanding the relative merits, the environmental impact of individual transport has not been comprehensively addressed by introducing the catalytic converter and unleaded petrol for cars. Businesses have continuously sought (and many have found) innovative ways to address such problems in a way that aids competitiveness, profitability and organisational sustainability. This in in a way is the original managerial challenge in business: the integration of diverse social and political interests for the attainment of a common goal is what managers are (supposed to be) best at, so that, with hindsight, sustainability management becomes a new agenda in an old (managerial) setting. 

Module provider

Surrey Business School

Module Leader

WEHRMEYER Walter (Sust & CEE)

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: 12

Seminar Hours: 30

Guided Learning: 6

Captured Content: 12

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:  

1 Introduction to the Module 

2 CSR & Business Ethics 

3 Life-cycle thinking and the supply chain 

4 Cleaner Production, Materials Use and Waste Management 

5 Corporate Policies and Strategies 

6 Management Systems towards Sustainability 

7 Global Environmental Management and Competitiveness 

8 Materials, Efficiency and Waste 

9 Industrial Ecology and Product-based EM 

10 Risk and The Genesis of Industrial Accidents 

11 Environmental Reporting and Stakeholder Management 

12 Outlook: Innovation, Management and the future 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable

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 the topic of which can be picked from a list or agreed with the module organiser. The second is a individual sustainability report 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
  • Able to conceptualise the role of sustainability reporting

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand, and articulate a position on corporate sustainability C
002 Formulate a brief sustainability policy for business PT
003 Apply meaningfully the core Principles for Sustainability Management KC
004 Present a business case towards sustainability management KCP
005 Able to apply critical thinking. KCPT

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 (including at times 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 

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

Other information

Digital Skills: Students learn the use of digital library skills, as well as honing basic uses of IT skills¿ 

Global and cultural capabilities: The Surrey MBA cohorts are regularly very international with various cultural backgrounds. During the in-class discussions students develop their global and cultural capabilities by being exposed to and discussion different perspectives. Many of the case studies are drawn from beyond the UK, highlighting the global nature and the differentiated policy and economic contexts of sustainability across sectors, countries and Product Service Systems.¿¿ 

Resourcefulness and resilience: During the frequent group work students develop their resourcefulness and resilience by working in heterogenous teams. This applies particularly during in-class work but is also contained in the pre-group preparation. A core aspect of sustainability at work is well-being and individual as well as collective resilience.  

Employability: During the module the students will gain a broad overview of the practical and often challenging nature of sustainability at work. Many of the invited presenters are sustainability managers, to bring into the classroom the business-shaped nature of pro-sustainability decision-making. A core skill of MBA students is critical thinking and problem solving in the face of uncertainty. This employability aspect is being honed and nurtured within the module throughout. 

Sustainability: The module really IS about sustainability. Not sure what else needs to be said here apart from the module aiming to support students in their future endeavours at work and at home to pursue a more sustainable future than what seems to be on offer at the moment. 

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 2024/5 academic year.