BSc Management (Marketing)

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Sustainable Business

Unit code BMAN24372
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


An understanding of sustainability allows us to recognise why our ability to prosper now and in the future requires attention not just to economic and social progress but also conserving (and enhancing) the natural environment. There has never been a more important time to understand how government, industry and society can respond to this challenge. The Sustainable Business module looks at the bigger picture but focuses on how companies can respond by changing what they are doing - both strategically and operationally - to gain or maintain a competitive advantage whilst improving their sustainability performance.


Only available to students on: BSc Mgt/Mgt Specialism; IMABS, IM and ITMB. Core for BSc Management with ISE Specialism and BSc Management with SEB Specialism.

Pre-requisites - N/A

Co-requisites - N/A

Dependent course units - N/A


The course aims to motivate the students to integrate notions of sustainability into their business approach by combining a thorough understanding of the issues surrounding sustainable development and climate change with knowledge of how business can respond to these opportunities and challenges by embedding sustainability into an organisation’s strategy and operations.

Learning outcomes

At the end of course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the relationship between government, industry and science, consumers and the wider connection between political/economic/social trends and sustainable business.
  • Understand critically the intra-organisational management tools and techniques to embed sustainability into the company’s operations and strategy.
  • Understand critically the inter-organisational management tools and techniques to embed sustainability beyond the boundaries of the company through the product value chain.
  • Acquire research, analysis and collective organisational skills through individual and group assessments.


The course is divided into two parts. Lectures in the first part address the challenges of sustainability and the response of science, government and business. In the second part, we focus on the role of sustainable business, how companies can create value by embracing opportunities and managing the risks associated with economic, social and environmental development. Over the course, we consider:

•       Sustainability and sustainable economic growth

•       The changing role of government, industry and society with respect to environmental protection

•       The intractability of climate change and sustainable business

•       Intra-organisational sustainability management: Environmental Reporting; Sustainable management models;                      Sustainable Innovation Management

•       Inter-organisational sustainability management: Life cycle analysis; Sustainable production and consumption;                     Communicating the sustainability of products to consumers

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching on Sustainable Business is high quality, interactive and research led with an emphasis on authentic mastery (not just knowing what you know, but applying what you know). Lectures are punctuated by group tasks and activities. Assessment is enquiry based.

Assessment methods

Group presentation on Worldwatch Institute book chapter: 30%.

Working in pairs (or, with high numbers, in groups of three), students will be required to provide a presentation and one-sided handout, and lead a discussion on a chapter from the latest Worldwatch Institute book. The presentation and discussion should not last longer than 20 minutes. In their presentation and handout students should (1) review the key lessons to be learnt from the chapter; (2) discuss the implications for sustainable business; and (3) develop question(s) and/or interactive class activities to communicate the lessons of the chapter for sustainable business. An electronic copy of the presentation and handout must be sent to 24 hours before the presentation. Jo Mylan will print out copies of the handout for the class.

Marking criteria for the presentation are on Blackboard. Briefly, 50% of the marks for the presentation revolve around understanding/application, including your original thoughts and use of additional evidence to connect the issue to business. 25% of the marks are for stimulating and facilitating the class discussion; inclusiveness should be your watch word here. 25% of the marks are for the effectiveness of the presentation; creativity, style and time keeping are important here. The handout should add value over and above the presentation and discussion management and will be evaluated against all above criteria. The presentation will receive a single mark but students will be able to use peer assessment to confirm individual contribution and therefore individual marks if it is felt contribution has not been equal. Detailed guidance is available in the document ‘Instructions for SB Groupwork’ on Blackboard. In cases where there is dispute about the contribution of individual group members, this document details a procedure that will be followed to ensure a fair allocation of marks.


Individual enquiry based learning project: 70%

You are an environmental consultant. You are advising the Board of Directors (of a firm of your choice) on how the firm can respond to a specific environmental sustainability issue (of your choice). You have been asked to produce a concise (2500 word) management report on the following issues: the potential impact of the environmental sustainability issue for the firm’s competitiveness; how the firm can best respond to the issue; and the opportunities and challenges of implementing this response. The enquiry based nature of the individual project allows students to work on sustainable business issues they consider most interesting and important. A briefing note on the management report is available on Blackboard. Management reports will be assessed according to the marking conventions in the file ‘SB management report marking scheme’ on Blackboard. Four seminars will be devoted to the project, allowing students to discuss their management reports with Jo Mylan. There will be further opportunities after scheduled lectures and seminars.


Feedback methods

Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff.

• Written and/or verbal comments on assessed coursework.

• Written and/or verbal comments after students have given presentations.

Students will receive detailed formative feedback on their presentation within 15 working days of their presentation. To allow us to evaluate performance across students, presentation marks will be available in week 12 before the end of the semester. Written feedback on individual management reports will be available on Blackboard 15 days after submission.

Recommended reading

There is no single module textbook. However, all relevant readings will be posted on Blackboard or can be obtained through links via the annotated lecture slides.

You will require weekly access to the Worldwatch Institute book, State of World 2015: Confronting hidden threats to sustainability. Island Press: London.

You will find the following books useful:

Broad introduction to topic: Goodall, C., (2012), All that matters: Sustainability, Hodder: London.

Focused overview of topic: Kopnina, H., & Blewitt, J. (2018) Sustainable Business: Key Issues (second edition). Routledge: London.



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Hodson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Pre-requisites - N/A

Co-requisites - N/A

Dependent course units: BMAN31942 Sustainable Business in Society

Programme Restrictions : BSc Management and Management (Specialisms), BSc International Management with American Business Studies, BSc International Management and BSc ITMB.

For Academic Year 2021/22

Updated: March 2021

Approved by: March UG Committee

Return to course details