BSc Management with Industrial/Professional Experience

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Sustainable Business in Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN32251
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


Society is facing a number of pressing “grand challenges” including climate change, dwindling biodiversity and resource depletion, poverty, environmental pollution, malnutrition, and obesity.  Many business leaders already recognise that commercial organisations must play a key role in addressing these problems. In this context successful managers are moving beyond the mind-set of limiting harm and managing risk, to proactively driving the adoption of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible products, services and practices within and beyond their own organisations. This re-imagining of the role of business requires knowledge of novel conceptual frameworks to better understand the connections between firm strategies, intra-industry relationships, business model innovation and longer-term socio-technical transitions to more sustainable societies. The course draws on the range of world-class sustainability expertise at AMBS to introduce and develop cutting edge ideas and research toward the development of advanced knowledge in sustainability.


Only available to students on: BSc Mgt/Mgt Specialism; IMABS, IM & ITMB.

Only available to students on BSc Management/Management Specialism, IMABS, IM and ITMB


The course aims to broaden and deepen your understanding of (1) key issues in the relationship between sustainability, business, and society, and (2) the range of conceptual approaches, frameworks and research topics relevant to the advanced study of sustainability.


The course will cover a range of theories and research-led case studies related to the following topics:

  • Planetary boundaries and the SDGs
  • Life cycle thinking
  • The circular economy
  • Sustainable consumption and behavioural change 
  • Sustainability transitions and the multi-level perspective 
  • Business model innovation and sustainable product service systems 
  • Reconfiguring production and consumption  
  • Corporate responses to climate change 
  • Sustainable business and ‘Green Recovery’ 

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered through Lectures, which will include interactive group tasks and workshop discussions, plus students’ self-directed study.  Total study hours: 200 hours split between lectures, self-study and preparation for classes and end examination.

Knowledge and understanding

•    Demonstrate awareness of the ways in which the impact of business activities on society and the natural environment can be conceptualised
•    Understand the variety across approaches to implementing sustainable and responsible business practices 
•    Identify and develop strategies for managing environmental and social impact, across different organisations, sectors and geographical contexts
•    Appreciate the complexities associated with setting targets, monitoring, reporting and communicating with stakeholders in order to generate more sustainable societies 

Intellectual skills

•    Develop a critical awareness of the consequences of adopting different perspectives for conceptualising business sustainability 
•    Critically assess the challenges and opportunities associated with a range of strategies for improving sustainability and responsibility in business 
•    Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of context in constraining and enabling the implementation of sustainable business initiatives (organisational, sectorial, geographical, social and environmental) 

Practical skills

•    Design strategies for promoting sustainable and responsible business in practice 
•    Communicate the need for business to engage with environmental and social issues 
•    Collect, analyse and present evidence to support the case for action to improve and environmental and social sustainability
•    Enhance skills at report writing in a group context.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

•    Appreciate the importance of taking personal and organisational responsibility to promote the adoption of sustainable and responsible business practices 
•    Critical analysis, research and data presentation skills 
•    Effective contribution to a team in order to develop solutions to unstructured problems

Assessment methods

Individual essay, 2000 words (75%)

Group report, 1000 words and presentation (25%) Students will be required to give a 20 minute presentation and accompanying 'blog-style' report critically analysing a sustainable business solution 

Feedback methods

• Informal advice, discussion and feedback during lectures and office hours.
• Responses to questions and requests for feedback from students by email.
• Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.
• Written and/or verbal comments on student group presentation and report.

Recommended reading

There is no single text book for the course. Readings will include academic journal articles, industry reports and book chapters, including extracts from Kopnina, H., & Blewitt, J. (2018) Sustainable Business: Key issues, (second edition) Routledge: London. (which is available electronically in UoM library).
Links to required and additional reading materials will be available on Blackboard.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Josephine Mylan Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Programme restrictions: BSc Management and Management (Specialisms) and BSc International Management

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