Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility

TBC for Autumn 2018

Price: TBC

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Module Leader Walter Wehrmeyer
Other contributors Ian Christie, external Speakers
Number of credits 15
Number of ECTS credits 7.5
Module availability Semester 1
Overall student workload 150 Hours
Units of assessment Weighting towards module mark (%)
Pre-module essay 30%
Post-module reflective essay 70%

Alternative assessment: Different choice of essay topics for either assessment:N/A.

Qualifying condition(s): A weighted aggregated mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

Pre-requisite/co-requisites: None.

Module overview

The module covers business approaches to reconcile environmental constraints and social expectations under the business paradigm. It focuses on the way in which businesses have approached the diverse and increasingly complex agenda of corporate sustainability management, evaluating the degree of influence these issues have on business activities and asking complex questions on the motives, design and efficacy of such initiatives. It offers comprehensive grounding in sustainability management issues including strategies, accountability, policies, auditing and reporting. Given appropriate tools and an exposure to international and local environmental and ethical issues, students will use real-life business industry situations to formulate environmental and sustainability management policy.

Module aims

It is the aim of this unit to present and evaluate the pattern and degree of influence environmental and social issues have on business activities. On completion of the unit, students will:

  • Have a thorough foundation and appreciation of the complex ethical issues involved with sustainability management, and apply these in a group or organisational environment; (K, C)
  • Have participated in rigorous discussions of case studies of environmental management and developed an understanding and appreciation of the analysis and range of complex issues involved; (P, T)
  • Have knowledge of a range of corporate sustainability management strategies and control mechanisms and be able to develop appropriate action to address a specific set of environmental issues. (K)
  • Have knowledge of the environmental management literature and networks with which to support ongoing needs in environmental management. (P, K).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Understand the knowledge, process and practice of sustainability management in an organisation (C)
  • Be able to outline and articulate different approaches to CSR and their relative merits and suitability (K)
  • Be able to effectively argue in favour of an environmental improvement programme (T, P)
  • Understand and apply the practical implications of Waste Management, Cleaner Technology and the Circular economy (T, P).

Key: C-Cognitive/Analytical; K-Subject Knowledge; T-Transferable Skills; P- Professional/ Practical skills.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Definitions and evaluation of key concepts, including corpoate sustainability, CSR, Industrial Ecology etc
  • Social enterprises, capital markets and corporate strategies
  • Product-based Sustainability
  • Risk, Risk Management, Risk Perception and Industrial Accidents
  • Corporate crime and malfesance
  • Reporting and Stakeholder Management.

Methods of teaching/learning

The learning and teaching is designed to encourage active, case-based learning, using practical cases from industry at every stage of the taught component. The module will also encourage students to explore and critically evaluate theoretical perspectives underpinning these cases, and consider their application to their own organisations, as far as they know them.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures and class discussions (25 hours)
  • Case study presentations (9 hours)
  • Independent study (116 hours).

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their critical thinking and practical skills in understanding and evaluation the environmental performance of a company, as well as the ability to critically reflect on the concept and practice of CSER.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 1000 word individual pre-module reflective essay. (30%)
  • 3000 word post-module reflective essay or company report. (70%).

Formative assessment

  • Lectures and class discussions (25 hours)
  • Site visits (9 hours)
  • Independent study (116 hours).


Commentary and feedback on the written output, as well as the class discussions.

Essential reading

Carroll and Kareem M. Shabana (2010): The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of Concepts, Research and Practice; International Journal of Management Reviews, Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 85–105, (2010), DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2370.2009.00275.x.

ENDS Report (2011): Sustainable Business: The Progress so far. ENDS Porter, Kramer (2006): Strategy and society: the link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review. 2006 Dec; Vol 84, No 12, pp. 78-92.

Van Marrewijk (2003): Concepts and Definitions of CSR and Corporate Sustainability: Between Agency and Communion; in: Journal of Business Ethics: Vol. 44, No. 2/3, pp. 95-105 Stable URL:

D. Steven White, David A. Griffith, (1997) "Combining corporate and marketing strategy for global competitiveness", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 15 Iss: 4, pp.173 - 178 DOI

Recommended reading

A list of further reading will be made available to course participants before the module commences.

Background reading

A separate list is available on SurreyLearn.

Contact us

Find us

Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Arthur C Clarke building, Floor 2
University of Surrey