Corporate Sustainability

Key information

Start date:
To be confirmed

Contact details:


This module can be taken as standalone or as part of building up to a certificate, diploma or master’s degree. You can take up to three standalone modules before deciding whether you want to work towards any of these.

If you do decide to build up to a qualification, then you will need to complete and pass the following amount of modules within a five year period: four modules for a certificate; eight modules for a diploma; eight modules and a dissertation for a degree. Please note that certain modules will be compulsory depending on the degree you opt to take.

If you would like to gain a qualification then you will need to register onto one of our master's courses:

Module overview

This module evaluates and discusses the way environmental and social concerns have affected organisations in the private sector, and how such organisations have affected the content, shape and direction of the public debate. Particular emphasis will be paid to corporate sustainability strategies, the distribution and organisation of roles within an organisation, the contribution of different departments, as well as the industrial perspective towards industrial ecology and sustainable consumption.

Module aims:

  • To provide students with a critical understanding of contemporary corporate sustainability and environmentalism
  • To understand and conceptualise business practices toward environmental protection
  • To understand how and why companies and organisations implement corporate sustainability strategies
  • To critically assess corporate sustainability in a practical context
  • To understand the varying levels of corporate sustainability that are applied by different organisations
  • To develop both essay and report writing skills on a corporate sustainability related topic.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, you will:

  • Critically engage with the complex ethical, managerial, organisational and economic issues involved with sustainability in a private sector organisation
  • Identify and apply a range of corporate strategies and control mechanisms
  • Develop and understand the appropriate action that an organisation may need to conduct to address a specific set of environmental issues
  • Be able to place specific corporate activities into the context and literature of Corporate Sustainability
  • Develop an advanced appreciation of why companies pursue Corporate Sustainability.

Course content

Content includes the following:

  • Corporate crime and malfeasance
  • Definitions and evaluation of key concepts, including corporate sustainability, corporate social responsibility (CSR), industrial ecology etc
  • Product-based sustainability
  • Reporting and stakeholder management
  • Risk management, risk perception and industrial accidents
  • Social enterprises, capital markets and corporate strategies.

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Case studies
  • Independent study
  • Lectures and class discussions
  • Practical applications.


The summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A 3000 word post-module reflective essay or company report. (100% of module mark) Students can either pick from a list of topics or identify, and seek approval for, their own topic. This is often done to reflect personal preferences, employment opportunities for part-time students (and future full-timers), develop further confidence in a favoured part of the module or to challenge one’s thinking. Students are encouraged to develop their own views on the topic at hand, as well as develop their abilities to present their views in a cogent manner, informed by relevant literature.

Formative assessment and feedback:

Students can submit a 1000 word pre-module reflective essay to receive feedback and an indicative mark on their understanding of the pre-readings.

There is an ungraded group assessment (developing a 5-minute video on how a national public challenge can be addressed) for which formative feedback will be provided. This Programmatic Change Challenge is designed to allow students to think radical and develop cogent transition plans to address a particular environmental or social challenge.

Feedback will be provided as part of the seminars and tutorials (peer and from the module organiser), as well as in the formative and summative assessment. Feedback on the Programmatic Change Challenge is in the form of peer review in plenary, as well as the award of a prize for the best video.

Please note: If you are taking this as a standalone module, then you are not required to complete the 3,000 word post-module essay, however, this will mean that you won't gain any credits for completing the module and so won't be able to work towards a qualification if you later decide to do so.

Course leader

Walter Wehrmeyer profile image

Dr Walter Wehrmeyer

Reader in Environmental Business Management

Reading list

You will be required to do some reading prior to the module starting, take a look at the reading list.

Module ENGM305 details:

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements if you are taking this as a standalone module.

For those wanting to build up to a qualification, please refer to the MSc course pages for entry requirements.

Fees and funding

Fees are to be confirmed

How to apply

Applications are currently closed, but please register your interest with the Head of Centre for Environment and Sustainability, Professor Richard Murphy, at

Terms and conditions

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Further details of our terms and conditions will follow.


This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the commencement of the course. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read the full disclaimer.

Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 

Professor Richard Murphy Head of Centre for Environment and Sustainability

University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH