Insegnamento a.a. 2020-2021


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 24 - 31
CLEAM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - CLEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - BESS-CLES (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - WBB (6 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/08) - BIEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - BIEM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - BIG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - BEMACS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08)
Course Director:

Classes: 24 (I sem.) - 31 (I sem.)

Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza

Suggested background knowledge

To feel comfortable in this course, you should be familiar with basic concepts regarding management, organizations, and global economy.

Mission & Content Summary


Sustainability connects old concerns for economic growth and social equity with a concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems. The course explores how sustainability is becoming an existential challenge for humanity – due to such alarming issues as climate change or growing social inequality – and a source of change for companies. Organizations are rethinking their role in the society and increasingly choosing to exceed the legal requirements they face and to take action to address social and environmental problems. Students are confronted with the theoretical bases of sustainability, seen as a perspective that shapes the role of the organizations within society and promote sustainable development, and the challenges of incorporating this perspective into the practices of organizations. A strategic approach to sustainability is more complex than traditional strategy, because it requires managers to engage with the non-market environment including regulators, activists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The course is oriented around understanding the conditions under which sustainability can benefit all the stakeholders involved.


  • Sustainable development and corporate sustainability
  • Climate change and the road to Net Zero
  • The business case for sustainability
  • Circular economy and sustainable business models
  • Sustainable supply chains
  • Sustainability in the marketplace
  • Social sustainability in the workplace
  • Sustainable finance, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) criteria, and purpose-led shareholders
  • Sustainability metrics and reporting 
  • Managing sustainability: tools and techniques.
  • Embedding sustainability in organizations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Describe the global sustainability issues that challenge today and tomorrow business models.
  • Describe how sustainability penetrates the different activities of the firm and its relationships with stakeholders.
  • Identify sustainability issues in the various parts of organizations and their value chains.
  • Understand the organizational challenges of adopting sustainable business models.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Examine the extent to which different types of sustainability initiatives are strategic.
  • Analyze sustainability impacts of firms on value chains and business models.
  • Identify ways of improving processes and products in the direction of improved sustainability.
  • Assess the practices adopted by the organizations that want to perform on the financial, social and environmental dimensions.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


The course is based on active teaching methodologies aimed at maximizing students’ participation. In addition to theoretical sessions, students are involved in the discussion of case studies (to be analyzed invididually or in group) and incidents based on real-life examples. Theory and practice are combined dynamically, making room for invited guests from business or non-profit organizations. A global perspective is adopted.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


Students are considered as attending if they regularly participate in class activities and in the group assignment. The final grade consists of the following components: 

  • End-of-term exam: 75%. The end-of-term exam tests students' knowledge and understanding of sustainability issues and their systemic and organizational implications. It consists of a mix of multiple-choice questions and some short-essay questions (e.g. concept questions or cases analysis), based on topics discussed in class.
  • Group assignment: 25%. The group assignment requires students to deliver a final report and present their results at the end of the course. The assignment tests students' ability to apply their knowledge and understanding of the concepts to real organizations, by analyzing and assessing how their strategies and processes relate to sustainability.
  • Bonus points are given for quality in-class contribution to reflect individual ability to apply knowledge and practical undertanding of the concepts.


Written exam to test knowledge and understanding of sustainability issues, their systemic and organizational implications, as well as the ability to apply concepts to concrete problems. The exam is based on the required readings for non-attending students, including the textbook. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and some short-essay questions.

Teaching materials


  • A collection of readings provided through Blackboard and listed in the syllabus.
  • Case studies and slides used during the classes.


  • A collection of readings provided through Blackboard and listed in the syllabus.
  • N.R Sanders & J.D. Wood (2019), "Foundations of Sustainable Business: Theory, Function, and Strategy", 2nd Edition, Wiley & Sons (ALL CHAPTERS).
Last change 21/08/2020 12:36