Sustainable Business Practices (MSB325)

Is economic growth constrained by scarce resources or environmental policies? How do we utilise network resources in a sustainable manner? What is the best way to measure growth and how do we approach new technology in a green circular economy? What characterizes the relationship between governments and businesses in such economies? These are questions we will explore in this course. The course gives a thorough introduction to the literature on sustainable business strategies and practices. This is a cross-disciplinary field related to topics such as market analysis, institutional theory, resource economics, and business strategy.

NB! This is an elective course and may be cancelled if fewer than 10 students are enrolled by August 20th for the autumn semester.

Course description for study year 2024-2025. Please note that changes may occur.


Course code




Credits (ECTS)


Semester tution start


Number of semesters


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Language of instruction



It is a long time since the notion of sustainability was confined to environmental policies and non-governmental organizations. Core business trends and strategies are increasingly related to sustainability considerations. This concerns both natural and social resources: Natural resources may be scarce, and the processing, distribution, and consumption of such resources may produce externalities that harm businesses operations. Social resources are also critical for businesses. They come in many forms: as employees and potential employees, strategic partners, suppliers, customers, as the general public, or as the property of a network covering one or more of these actors. This course provides a thorough introduction to the literature on sustainable business strategies and practices. This is a cross-disciplinary field related to topics such as market analysis, institutional theory, resource economics, and business strategy.

The course covers the following topics:

  1. How do you delineate sustainable business practices?
  2. How the development of the modern business entity and business model has impacted sustainability
  3. Race to the bottom and a level playing field: Sustainability policies and regulations
  4. Life cycle cost (LCC) and negative externalities
  5. Transaction costs, and supply chain management in a circular economy
  6. Corporate governance and leadership impacting sustainability.
  7. Sustainable business metrics and reporting

Learning outcome


Upon completion of the course, students will have acquired a thorough understanding of:

Definitions of "corporate social responsibility" and "sustainability", "exergy", and "entropy".

A circular economy and life cycle costs, and of business cases

The historic development of the business enterprise and early examples of sustainability debates.

Drivers of and barriers to sustainable business strategies.

Government regulations and incentives aiming to influence sustainable business practices.

The main alternatives and implications with regard to life cycle costs and externality costs.

Current examples of sustainable business practices.

International regulations and policies concerning sustainable business practices.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to

Participate in the academic debate on the "race to the bottom" and the "level playing field".

Explain the dilemmas and challenges related to sustainable business leadership.

Analyse and discuss sustainable business strategies

Present various challenges concerning sustainable business practices using appropriate theoretical framework and business cases

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Group assignment 1/1 Letter grades

The final group assignment, including an oral presentation, will conducted in groups of three people. The assignment should comprise 3000-5000 words. Students will be offered brief digital supervision as part of their work on the assignment. It is not possible to resit the exam.Grading will be based on the assessment of the written work by the group, and on their presentation of the assignment.

Coursework requirements

Individual assignment, Presentation of group assignment

Before submitting the final group assignment, students need to fulfill the following coursework (chronological sequence):

  • A group sketch describing your plans for the final group assignment and presentation.
  • An individual assignment submitted midway through the course
  • Presentation of group assignment

Coursework items are required in order to submit the final group assignment on Inspera.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Thomas Laudal

Course teacher:

Farheen Naz

Course teacher:

Ali Türkyilmaz

Course teacher:

Arvind Upadhyay

Study Program Director:

Yuko Onozaka

Method of work

The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and feedback to written assignments. The seminars will include student presentations and discussions. Each student will be required to be part of the presentation of group assignment. All students are expected to read the required literature ahead of the seminars and to actively participate in discussions. The seminars will focus on case stories.

To be approved and ready for submission of the final assignment, the following requirements must be fulfilled (one retake is allowed):

  1. An outline indicating the topics and data sampling for the final assignment must be approved (pass/no pass)
  2. An individual assignment.

Grading in this course is based on a review of the group assignment (3,000-5,000 words) and an oral presentation of this assignment.

Estimated student workload:

1. Lectures: 26 hours

2. Seminar/exercise: 26 hours

3. Supervision (including peer-to-peer): 40 hours

4. Student's self studies: 120 hours

5. Written assignments: 80 hours

TOTAL 292 hours

Open for

All master's study programs at the University of Stavanger.

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course supervisor, the student union representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital subject evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


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