It is long 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 is related to both natural and social resources: Natural resources may be scarce, and the processing, distribution, and consumption of these 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, as strategic partners, as suppliers, as customers, as the general public, or as a property of a network covering one or more of these actors.
This course gives a thorough introduction into the literature on sustainable business strategies and practices. This is a cross-disciplinary field related to topics like market analysis, institutional theory, resource economics, and business strategy. Is economic growth constrained by scarce resources or by 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.
Course description for study year 2021-2022. Please note that changes may occur.
Upon completion of the course, students will have acquired a thorough understanding of:
Definitions of "corporate social responsibility" and "sustainability", "exergy", and "entropy".
The historic development of the business enterprise and early examples of sustainability debates.
Drivers and barriers of sustainable business strategies.
The multilevel relationship between governments and businesses.
The main alternatives and implications with regard to life cycle costs and externality costs.
Current examples of sustainable business practices.
Upon completion of the course, students will:
Understand the academic debate on the "race to the bottom" and the "level playing field".
Have thorough knowledge of examples of a circular economy, and of business cases explaining dilemmas and challenges related to sustainable business leadership.
Experience in analysing and discussing sustainable business strategies.
The course will cover the following topics:
How to determine sustainable business practices?
Key features of the modern business entity and business model
Race to the bottom and a level playing field
Life Cycle Cost (LCC) and externality costs
Transaction costs, and supply chain management
Leading sustainable business practice
Required prerequisite knowledge
Eksamen / vurdering
Group assignment and presentation of group assignment
A - F
resentation of group assignment
A - F
Written assignment, including an oral presentation, by groups of 2-4 persons.Students will be offered brief digital supervisions as part of their work on the assignment. No resit.
Study Program Director:
Method of work
The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and written assignment. The seminars will include student presentations and discussions. Each student will be required to give at least one seminar presentation. All students are expected to read the required literature ahead of the seminars and to participate actively in discussions. Seminars will include dilemmas based on case stories. Students will submit a written assignment and an oral presentation based on the assignment.
Estimated student workload in hours:
1. Lecture 26
2. Seminar/exercise 26
3. Supervision 40
4. Student's self studies 120
5. Written assignment 60
All master study programs at the University of Stavanger.
Students will have the opportunity to give feedback on the course first in an early dialogue, and then in a written course evaluation at the end of the course.