A00017 Sustainable Business Management

Scuola di Economia e Management
Academic Year 2019/20 First Semester

Docente TitolareMarco Brusati
Office"Edificio Cantoni" (main classroom building), 1st floor
Phone0331 572315

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course the students will be able:

  1. To analyse and evaluate a business model through the lens of sustainability. 
  2. To design policies enabling (corporate) sustainability and set related performance indicators.
  3. To handle the main tools needed to carry out sustainability in (corporate) organizations.

Learning targets

The course aims to provide a critical knowledge to:

  • Understand the evolution of and the actual global debate on corporate sustainability.
  • Comprehend how sustainability is changing the competitive landscape for business organizations.
  • Explore which policies and tools enable companies to face sustainability-driven changes and improve their leadership.
  • Have a perspective from the “field” on what companies are really doing to integrate sustainability in their strategies and operations.

Course Content

Sustainability is gathering attention and stimulating debate of governmental agendas, media, consumers and business communities around the World.

The topic embeds well-established and emerging challenges concerning different corporate domains (i.e.: governance, eco-efficiency, employee and stakeholder expectation, economic performances, innovation…). In this context sustainability - and its implications on business - calls for a clearer conceptual framework combined with innovative managerial approach.

The course will be structured on the following themes:

  1. Introduction to sustainability: history of idea, terms and key-concepts, state of the art in a theoretical perspective.    
  2. Relevance of sustainability in a contemporary World: mega-trends and implication on business organizations.
  3. Understanding the dimensions of business sustainability: governance, economics, environment, workplace and community.
  4. Benchmarking policies and initiatives of sustainability: overview at a governmental and industry level.
  5. Prioritising sustainability in the organization: how to determine current state of business model sustainability and design a strategy.   
  6. Organizing, measuring and disclosing corporate sustainability: functions and roles, international standards and management tools.
  7. Concluding remarks: new research prospects and the next business horizons.

Course Delivery

The course will be conducted in a mixed format, through lectures, guest lecturers, group discussions, projects, and case analysis. Students are recommended to study the reading materials suggested and handed-out, to follow the class-room references and to go through related scientific journals, professional reports, web-sites and media items.

Course Evaluation

For students attending classes: team work (50%) + individual paper (50%) score-marks 

Research-topics and guidelines for a small project in small groups (team work for class-room presentation) and question-topic for an individual written paper (home assignment) will be provided in the second half of the course term.

The students are required to submit their individual papers before the end of the course; the score-marks on the small group projects and written works will be communicated soon at the end of the course term.

For students non attending classes: written exam at the end of the course.


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