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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LUBS5303M Sustainable Futures: Climate Change, the Environment and Business

30 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Jo Cutter

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

The module responds to students' desire to develop knowledge and skills in relation to the formulation of policy and practice to combat climate change and ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability. The module also examines how climate change and environmental crises are shaped by and shape business and organisation policy and practice. The first part of examines the nature of the climate challenge and the anticipated risks for businesses and organisations and then explores the national and international policy initiatives currently focused on addressing the issue. It examines the conceptual frameworks that shape the ways in which different social actors are engaged in these debates.The second part of the module focuses on businesses and organisations. It examines key questions of how business models are challenged and changing to address climate change and the implications for organisational change, work and employment of new ‘green’ business models and strategies. We will work using a range of case studies from different sectors. The module also considers the significance of consumers and worker voice in these new business contexts. Finally, the module returns to the question of policy questions of justice in the inevitable industrial transitions that are likely to take place as a result of moving to a low-carbon economy.The module involves a mixture of activities, real world projects and case studies, group discussions and individual research that encourage students to critically appreciate the strategic challenges that management in contemporary organisations are facing with regard to addressing climate change and equip students with the skills and knowledge required of leaders in a complex, unpredictable and fast-changing business environment. There will the chance for students to participate in a sustainability challenge competition undertaken in collaboration with external partners.


Governments and businesses across the globe are (to varying degrees) preparing to decarbonise economic activity. How climate targets will be achieved are questions critical to our students who, once graduated, will have the responsibility to advise large and small businesses around the globe on how to make systems of production and work fit for a new sustainable green economy. This module, delivered in partnership with the Faculty of Earth and Environment, will equip students with knowledge and skills to help in the rethinking and creation of new sustainable production and management systems, from everyday management practices in the workplace, through to policy on transport/mobility and energy consumption, to questions of regulation and social protections, technological innovation and the reuse of natural resources that will shape the new economic and social institutions that climate adaptation and mitigation require.

The primary objectives of the module are:
1. To equip students with the knowledge and skills to understand the extent and nature of current and projected effects of climate change on businesses, work and employment.
2. To build awareness of key current climate policy at the supra-national and national levels and to encourage students to consider the relationship between existing climate policy and wider political economy.
3. The module will involve critical reflection on ways that climate effects are shaped by different societal actors and interests. Thus, understand and be able to engage with the key debates and conflicts surrounding action on climate.
4. To facilitate the development of critical and informed understandings to move beyond a focus on climate crisis towards the theoretical underpinning of policy and practice actions likely to enhance the impact of climate related policy and practice.
5. The module will engage students in practical examples of ongoing action/initiatives undertaken by management and workers in different organisations to reduce carbon emissions and other area of environmental impacts (e.g. waste management; energy efficiency; changes in working time; mobility and transport)
6. Students will be introduced to the notion of industrial transitions, how these have played out historically and the social and economic implications in relation to the current UK “Industrial strategy”. Examples of ‘green bargaining’, ‘carbon management plans’ and workplace environmental audits will be studied and discussed with the students in light of case studies from the UK and internationally.

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate an understanding of current theoretical and methodological approaches underpinning the knowledge base relating to business and organisational sustainability policy and practice.
2. Flexibly and creatively apply this knowledge to current business challenges
3. Engage in critical reflection and ethical debate on climate change and sustainability policy and practice within business in the light of new theoretical and practical insights
4. Demonstrate personal skills in undertaking independent research and reading; articulate a convincing argument in writing to engage in critical analysis of climate change policy and practices in varied organisations and contexts
5. Synthesis ideas and information learned to develop original and independent contributions to policy debates on climate change, the environment and business
6. Develop team and organisational skills working as a team leader or member to resolve actual or likely team conflict and contribute to the negotiated resolution of team decisions.

Skills outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:

Subject specific skills
- apply concepts and frameworks on which models of climate change adaptation are built that include the nature/type of change, theories of change process and projected (social and economic) outcomes of change initiatives
- evaluate and debate perspectives on climate change policy and practice and the key actions required by public policy and organisational leaders in forming and implementing strategic plans
- critically assess actions that help in developing an organisation culture and practice that supports both day-to-day and long-term organisational change to address climate breakdown

Transferable skills
- Develop understanding of assessing and differentiating strategic initiatives and plans
- Develop ability to plan, communicate and work independently
- Reflect on their own perceptions how these shape their own personal and professional practice


The module will be taught through a mix of interactive lectures and seminars covering an introduction and overview of climate change and climate change policy at the regional, national and supra-national level; the framing of analysis of climate policy including concepts of green economy, de-growth and post-growth. The module will then focus upon business and organisational challenges within this wider context, exploring new business models and organisational change for sustainability, the implications for work and the voice of workers and consumers in shaping change. The module will conclude with considering the business and policy practices related to organisational and industrial change including the negotiation between different social actors.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Private study hours268.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

This could include a variety of activities, such as reading, watching videos, question practice and exam preparation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative feedback will be provided to the students during the interactive lectures and seminars. Lectures will include segments of Q&A on the content of lectures notes and readings. Seminars will include groups of students working on case study analysis, group work and class presentations.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 word essay70.00
Poster PresentationGroup poster presentation30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit for this module is 100% by 3,000 word company case analysis assignment.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:49:18


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