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Business and Environment - ENV00107M

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Simon Mair
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

What is the role of business in delivering sustainable futures? In this module we explore how different forms of business might contribute to building more sustainable futures, with a particular focus on the challenge of meeting environmental sustainability targets whilst also delivering on social goals.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Tackling ecological crises, while also delivering on social goals, requires transformation at all levels of society. Businesses have a role to play, but what that role is and what environmental sustainability means for the future of business is an open question. In this module students will be introduced to different forms of businesses and explore the roles they can play in delivering more sustainable futures. To do this the module introduces key concepts (such as diverse economies and environmental limits) and tools in environmental management (such as wicked problems, systems thinking, and problem structuring techniques). Through field trips students engage with practitioners from a diverse range of businesses working to reconcile environmental sustainability and social goals. Students work in groups to apply these tools and concepts to develop their own analysis of a solution to a real world business and environment problem. In order to develop effective and professional communication skills, students are offered formative feedback on a draft of the assessment.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module students will have:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of different business models and organisational forms, and the roles they play in the transition to a sustainable economy

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of delivering on environmental sustainability and social goals

  3. Experience using tools to structure and evaluate a real world environmental sustainability problem


Task Length % of module mark
Group Report
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Group Report
N/A 100

Module feedback

Formative feedback will be delivered orally or in written form. Written feedback on summative assessment will follow department guidelines.

Indicative reading

Cameron, J. and Gibson-Graham, J.K., 2022. The diverse economies approach. In Handbook of Alternative Theories of Political Economy (pp. 329-342). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Clift, R., Martin, G. and Mair, S., 2022. Sustainability and the circular economy. In Assessing Progress Towards Sustainability (pp. 35-56). Elsevier.

Farley, J., Erickson, J.D. and Daly, H.E., 2005. Ecological economics: a workbook for problem-based learning. Island Press.

Meadows, D.H., 2008. Thinking in systems: A primer. Chelsea Green publishing.

Raworth, K., 2017. Doughnut economics: seven ways to think like a 21st-century economist. Chelsea Green Publishing.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.