Course code BUS180

BUS180 Global Challenges II. Environmental, Social and Governance Challenges in Business

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Thore Larsgård
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in August block. This course has teaching/evaluation in August block. 
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2017-2018
Course contents:

In this course we start from real scenarios, emphasizing ethical dilemmas along with the opportunities and responsibilities of business in contributing positively to societal development and environmental sustainability. The primary concern is sustainability related challenges such as Environmental Challenges (ecology and climate), Social Challenges (Human rights, child labor, slave labor, social inequality, migration, and increased nationalism), and Economic Challenges (Tax avoidance, corruption, trade barriers).

A key focus in the course is to build an understanding of how corporate governance plays a critical role in shaping development and implementation of socially and environmentally sustainable corporate strategies.

Additional emphasis will be placed stakeholder management, how to manage opposing interests, and how to weight the importance of different stakeholders. The theoretical foundation is gathered from Stakeholder theory (Freeman), Shareholder theory (Friedman, Drucker), and CSR (Carroll). Circular economy will also be introduced and applied. More specifically, the topics of discussion are environmental reporting, greenwashing, depleted resources, corporate branding, investment trends, and the UN sustainable development goals.  

The course aims to show how profit, social responsibility and environmental responsibility can go together. This idea is then contrasted to the traditional understanding of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).  The course focuses on the opportunities an ESG mindset is presenting to companies.

Learning outcome:


The student should know how to

  • Collect, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information
  • Show a capacity for independent thought
  • Show capacities for ethical attention and decision making
  • Present and defend their position


The student should have knowledge of

  • Different ways to understand business responsibilities in relation to sustainability.
  • Trends in societal development relating to environmental challenges, robotization, globalization, and corruption.
  • How and why businesses adapt to these trends.
  • Tools (CSR, triple Bottom Line, Total Societal Impact) used in understanding and handling such societal trends.
  • Ethical dilemmas that employees must relate to in these matters (conflicts of interest, opposing ethical duties, weighting affected parties)   


The student should be able to

  • Cooperate in groups
  • Show an ability to recognize complexity, synergy, and trade-offs between goals.
  • Use digital tools for collecting relevant information.
  • Critically evaluate sources.
  • Present group projects effectively
Learning activities:
The course is taught in English and there will be a combination of digital theoretical lectures, lectures by business leaders on what can be/has been done, group projects, group discussions, and plenary discussions. 
Teaching support:

Debbie Haski-Leventhal (2018). Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility Tools and Theories for Responsible Management, SAGE Publications 408 Pages

Additional videos, articles, podcasts etc that will be distributed throughout the course

Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
It is mandatory to attend the lectures and the group-work sessions. Group project participation and presentations are mandatory in order to be qualified for participation in the final exam.
Final written home exam, 3 hours, counts 100 % of the total grade.
Nominal workload:
125 hours
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).
Type of course:
Nine days with lectures/seminars (6 hours each day).
An external examiner will assess the questions for the exam, and principles for evaluation.
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Written exam: Letter grades