Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
MARK 3280
Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility
Commerce & Business Administration
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 Weeks X 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 Hours Seminar: 2 Hours Total: 4 Hours
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Lectures will be used to introduce specific areas of study and to provide background information.  Case studies, discussions and videos will constitute the framework and focus of much of the course.  Students will learn through analyzing business situations and sharing ideas in class.

Course Description
This course provides students with an introduction to the concepts of sustainability and corporate social responsibility in a business context. The course takes a managerial perspective, and incorporates a global orientation. Topics like the triple bottom line, global warming, the product life cycle, and carbon neutral are covered. Students are urged to embrace the belief that corporations need to be socially responsible, as well as sensitive to environmental concerns.
Course Content
  • Important arguments in developing sustainable business practices
  • Objectives of sustainability from a business perspective, and from a social perspective
  • Metrics for sustainability
  • Natural resources used in industry, and the social and environmental implications of their use
  • Motives for businesses to conduct themselves in a sustainable manner
  • Economic, societal, and environmental factors that drive business decisions
  • Triple Bottom Line
  • Corporate social responsibility, and the different stakeholders, local communities, and international communities that are affected by what corporations do
  • Standards and regulations for CSR – the challenges         
  • Green marketing, green consumers
  • Eco-efficiency; how saving energy and reducing waste makes sense for businesses
  • The product life cycle from a sustainability/corporate social responsibility perspective
  • Cradle 2 Cradle concepts and considerations
  • Global warming; the Greenhouse Effect
  • Arguments in favour and against radically altering the world as we know it to avoid climate change
  • Carbon neutral; Carbon offsetting; Cap and Trade; Carbon Tax
  • Benefits both corporations and individuals derive from reducing their carbon footprints
  • Political and international issues in  sustainability/corporate social responsibility
Learning Outcomes

The overall objective of this course is to provide the student with a solid working knowledge of the emerging importance of sustainability and social responsibility as business considerations, and to understand how they are integrated into the vision and planning of the firm.  On successful completion of the course, the student should:

  1. Possess an in-depth understanding of the triple bottom line and how all three of its elements are equally important
  2. Understand the concept of sustainability, and how corporations might comport themselves in a sustainable manner
  3. Understand who are all of the stakeholders, and how they are affected by the actions of corporations
  4. Be able to demonstrate the different ways that concerns for the environment are demonstrated
  5. Comprehend the different ways to measure how corporations affect society and the environment
  6. Understand the whole product life cycle and how the stakeholders are affected by it
  7. Understand global warming and how all stakeholders can play their part to prevent it
  8. Know what it means to be carbon neutral and the steps that can be taken to get there
Means of Assessment
Term tests  25%
Midterm examination     20%
Cases, projects  25%
Participation  10%
Final examination  20%
Total 100%


Students may conduct research as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans, which can require obtaining Informed Consent from participants and getting the approval of the Douglas College Research Ethics Board prior to conducting the research.

Textbook Materials

Strategic corporate social responsibility: stakeholders in a global environment? by Werther & Chandler 2008

The debate over corporate social responsibility by Steve Kent May, George Cheney, Juliet Roper 2007

Corporate social responsibility and international development by Michael Hopkins  2007

or equivalent materials


MARK 1120 and BUSN 1210

OR MARK 1120 AND currently active in one of the following:

Post-Degree Diploma in Marketing or
Post-Degree Diploma in Sales or
Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Hospitality Services Management

(or special permission by instructor)