September 4 — September 9, 2016
Aalto University School of Business, Helsinki & Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg



Sustainability Management and Corporate Responsibility 

Goals and objectives:

The acute global challenges of climate change and overuse of natural resources, and persistent social problems have become an inescapable part of the landscape within which companies operate. In addition to their economic responsibility, companies are increasingly required to pay close attention to their environmental and social impact, and align their business practices with the urgency of sustainable development. While corporate responsibility (CR) is a major trend, its effective managerial implications call for understanding global and local sustainability challenges and solutions from a strategic standpoint of creating value to both society and the firm.

This block seminar will introduce students to the principles of sustainability management and corporate responsibility strategies and practices associated with them. Within the block seminar, students will have the chance to experience the challenges and opportunities of integrating sustainability and CR into corporate strategy and throughout the supply chain. We will explore concepts such as the circular economy, sustainable business models and ecosystem services, and what they imply for corporate management. Guest speakers as well as industry assignments and visits will enable the students to gain first hand insights into the topic and they will also have the benefit of familiarizing themselves with both a developed and an emerging economy. A range of media and teaching approaches will be used to maximize the learning experience. 

Course Reading:

Literature for the block seminar (pre-readings):
1. Rockström et al. 2009. A Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Nature 46: 472-475.
2. Familiarize yourself with the main ecological sustainability challenges in the Welcome to the Anthropocene website and watch the related film (3:37) http://www.anthropocene.info
3. Gjølberg, M. 2009. Measuring the immeasurable? Constructing an index of CSR practices and CSR performance in 20 countries. Scandinavian Journal of Management 25: 10-22.
4. Halme, M. and Laurila, J. 2009. Philanthropy, CR Integration or CR Innovation? Exploring the financial and social outcomes of corporate responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics 84: 325-339. 
5. Blagov, Y. and Petrova-Savchenko, A. 2012. Corporate philanthropy in Russia: evidence from a national awards competition, Corporate Governance 12 (4) 534-547.
6. Porter, M., Kramer M. 2011. Creating shared value: How to reinvent capitalism — and unleash a wave of innovation and growth. Harvard Business Review, January: 62-77.
7. Ghoshal, S. 2005. Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning and Education 4 (1): 75-91.
8. Hahn et al. 2010 Trade-Offs in Corporate Sustainability: You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It. Business Strategy and the Environment 19: 217-229. 
9. Locke, R. 2013. Can Global Brands Create Just Supply Chains? Boston Review, May/June: 12-29
10. SOK Annual Report 2015: http://vuosikatsaus.s-ryhma.fi/en”. (included also as a pdf in the pre-readings package sent separately 

Course Deliverables:

The course will require students to submit two deliverables:

• Individual pre-course assignment
• Group presentations

Grading Policy:

The final grade will be determined by:

• Individual pre-course assignment 10%
• Individual participation and activity in class discussions 40%
• Team-work and presentations 50%

Grading Scale:

The grading system of the AALTO & GSOM block seminar will be adjusted according to the ECTS system.

Evaluation criteria:

The criteria used in the evaluation of the students are:
1. Understanding of the key concepts, creative and logical thinking
2. Depth of the analysis
3. Manifestation of knowledge provided in the pre-readings
4. Clarity and consistency of written and oral argumentation



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