Sustainability & Stakeholders marketing


(last update: March 2016, more updates expected)



Subhasis Ray, Visiting Professor
Professor of Marketing, Xavier Institute of Management XIMB



45 contact hours



Goals and objectives:

As the world looks towards a post carbon, sustainable lifestyle, the role of marketing is facing increasing scrutiny. For the last fifty years, the marketing function has aggressively focused on customer acquisition and market share, brushing aside the emerging views of other stakeholders like governments, civil society and social problems like hunger and poverty. As a result, more products, services and projects are facing criticism than ever before with an ever increasing public cynicism of the claims made by brands. Corporations are increasingly being challenged to act in ways that serve the best interests of society. Sustainable Development which calls for addressing social and environmental concerns, spurred by over or unhealthy consumption, has been broadly ignored by marketing professionals.

Things are changing. Today, pioneer brands are aggressively seeking strategies that can allow them to “do well by doing good,” leaving a positive “footprint” on the world and avoiding actions that could harm consumers, employees, investors, competitors, suppliers, and the general public. This has resulted in a need to incorporate a more broad-based and inclusive approach in corporate branding, product development, packaging, communication, pricing and distribution.

This course investigates the nature and implications of sustainable development and stakeholder orientation for corporate sustainability. It is targeted at students who are curious to understand the interrelationship between marketing and society and would like to explore how marketing can create a better world.

At the end of the course, students are expected to have an understanding of

  • The importance of linking stakeholders and sustainable development to marketing strategy
  • Role, nature and importance of social and environmental concerns for business and marketing strategists
  • Societal context and social responsibility of brands
  • Aligning sustainability strategy with business/marketing strategy?
  • Using sustainability based innovations for brand differentiation?
  • Managing marketing with a triple bottom line approach

Course Content:

Topic 1. Marketing in the Twenty- First Century: Critical perspectives
Topic 2. Need for a stakeholder centric marketing orientation
Topic 3. Socio Ecological problems and opportunities
Topic 4. Sustainable Consumer behaviour
Topic 5. Sustainability, Marketing values and Objectives
Topic 6. Marketing strategy, stakeholders & sustainability
Topic 7. Sustainability Innovations
Topic 8. Challenges in Sustainable product development
Topic 9. Sustainability and Marketing Communication
Topic 10. Marketing and climate change
Topic 11. Business and poverty: new models
Topic 12. Marketing @bottom of the pyramid
Topic 13. Building ethical brands
Topic 14. Socially responsible supply chains and global brands

Teaching Methods:

This course uses a blended-learning approach, incorporating self-study, face-to-face classroom delivery, and group work. Key course content will be delivered in classroom sessions

Course Reading:

  • Jill M. Ginsberg and Paul N. Bloom, “Choosing the Right Environmental Marketing Strategy,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2004, pp. 79-84.
  • Darren Bush and Betsy D. Gelb, “When Marketing Practices Raise Antitrust Concerns, MIT Sloan Management Review, Summer 2005, pp. 73-81.
  • Smith, Craig N., Drumwright, E. Minette and Gentile Mary C. 2010. The New Marketing Myopia. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Vol. 29 (1)
  • Bhattacharya, C.B. and Daniel Korschun (2008), ‘Stakeholder Marketing: beyond the 4Ps and the Customer,” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 27 (Spring), 113-16.
  • N. Craig Smith, and David Vogel (2004), “Integrating Social Responsibility and Marketing Strategy: An Introduction,” California Management Review, 47 (Fall), 6-8.
  • Yaziji, Michaoel (2004), ‘Turning Gadflies into Allies,’ Harvard Business Review, 82 (February), 110-15.
  • Ray, S 2008, 'A case study of shell at Sakhalin: having a whale of a time?', Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management, 15, 3, pp. 173-185.

Exam format:

in-class, open-book, for 90 minutes ( no electronic gadgets allowed)

Grading Policy (% or points):

Course progress – 50 % (discussions, group project), exam – 50 %.


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