Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Management and Technology

Course taught in English

Class timetable
Exam timetable
Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  12 credits SECS-P/08) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - DSBA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - FIN (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08) - TS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/08)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

Suggested background knowledge

To feel comfortable in this course, students should be familiar with basic concepts in management, strategy and economics.

Mission & Content Summary


Human activity has become the prime driver of change bringing our Planet into a new geological era, the Anthropocene. Preserving the integrity and the resilience of social-ecological systems is fundamental to build a sustainable society. Climate change, ecosystem degradation, energy are among today’s most pressing issues, receiving broad attention from political institutions, advocacy groups, consumers, and public opinion. Companies are influencing climate change and ecosystem transformations as emitter of pollutants and greenhouse gases, and as users of ecosystem services and natural resources. These challenges have emerged as key drivers for many organizations all over the world. Companies are expected to tackle sustainability issues leveraging on their knowledge and competencies to develop and diffuse green technologies, sustainable business models, and innovative practices. These challenges are altering the social and competitive arena, creating new market opportunities that are pivotal to success in the 21st century. The course is intended to familiarize graduate students with these challenges. The course provides knowledge of climate change and energy risks, relevant regulatory frameworks (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement, the Glasgow Climate Pact) and analyses corporate strategic responses. Specific emphasis is oriented to firm innovation processes, new business models and the development of sustainable supply chain.


The course contents are organized into 4 Modules and 2 Tracks.

  1. Modules 1 and 2, are common for all students, and they covers the following topics:
    • Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and social-ecological systems.
    • Climate change, energy scenarios and ecosystem services.
    • Regulations, policy and economic tools for climate change (UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, Glasgow Climate Pact).
    • Why companies engage in sustainability: Corporate sustainability and sustainability leadership.
    • The business case for sustainability.
    • How companies engage in sustainability: Sustainability strategies.
    • Sustainable supply chains and sustainable innovation.
    • Developing a business plan for sustainability.
  2. Then the course divides into 2 Tracks (Modules 3 and 4):
    • Track 1 focuses on innovation, sustainable supply chain and new business models (e.g. circular economy) and is associated with a field project organized with the collaboration of leading companies.
    • Track 2 is associated with the Model UNFCCC CEMS Climate Change Strategy Role Play, and focuses on measures to address climate change, negotiation and 2 days of off-campus role play. The number of students accepted in Track 2 is limited. Preference is accorded to CEMS students.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...

(The course equips students with the development of skills and competencies to address quantitative and qualitative problems related with the sustainability challenges).

  • Be able to recognize and understand the main challenges of the Anthropocene epoch.
  • Acquire basic notions of planetary boundaries, climate change science and energy scenarios.
  • Understand the interdependences between the social-ecological system and business.
  • Gain an understanding on the role of global policy approaches and regulations to tackle climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • Identify and understand the main implication for companies and strategic processes.
  • Explain and illustrate in details the business case for sustainability.
  • Understand new managerial approaches and concepts such as sustainable supply chain and green innovation, sustainable and circular business models.
  • Acquire basic knowledge on the main tools to manage and measure environmental and sustainability issues (e.g environmental and carbon footprint, sustainability plan, life cycle assessment).


At the end of the course student will be able to...


  • Analyse and compare firm strategies and practices to address the sustainability challenges.
  • Measure environmental sustainability trough key performance indicators.
  • Evaluate and assess sustainable supply chain strategies and sustainable innovation.
  • Track 1 students: learn to develop a specific sustainability plan for a company applying the concepts such as sustainable supply chain or sustainable innovation.
  • Track 2 students: learn the basic principles of negotiation, and gain a better understanding of bilateral-multilateral negotiation dynamics, and practice their skills in the climate negotiations.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Group assignments
  • Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


The course uses multiple teaching approaches to favour active learning processes.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


  • Written exam (30%). The written exam is based on open-ended questions. Questions test the students’ learning of the theories, concepts and tools illustrated and analysed in class. Student are required to show that they can illustrate some basic theories and concepts, and that they can analyse sustainability problems at business level.
  • Field project assignment (50%). For both Tracks (1 and 2), students are required to realize a group field project. The assignment for Track 1 students is organized as a consultant project, where students are required by a client to provide some solutions to a sustainability business challenge (e.g. circular business models, sustainable supply chain, green product design). Students are asked to apply some of the concepts and tools discussed in class to the case of a real organization, trying to apply some managerial solutions in order to improve the environmental sustainability of the business. Students have to present in front of external advisors both the “proof of concept” and the final version of the project. Students need to show ability to effectively support and defend the results achieved. Track 2 students have to elaborate two papers (a background and position paper) focusing on how specific parties (e.g. states or NGOs) are addressing the issue of climate change, according to the UNFCCC model. In doing so, they need to analyse in depth the specific feature of the assigned party with regard to the climate change challenge, and then apply the theories and concepts illustrated in the first modules of the course (e.g. carbon budget, mitigation and adaptation strategy, market mechanisms) in order to elaborate a robust strategy to negotiate their climate position. 
  • Class participation (20% of the exam) aims to test the students’ ability to make thoughtful contributions based on the literature that advance the discussion, and their ability to think critically and interact in a constructive way with other classmates.


  • Written exam (100%). The written exam for non attending students is based on open-ended questions and/or multiple choice. Questions test the students’ understanding of the theories and tools illustrated in the teaching materials and assess their ability to analyse and apply these theories and concepts to case studies or real practical examples.

Teaching materials


  • Selection of papers and cases made available to the students at the beginning of the course.
  • Selected chapters from: R. SARDA', S. POGUTZ, Corporate Sustainability in the 21st Century. Increasing the Resilience of Social-Ecological Systems. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019.


  • Selection of papers and cases made available to the students at the beginning of the course.
  • R. SARDA', S. POGUTZ, Corporate Sustainability in the 21st Century. Increasing the Resilience of Social-Ecological Systems. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2019. 
Last change 12/12/2023 10:09