Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development

Université Catholique de Lille

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development

  • Host University

    Université Catholique de Lille

  • Location

    Lille, France

  • Area of Study

    Economics, Environmental Sustainability, Ethics, International Business

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Evidence of current global threats such as climate change, resource scarcity, loss of biodiversity,
    social inequalities, and the impact of pollution on human health have forced governments,
    companies, and groups of citizens to reconsider our current paths to development. Linear
    industrial systems based on a take-make-dispose approach, the use of non-renewable energy
    sources, and the impact of urban sprawl over vast areas of fertile land, are examples of presentday phenomena that are currently being questioned across society.

    Though alarming, these contemporary trends have resulted in the stimulation of human creativity.
    The promise of a better world presents not only the greatest challenge of our time, but also an 
    enormous opportunity for those who want to reinvent the means by which we live as a society.
    Challenges include exploring new ways to produce the things necessary to satisfy our needs, how
    we organize ourselves, and how we decide collectively. This is the promise of sustainable
    This course will provide students with a concrete planning approach to move towards sustainable
    societies. Most sessions are based around specific business case studies, and are intended to be as
    practical and interactive as possible.
    Course sessions will include:
    Part I: Corporate social responsibility: Background and core issues
    1) Introduction and History of CSR
    Defining CSR, understanding its relation to sustainability
    History and evolution of CSR
    2) Latest trends in CSR
    The UN’s and the EU’s treatment of CSR
    Social responsibility in developing countries: the UN Global Compact
    3) Reporting standards
    ISO 26000, Integrated Reporting, Global Reporting Initiative
    Case Study Examples of Sustainability Reporting
    Activity: 1 Group presentation and Report
    4) CSR and stakeholders
    Stakeholder Mapping: relevant stakeholders and their expectations
    Shareholder capitalism vs. stakeholder capitalism, the triple bottom line
    Activity: 2 Group Presentations
    Part II: Ethics and economics of sustainability
    1) Multinational corporations: main challenges
    The purpose of a company, The polluter’s dilemma
    Conceptual frameworks to enhance understanding about the impacts of policies
    Activity: Group report 2
    2) Sustainability: main concepts and issues
    CSR and shared value creation, Greening the value chain, Greenwashing, Life cycle thinking
    Activity: Group report 3
    Part III: Strategic Planning for Sustainable development
    The socio-ecological transition at the local level with local businesses and socio-entrepreneurs
    The Third Industrial Revolution from a systems perspective : from a linear industrial process to the
    circular economy (field trip 1)
    Exploring innovative business models (Circular Economy, Product-Service Systems and the Sharing
    Economy, Social entrepreneurship) (field trip 2)
    The regenerative economy (field trip 3) 

    Learning Outcomes:
    By the end of the course, the students should be able to:
    - Identify problems facing companies under the umbrella of social responsibility;
    - Forecast the positive and negative impact of policies and actions in a manner that reduces
    corporate risk;
    - Demonstrate the value of CSR in order to better inform decision-making.
    - Understand the critical elements of a CSR initiative
    - Audit an existing CSR initiative
    - Describe and apply a four-step strategic planning process in various contexts (product/service
    development, business strategy, urban planning, etc.):
    - identify socio-ecological impacts,
    - create a list of potential measures (recommendations and strategic guidelines, good
    practices, eco-innovations, new business models, etc.),
    - set priorities, and
    - create an action plan
    - Identify and understand specific European cases through case studies and site visits 
    Students are encouraged to become familiar with CSR through their own reading and research.
    They will fully prepare in advance for the classes, thereby maximising classroom time. Active
    student involvement of the learning of the themes studied is expected. Common features of the
    classes will include:
    - Reading of prescribed articles
    - Discussions/debates
    - Short presentations
    - Review of case studies
    - Research on internet to further knowledge of the topics
    - Creativity sessions 

    All course materials will be supplied in class. References may be made to the following resources:
    - Anderson, R. 1999. Mid-Course Correction: Towards a Sustainable Enterprise, The Interface
    Model. Atlanta: Peregrin Press.
    - Benyus, Janine 1998. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature.
    - Hardin, Garrett 1968. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859
    (Dec. 13, 1968), pp. 1243-1248. Published by: American Association for the Advancement of
    - McDonough, William and Braungart M. 2002. Cradle to Cradle. New York: North Point Press.
    - Rifkin, Jeremy 2012. The Third Industrial Revolution: How the Internet, Green Electricity, and 3-D
    Printing are Ushering in a Sustainable Era of Distributed Capitalism.
    - Rifkin, Jeremy 2014. The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative
    Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism. Palgrave Macmillan Trade.
    - Scharmer, C Otto and Kaeufer, K. 2010. “In front of the blank canvas: sensing emerging futures.”
    In Journal of Business Strategy Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 21-29, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
    - Schumacher, E. 1973. Small Is Beautiful. London: Blond & Brig gs Ltd.
    - Senge, PM and Carstedt, G. 2001. Innovating our way to the next industrial revolution. MIT Sloan
    Management Review 42(2): 24-38.
    - Sustainability Illustrated 2014. Cats in Borneo (article and video)
    - Sustainability Primer - by The Natural Step Canada (24 pages, in English)
    - Willard, B. 2002. The Sustainability Advantage: Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom
    Line. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations