• Offered by Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law, Business Administration
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Neil Gunningham
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Autumn Session 2015
    See Future Offerings

Traditionally, industry has been accused of sacrificing sustainable development to the pursuit of short-term profit. Yet today, under the banner of Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER), a growing number of business organizations are claiming to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. So what is this emerging phenomenon of CER and what does it aspire to achieve? How pervasive is it and what are its implications for both business and the environment? This course assesses the evidence as to what extent corporations are seeking to “do well be doing good” and explains why some companies have gone down this path when others, similarly situated, have been unwilling to do so, having regard in particular to the relationship between corporate environmental strategy and competitive advantage. In essence it asks: what has CER accomplished, what can it accomplish and what is beyond its reach. The course includes a variety of case studies and workshops, and is designed to complement LAWS8111.

Environmental concerns have a powerful (but within Australia, little understood) impact on business success. To maintain their competitive advantage, corporate managers must stay ahead of the curve, focusing on environmental strategy and positioning themselves to be ‘environmentally responsible’. This course is concerned with how business can and should respond to environmental challenges and with how corporate environment responsibility can be linked to positive economic outcomes. New technologies, untapped markets and regulatory innovations all present business opportunities to be seized by companies with foresight. The question is how to turn environment to a strategic advantage. The course explores the effects of environmentalism on corporate management, examining recent thinking on the role of environment in business, how environmental forces are driving change, how best to respond to external pressures, and how business managers can think about environmental issues in a strategic way. In particular, how can business can best respond to the pressures of regulation, markets, financial institutions, consumers and NGOs? The course will be of particular value to business managers at all levels, to government officials, policymakers and regulators, to corporate environmental lawyers, to environment consultants, NGOs and to a variety of other environmental stakeholders.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

A participant who has successfully completed this course should be able:

  • to explain the relationship between legal underpinnings, economic incentives, organisational structure, non-legal policy tools and decision-making processes;
  • to describe and analyse key policy tools and processes relevant to environmental management and performance in the private sector; and
  • to explore the role of organisational issues and key business strategies for engaging with environmental issues.
  • To describe the importance to reputation-sensitive business of social licence and the inter-relationship between business and civil society, including business-NGO partnerships.
  • To identify what CER has accomplished, what it can accomplish and what is beyond its reach.

Other Information

This is an intensive course with 4 days of compulsory attendance required (see LLM timetable for dates).
Approximately 6 weeks from the completion of the intensive your final assessment will be due. Contact with fellow students and the convenor, both prior to the intensive and after, is conducted via the Wattle course site.

About the Convenor:  Neil Gunningham has degrees in law and criminology from Sheffield University, UK, is a Barrister and Solicitor (ACT) and holds a PhD from ANU.

Although initially trained in law, his subsequent post-graduate work was in interdisciplinary social science, and for the last fifteen years he has applied that training principally in the areas of safety, health and environment, with a focus on regulation and governance. He joined RegNet in January 2002 and is currently a Director of the National Research Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

Previously he was Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Environmental Law at ANU, Visiting and Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley, and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics.

Indicative Assessment

Students must rely on the Course Study Guide which will be posted to the Wattle course site approximately 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


26 Contact Hours (Intensive Delivery over 3 days)

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specilising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specilising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Enviornmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (MLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIN), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL, 7883XLLM), Master of Diplomacy/Master of International Law (7893XMINTL), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP). OR Must be studying a: Master of Diplomacy/Master of International Law (7893XMDIPL, 7893XMINTL), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL), Master of Legal Studies (7305XMLEGS), and have completed LAWS8189 Fundamentals of Environmental Law OR Must be studying a Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five LAWS1000 level courses or five LAWS6100 level courses. OR Must be studying a Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or are completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions and LAWS8189 Fundamentals of Environmental Law.

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text for this course.

Preliminary Reading

 Important texts for reference purposes are:

 G Kane Corporate Leadership in a Low Carbon Economy, Routledge, 2011

Pitelis, C, Keenan J and Pryce V (eds) Green Business, Green Values and Sustainability, Routledge 2011.

Gunningham, N (ed) Corporate Environmental Responsibility, Ashgate, 2009.

David Vogel The Market for Virtue: The Potential and Limits of Corporate Social Responsibility, Brookings, 2005.

Bruce L. Hay, Robert N. Stavins, and Richard H. K. Vietor, (eds) Environmental Protection and the Social Responsibility of Firms: Perspectives from Law, Economics, and Business RFF, 2005 (especially chapters by Reinhardt, Portney and Vogel).

Reinhardt, F. Down to Earth Harvard University Press, 2002.

Sharma S and Sragon-Correa (Eds) Corporate Environmental Strategy and Competitive Advantage, Elgar, 2005, especially Chs 1 and 11.

The Harvard Business Review on Business and the Environment Harvard Business School Press, 2000.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2958
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Autumn Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1623 22 Apr 2015 22 Apr 2015 01 May 2015 05 Jun 2015 In Person N/A

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