• Class Number 2404
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Gary Buttriss
    • Dr Gary Buttriss
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

In the 21st century, corporations cannot ignore the impact of increasing formal (regulatory) and informal (community) expectations relating to their impact on society and the natural environment.  This course examines the scope of these expectations, explores the reasons behind these expectations, and evaluates the impact of these expectations on corporations operating in a dynamic competitive environment in a capitalist economy. The course takes the perspective of an individual corporation that wants to: examine both its internal and external environments to determine the range of sustainability issues that it faces; develop strategies for sustainable practices that enhance its competitive position; make a business case to a range of its stakeholders, including owners, for the adoption of those sustainable practices; and understand the principal barriers to the implementation of those practices.

This course aims to promote an understanding, within the context of a capitalist economy, of:

  • the importance to each individual corporate entity of corporate sustainability;
  • the inter-relationship between the natural environmental, social, and economic aspects of corporate sustainability;
  • key drivers and inhibitors, both external and internal to the corporation, of the natural environmental and social aspects of corporate sustainability;
  • the roles of social and natural environmental risk, and product and process innovation, in developing corporate sustainability; and
  • theoretical and practical constraints on the development of a business case for corporate sustainability;

and provide an overview of:

  • the principal ‘toolkits' currently used by practitioners to recognise and appropriately resolve natural environmental and social sustainability issues in business; and
  • current best practice in corporate sustainability.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, analyse and solve, within the context of economic sustainability, issues within a corporation that relate to its natural environmental and social sustainability
  2. Make a case to a range of stakeholders, including managers, boards, and owners addressing specific corporate sustainability issues
  3. Develop appropriate policies and plans to address these issues

Research-Led Teaching

Teaching in this course takes place through three processes. Firstly, the content of the course is assembled drawing where appropriate on the latest academic and industry research, along with industry practice. Secondly, student’s will be required to examine and evaluate scholarly research to draw out the important concepts, models, and theory and apply these to contemporary practice. Finally, summative assessment in the course requires the student to undertake independent research. This will involve both primary and secondary research and require the collection, evaluation, and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

There is no final examination.

Required Resources

A 'Course Book' will be provided on Wattle that sets out your weekly readings, questions designed to guide your reading, and other useful resources. All readings and other resources required for this course will be provided via Wattle. There is no textbook.

See Course Book on Wattle which will have ALL material required for this course. No other materials are required.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Weekly online practice MCQ sets designed to evaluate learning on each topic. These are non-examinable.
  • Quiz 1 is designed to give students feedback on their progress with weekly topic prior to the break.
  • Assessment Items 1 and 2
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Seminar - Week 1: Introduction to the course. What is corporate sustainability? Course introduction State of play Defining corporate sustainability Social and environmental pressures
2 Seminar - Week 2: A Stakeholder Approach Making the case for corporate sustainability Stakeholder theory Distributive justice Intergenerational justice Drivers of sustainability for organizations Ethical and economic arguments for corporate sustainability
3 No lecture - Canberra Day Alternative arrangements discussed in class
4 Seminar - Week 4: Corporations and sustainability, use and abuse of nature Economic growth, free markets, and the failure of market-based policies Ecological economics Ecosystem services The tragedy of the commons
5 Seminar - Week 5: Business and Social Stakeholders Risk I: Social Risk How do we perceive risk? Outrage NGOs: friend or foe? Managing social risk
6 Seminar - Week 6: Business and the Natural Environment I Risk II - Environmental Risk The Precautionary Principle Identifying and managing environmental risk Environmental Impact Assessment
7 Seminar - Week 7: Conceptual models for the way forward: integrating nature, society, and capitalism The “Five Capitals Framework” Natural Capitalism Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
8 Seminar - Week 8: No Lecture due to ANZAC Day Alternative arrangements discussed in class Innovation I - Emerging Business Models What makes a sustainable organization? New Business & Governance Models
9 Seminar - Week 9: Innovation II: Process Innovation Life cycle analysis: cradle to cradle Circular Economy
10 Seminar - Week 10: Innovation III: Product Innovation Design for Sustainability (DfS) Product Service Systems Biomimicry “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid”
11 Seminar - Week 11: Demand-side Innovation Consumption and Consumerism Value New models of consumption
12 Seminar - Week 12: Taking stock & looking forward: The future of sustainability & organisations Corporate environmentalism Future directions & opportunities in sustainable business

Tutorial Registration

Tutorial registration is required for this course - registration will open after the first lecture.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Research Paper 30 % 28/04/2020 11/05/2020 1,2
Sustainable Business Strategy Decision 40 % 11/05/2020 25/05/2020 1,2,3
Quiz 1 15 % 02/04/2020 09/04/2020 1
Quiz 2 15 % 28/05/2020 02/07/2020 1

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation is expected in all courses and assessments


There is no final exam

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 28/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 11/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Research Paper

Individual Assessment

For this assignment, students will select an issue in corporate sustainability. You will summarise the issue and build an argument for why the issue at stake is important. You will then examine relevant academic literature, public policy, and industry reports and publications to understand the issue from an evidence-based perspective. You will make actionable recommendations for business and or public policy.

Students will have a choice of two options. These will be outlined in-class and in the Assignment Brief - (available on Wattle at the commencement of semester)

The research paper is designed to test critical thinking, analytical, and research skills. Students are expected to draw upon research evidence and theory from scholarly journal articles.

Harvard referencing is required, a guide is available at: https://library.sydney.edu.au/subjects/downloads/citation/Harvard_Complete.pdf

Word limit: 3,000 words.

Assessment brief: Available on Wattle from Week 1

Rubric: A marking rubric will be available on WATTLE at the beginning semester (Week 1).

Due: Week 8

Return of marks: within 2 weeks

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 11/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 25/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Sustainable Business Strategy Decision

Group Assessment

Working in groups students will undertake an assessment of sustainability strategy utilising multi-criteria analysis

Group Formation: Students are expected to self-select into groups within their tutorial group - this process will be coordinated by the tutor.

Assessment brief: Available on Wattle in Week 1.

Rubric: A marking rubric will be available on WATTLE at the beginning semester (Week 1).

Due: Week 10

Return of marks: within 2 weeks

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 02/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1

Quiz 1

Individual assessment

30 Multiple Choice Questions - 45min

Due: In-tutorial Week 6 - based on readings and indicative questions week 1-6 inclusive

Note: This is a closed book quiz with no permitted materials other than pen/pencil.

Return of marks: within 2 weeks

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 28/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1

Quiz 2

Individual assessment

30 Multiple Choice Questions - 45min

Due: In-tutorial Week 12 - based on readings and indicative questions week 7-12 inclusive

Note: This is a closed book quiz with no permitted materials other than pen/pencil.

Return of marks: Grades withheld - released with final course grade.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

Assessment items 1 and 2 are to be submitted using Turnitin. Please see the assessment briefs for details. 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilize the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission is not permitted for tasks 4 and 5.

Late submission of assessment tasks1 and 2 without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.

All requests for extensions to assessment in RSM courses must be submitted to the RSM School Office with a completed application form and supporting documentation. The RSM Extension Application Form and further information on this process can be found at https://www.rsm.anu.edu.au/education/education-programs/notices-for-students/extension-application-procedure/

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Please see relevant assessment task details above

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Unless specified otherwise in the assignment requirements, resubmissions are permitted up until the due date and time, but not allowed afterwards

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Gary Buttriss
02 61256129

Research Interests

My research is focused on sustainable enterprise and what it means to become a sustainable organisation. This includes innovation in product and services, markets and the organizations business model; consumer behaviour and how we become sustainable and ethical consumers; and how markets and organizations evolve in response to technological, environmental and social forces. My latest research project involves studying the process of Canberra evolving to be a sustainable city.

Dr Gary Buttriss

Tuesday 10:00 11:30
Tuesday 10:00 11:30
By Appointment
Dr Gary Buttriss
02 61256129

Research Interests

Dr Gary Buttriss

Tuesday 10:00 11:30
Tuesday 10:00 11:30
By Appointment

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