Global Sustainability Agenda and ESG Accounting (GRAB003)

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Course description

Due to limited natural resources, disruptive technologies and global institutional changes we are at a crossroad of our economic development. The current phenomena of climate change, loss of biodiversity, social injustice is challenging changing the way we are living and working together. Our business mindset is still related to the times of industrialization and caught in a zero-sum games and trade-off thinking between business and society. Nevertheless, latest management literature provides new insights about an innovative role of business in the global sustainability agenda. The ethical and economic context of business is changing dramatically, thereby providing new market opportunities and business solutions. Important for future-fit business leaders is to understand state-of-the art concepts of sustainability and the new foundation of business success in the 21st century. International frameworks and tri-sectoral partnerships between business, politics and civil society will play an important role in creating a common future together. Only business which are leading the digital and sustainable market transformation will succeed and become global market players. Sustainable innovation which is embedded in the business models and strategies will be the biggest competitive advantage and will provide new market opportunities. By becoming net positive, which means giving more to society than taking, companies not only become a main driver for positive societal change but also gain trust and support from all their stakeholders. Social innovation and market transformation are becoming two sides of one coin seen from a management perspective. Realizing this will make future-fit leaders which develop a new mindset which integrates the 4 dimensions social, environmental, economic and knowledge evolution.

The course beside to the issues mentioned above will be analyzing agendas set by the international organisations for sustainable development: UN Sustainable Development goals and the EU Green Deal. Following the recommendations by the international organisations, many businesses started to collect quantitative data in order to evaluate their impact at least in three areas: environment, social environment and governance (ESG). Managing and tracking ESG objectives are an increasing focus across industries and supply chains as businesses weigh growing demand to disclose results and improve on the impact of those initiatives. Different approaches in composition of ESG indicators, their relevance to ESG accountability by different businesses will be analysed in detail in the course.

Course goals

This new understanding will lead to an innovative team approach creating new business opportunities together. This course is the beginning of a journey and master future-fit business thinking and to develop management skills for the 21st century.

Course results

  • To understand the reasons, drivers and initiatives for the global sustainable transformation.
  • To analyze and critically evaluate the changing role of business in the field of sustainable development.
  • To develop a new business paradigm which overcomes the old trade off thinking between profit and sustainability.
  • To understand the business challenges and opportunities of the sustainable transformation
    Assess ESG company performance using publicly available information.
  • To critical reflect the own mindset and business assumption and to develop future-fit management skills.
  • To apply the knowledge in a team project.


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