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University of Exeter Business School

Environmental Economics (GSS)

Module titleEnvironmental Economics (GSS)
Module codeBEEM495Z
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Mario Du Preez (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Environmental Economics recognizes both the vital interplay between the economy and the natural environment, and the urgent need for sustainable development for the benefit of both current and future generations. In a contemporary setting, achieving acceptable levels of sustainability means the successful alignment of business models with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics. This module will focus on the “E” in “ESG” by exploring key environmental issues and how addressing these issues should be incorporated into ESG-conscious business practices. The most salient environmental issues to be dealt with include climate change, pollution, waste, resource depletion, deforestation and biodiversity preservation. Investigation of those issues will assist you in formulating sustainability strategies, with a core focus on carbon footprint reduction, and to operationalise concepts such as “net zero”, circularity, and waste minimization in organisational practices.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will introduce the core ideas and philosophies underpinning the study of Environmental Economics, with special reference to ESG.  The module will also explore some key environmental issues which impact the achievement of sustainable development, including climate change, pollution, waste, resource depletion, deforestation and biodiversity.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. critically reflect on how economists view and approach the environment
  • 2. critically evaluate the vast interdependence between the economy and the natural environment in terms of a materials balance perspective
  • 3. critically discuss the ‘Limits to Growth’ hypothesis and whether it stands up to thorough academic scrutiny
  • 4. critically discuss Sustainable Development as a prerequisite for minimizing the impacts of economic growth on resource use and waste assimilation sinks
  • 5. critically reflect on the contemporary environmental issues that inform Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics, with special reference to climate change, pollution, resource depletion, waste, deforestation, and biodiversity

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. interpret secondary data and published findings
  • 7. evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of environmental-related ESG interventions

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. synthesise relevant data to substantiate the need for ESG alignment
  • 9. display written and verbal communication skills
  • 10. carry out a critical evaluation of environmental policies

Syllabus plan

  1. How do Economists Perceive the Environment?And why should businesses adhere to ESG principles?
  2. Why is the ‘Limits to Growth’ Hypothesis Controversial? 
  3. Is the Quest for Sustainable Development Achievable? 
  4. Climate Change: How Bad Is It? How Bad Could It Get? What Can We Do About It?  
  5. Pollution: How Bad is It? What Can be Done? 
  6. Resource Use: How Much is Enough? 
  7. Waste: The Search for Effective Waste Management Policies 
  8. Deforestation: Where, Why and How Much? 
  9. Biodiversity Conservation: Do or Die? 
  10. Business and the Environment: Where to From Here? 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity120Asynchronous online learning activities
Guided Independent Study 180Including preparation for online content, reflection on taught material, wider reading and completion of assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Knowledge and understanding checks30 minutes1-7,9Written or recorded audio/video feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Video presentation3010- 15 minutes1-3, 9Written Feedback
Individual report603000 words4 - 10Written feedback
Module reflection10500 words or equivalent1, 5 , 9Written Feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Video presentationVideo presentation (30%)1-3, 9Reassessment Period
Individual report Individual report (60%)4 - 10Reassessment Period
Module reflectionModule reflection (10%)1, 5 , 9Reassessment Period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you have been deferred for any assessment you will be expected to submit the relevant assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be expected to submit the relevant assessment. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Where there are practical reasons why the original form of assessment on a module cannot be replicated for referral or deferral purposes, an alternative form of assessment must be used. Examples of when this approach is justified include where the original assessment relied on fieldwork, group work, access to specialist equipment, or input from visiting staff; or where the process of assessment throughout the module was intricate, involving many assessments. The method of reassessment should address as many of the module’s intended learning outcomes as is possible.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Field, B. and Field, M.K. (2020). ISE Environmental Economics. 8th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Tietenberg, T.H. and Lewis, L. (2019). Environmental Economics: The Essentials. Taylor & Francis: New York.

Please note: The above-mentioned textbooks are introductory in nature and are to be consulted if further clarification of basic concepts and tools of analysis is required.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Academic journal articles, podcasts, videos, and other reports of interest will be made available on ELE.

Key words search

Environmental, Social, Governance, Economics, ESG, Pollution, Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Resource Depletion, Waste

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date