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Sustainable Finance

Module description

Finance is a key element to international business as financial decisions help to drive business strategy and growth. Confronting with the worldwide challenges and opportunities in business operations, global communities have raised concerns about the role of sustainable finance in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, human rights, and carbon emissions. This module is dedicated to addressing these concerns with new ways of thinking about finance and its role in business and society.

Full module specification

Module title:Sustainable Finance
Module code:BEAM082Z
Module level:M
Academic year:2023/4
Module lecturers:
  • - Convenor
Module credit:30
ECTS value:






Duration of module:

Module aims

This module will help you to develop the knowledge and skills to understand and apply key concepts of sustainability finance in a business context. You will learn about a wide range of sustainability topics such as carbon emissions, human rights, biodiversity, and community involvement. We will base our learning process on recent research insights for a sound theoretical foundation. We will look at best practices from leading industry peers to provide you with a sophisticated toolset that allows you to apply key concepts of sustainable finance in everyday business practice. While you will learn to appreciate the opportunities and competitive advantages linked to ESG, you will also understand to view ESG topics as a major risk factor of firms and investors alike. By looking at major scandals and lawsuits linked to ESG, we will elaborate critical features of these events and how these issues might have been mitigated.


ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. identify best practices for key sustainable and responsible finance elements derived from recent research insights
  • 2. assess major ESG disclosures and their relevance from a wide range of stakeholders such as management, investors, and society

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. critically discuss sustainable finance topics involving a wide range of theories
  • 4. analyse the interrelations between business, society, and the environment and derive related trade-offs and opportunities for companies

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. apply ideas and experiences from different academic and professional disciplines and acknowledge differences related to culture, generations, and societies
  • 6. engage independently with and make reasoned judgements about research on sustainable finance

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 activities120Asynchronous online learning activities
Guided Independent study180Including 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
Problem sets/open-ended questions200 words per week1-6Discussion with tutor in forum on ELE

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
Written Report 1251,500 words2, 3Written feedback
Video Presentations with transcript655 X 6-8 min videos with 500-600 words transcript1, 4, 5, 6Written feedback
Module Reflection10500 words or equivalent1-6Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written ReportWritten Report (25%)2, 3Reassessment Period
Video Presentations with transcriptVideo Presentations with transcript (65%)1, 4, 5, 6Reassessment Period
Module reflectionModule reflection (10%)1-6Reassessment Period

Syllabus plan

  • Sustainability and stakeholder theory
  • What is sustainability and why is it important in a business context?
  • Financial Markets and investors decision-making
  • Corporate responsibility and Governance
  • Current stage of ESG in the UK and internationally
  • Community involvement & philanthropy
  • Accountability & human rights
  • Corporate carbon performance
  • Biodiversity
  • Sustainability reporting and sustainability assurance

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Edmans, A. (2020). Grow the pie: How great companies deliver both purpose and profit. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (updated/new edition expected Q4 2021; either version can be used)
  • Gray, R., Adams, C. A., and Owen, D. (2014). Accountability, social responsibility and sustainability: Accounting for society and the environment. Harlow: Pearson.

Further specific readings will accompany each topic and will be posted along the online videos. Examples include:

  • Albuquerque, R., Koskinen, Y., & Zhang, C. 2019. Corporate social responsibility and firm risk: Theory andempirical evidence. Management Science ,65(10), 4451–69.
  • Dowell, G. W. S., S. Muthulingam. 2017. Will firms go green if it pays? The impact of disruption, cost, and external factors on the adoption of environmental initiatives. Strategic Management Journal, 38(6) 1287–1304.
  • Howard-Grenville, J., S. J. Buckle, B. J. Hoskins, G. George. 2014. Climate change and management. Academy Management Journal, 57(3) 615–623.
  • KPMG. 2020. Towards net zero: How the world's largest companies report on climate risk and net zero transition.
  • Krueger, P., Z. Sautner, L. T. Starks. 2020. The importance of climate risks for institutional investors. Review of Financial Studies, 33(3) 1067–1111.
  • Lewis, B. W., J. L. Walls, G. W. S. Dowell. 2014. Difference in degrees: CEO characteristics and firm environmental disclosure. Strategic Management Journal, 35(5) 712–722.
  • Renneboog, L., Ter Horst, J., & Zhang, C. 2008. Socially responsible investments: Institutional aspects, performance, and investor behavior. Journal of Banking & Finance, 32(9), 1723-1742.
  • Strand, R. 2013. The chief officer of corporate social responsibility: A study of its presence in top management teams. Journal of Business Ethics, 112(4) 721–734.


Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Origin date