The Business of Climate Change

Module description


Climate change poses a serious threat to our future, and it is widely recognised that our economies need to be significantly transformed in order to ensure that our own and future generations can thrive. Many high profile companies now have strategies that address this threat. This module provides the chance to gain a clear understanding of the relevance of climate change to business organisations and the contribution that they can make to finding solutions. It considers both the impacts of climate change and associated policies on the business environment, and the opportunities it offers companies to gain a competitive advantage while making an important contribution to societal attempts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Within the classes the following questions are addressed: How does climate change affect business? How can businesses develop climate change strategies? How can a company’s carbon footprint be measured? What are the responsibilities of business? Should markets be designed to price carbon and other greenhouse gases? Why do we find it difficult to adopt less carbon intensive lifestyles? How can low carbon innovation be encouraged?

Additional Information:

Climate change is an international problem that requires an international solution. Both in adapting to a changing global climate and responding to policies to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, leading international companies are adjusting their strategies.

Clearly this module is relevant to any student concerned about the sustainability of our current economic system, and for learning about what action can be taken, particularly by companies to avert environmental catastrophe.

Contemporary international managers increasingly are required to have an understanding of the strategic threat of climate change. This threat not only relates to environmental and regulatory risk, but also the threat of competitive advantage being lost to companies who have more nimbly adapted to the shifting conditions climate change brings. Students will gain an understanding not only of strategic issues, but also gain skills in carbon accounting which is becoming a regulatory requirement for many companies.

Full module specification

Module title:The Business of Climate Change
Module code:BEM3016
Module level:3
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Ms Juliette Stephenson - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



None for students registered for a Business School degree. For students outside of the Business School, please contact the module convenor, Juliette Stephenson, to see if you have the necessary background required for this module.

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the potential contribution that business and related stakeholders can make to reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, and addressing issues of adaptation. Students will gain literacy in climate change issues relevant to both business managers and citizen-consumers.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. discuss the implications of climate change for business and society,
  • 2. recognise the ethical dimensions of climate change and the extent to which ethical values can be effectively adopted by consumers, companies and government policies,
  • 3. evaluate different policies such as carbon taxes and emission permits and determine their effects on company performance,
  • 4. comprehend the behavioural issues associated with carbon reduction
  • 5. identify and analyse the strategic options for businesses,
  • 6. assess the role of energy policy and innovation in the management of climate change.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. develop capacity for critical thought and reasoned discussion,
  • 8. develop skills for addressing complex problems that require system change

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. enhance independent study skills,
  • 10. development of written communication skills.

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
Contact hours22 (2x11)Lectures
5 (5x1)Tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay Plans1-10Students can discuss essay ideas with tutors before submission

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
Assignment402000 words1-10Written feedback from academic tutor
Examination602 hours1-10Generic feedback on ELE

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
AssignmentSame as original (40%) 2000 words1-101st September deadline for submission
ExaminationSame as original (60%) 2 hours1-10August/September assessment period

Syllabus plan

  • The Business of Climate Change – Introduction
  • The struggle for international agreement on climate change
  • How do carbon markets work?
  • Changing behaviours for a changing climate?
  • Can we solve the problem with technology?
  • Climate Impacts and Adaptation
  • Climate Change and Energy Policy
  • Climate change and company strategy 
  • Developing low carbon economies

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Module reading will be from a variety of sources with many made available through the module ELE site.

The following books, all available electronically will be drawn on:

Stern, N. (2007) The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Also available from:

Pinkse, J and Kolk, A.(2009) International Business and Global Climate Change

London : Routledge. (available online from the Forum Library)

Bansal, P. and Hoffman, A. (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Business and the Natural Environment

Oxford:OUP (available online from the ForumLibrary)

Gardiner, S.M. (2011) A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change. Oxford   

 University Press. (available online from the ForumLibrary)

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date