AF7027 - Contemporary issues in Sustainability

What will I learn on this module?

Corporate governance offers the foundation for establishing transparency and accountability within organisations as well as support their strategic success. It plays a pivotal role in shaping the relationship between the organisation and its shareholders, other stakeholders, and the society at large. This module will explore various internal and external mechanisms of corporate governance that supports the organisation as a responsible member of the society and how this relates to the concepts of social responsibility, sustainability and business ethics. The module will also establish the links between responsible business practices and wider sustainable development initiatives such as the UN sustainable development Goals (SDGs).
The module will then consider the dynamic and complex landscape of sustainable finance which includes a myriad of players including security issuers, regulators, standard setters, rating agencies to investment companies. The module will introduce various sustainable and green investment vehicles. The module will consider green washing/impact washing, individual and collective actions among other contemporary issues in this area. Finally, the module will consider some of the technological innovations in the area of sustainable finance including innovations in banking and payment systems, applications of blockchain technology including digital assets and big data analytics including the use of AI. A key feature of the module are the workshops that will enable you to acquire data analysis skills using specialist software.

The module will also develop your curiosity and interest of ethical decision making in business, and to help you understand what ethics means from both an individual and organisational perspective. The module will enable you to develop an awareness of ethical dilemmas in business and challenge you to discuss and debate ethical decision-making as a future employer or employee

1 Responsible business and Sustainable development
2 Corporate governance and accountability
3 The use of ethical frameworks to aid the decision-making process
4 Sustainable finance landscape and issues
5 Fintech innovations in sustainability
6 Ethics and professionalism

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught through a combination of interactive lectures, seminars and self -study and reflection.

The module has a one-hour weekly lecture: Some of these lectures will be provided by guest lecturers/practitioners. These provide you will a good understanding of how topic dealt with in class to relate to the real world and understanding of the knowledge and skills required to be effective practitioners in sustainability. Before and after the lecture you will be given readings based on a teaching and learning plan, which you will be able to access through an online reading list on the module’s Blackboard site and through the Library website. There will also be multimedia support available through the teaching and learning plan, where you will be directed to access a range of videos and case studies.

There will be a one-hour seminar and a one-hour workshop per week:

Seminars: These will be facilitated by team working and group tasks such as group presentations. The seminars will draw heavily on yours and your peers’ discussions and debates of case studies, news stories and events, which have prominent relating to sustainable business management and investments. You will be asked to prepare work prior to the seminar, which will be directed in the teaching and learning plan and found through the modules Blackboard site. You will also be encouraged by your tutor to use research skills developed in other modules to consider additional material, such as relevant news articles from and other news outlets, academic and practitioner literature for further discussion.

Workshops: Students will get an opportunity to learn specialist programming languages necessary to analyse the complexities of the inter-disciplinary nature of sustainable finance

Self-study and reflection: This module will require you to engage in self-study and independent learning. This may be in the form of readings that are assigned to you as part of the lecture/seminar sessions. Team working and group tasks will enable you to develop critical transferable skills of effective communication and interpersonal interactions and will also provide opportunities for self-reflection on effective personal strategies for engaging with and learning from group activities, identifying and working own areas of personal development in relation to communication and interpersonal interactions and in assessing one’s own progress in learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The directed activities you undertake on the module are designed to ensure that you and the lecturing staff are the co-creators of knowledge. They will encourage you to create an active and self-directed learning experience, which will allow you to take responsibility for your own learning, whilst still having a high level of support. Support will be provided to you by the member of academic staff leading the module and providing the lectures and seminars. You will also have the support of the programme leader and support staff at the University.

Your module is supported by an e-learning portal (Blackboard), which houses the teaching and learning plan, lecture materials and recordings, and details of additional resources such as online recordings and videos. You will also be able to access key parts of lectures which will be recorded on Panopto throughout the module.

The modules online reading list can be reached through the Blackboard site. This list provides you with a comprehensive list of links from which to access all of the modules eBooks, news resources, and directed learning academic articles. The module’s Blackboard site also has a discussion board, where the module tutor and lecturers will post important information about the module throughout the semester.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
Demonstrate competency in understanding and analysing complex business issues to determine a range of solutions and then choose the most appropriate solutions.

To understand the concepts of business ethics, social responsibility and sustainability and hence, display a developing ability to analyse business problems and come to reasonable resolutions given a scenario [MLO1]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
To work effectively within a multi-cultural group to communicate business ideas in an effective manner to a range of people within an organisation.

To display developing reflection skills through exploring business practice and real world business decisions.[MLO2]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
To understand the impact of personal and business ethical dimensions and social responsibilities when making decisions and effectively use a range of ethical models to determine appropriate solutions to complex issues.[MLO3]

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment

You will receive weekly formative feedback during the seminars on each of the topics covered.

Summative Assessment

You will be assessed via a group presentation on a contemporary issue in corporate governance/sustainability. This part of the assessment accounts for 40% of the summative assessment.

Your group presentation will be supported via a briefing paper which will need to engage the intended audience to in a succinct manner to ensure the presentation fulfils it’s objective. Students will be assessed based on the format, content and ability to engage the audience. This part of the assessment accounts for 40% of the summative assessment. (1500 words max)

You will be required to produce an individual reflective commentary which reflects on your own personal development and positioning in terms of readiness for professional practice. This part of the assessment accounts for 20% of the summative assessment. (500 words max)





Module abstract

There is a consensus that economic development that does not take into account the impact on the society is not sustainable in the long run. The module provides you with the key knowledge and skills to be effective practitioners of sustainable business management by providing a comprehensive coverage of the issues, trends and innovations in sustainability including aspects of effective corporate governance mechanisms. The module encompasses a research rich learning experience that involves discussions off academic and practitioner research as well as real word examples, case scenarios and contemporary news reports that will help you develop your knowledge and critical evaluation skills, The module with its emphasis on interactive learning will provide you with opportunities to develop your communication and presentations skills and opportunities to improve these skills through extensive formative feedback. This together with module workshops on data analysis using specialist software will give you a suite of skills that are transferable to the workplace.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time
2 other options available

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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