MGMT09024 2022 Business Sustainability and human rights

General Details

Full Title
Business Sustainability and human rights
Transcript Title
Business Sustainability
N/A %
Subject Area
MGMT - Management
SOCS - Social Sciences
09 - NFQ Level 9
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2022 - Full Academic Year 2022-23
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Dr. Leonard Taylor
Programme Membership
SG_HPROF_M09 202200 Master of Arts in Professional Leadership SG_HPROF_S09 202200 Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Leadership

This module will provide the learner with a comprehensive and critical engagement with Business Sustainability and human rights. Modern business is defined by various responsibilities, which today include being socially and environmentally responsible, sustainable and ethical. Therefore, the demand made on contemporary business is not alone to be the best in the world but also the best for the world. Learners will acquire the theories, analytical expertise, and ethical tools, to respond to a growing array of engagements, including ethical investment, sustainable development, community and workforce engagement, global supply chains, diversity in talent and opportunities, non-financial reporting, and with modern human rights. Learners will develop a Business Sustainability statement and engage with processes of accountability and benchmarking strategies to integrate processes of Business Sustainability into their everyday commercial practice.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Critically explore and evaluate the emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility, and various sustainability theories in the commercial and business domain.


Evaluate and engage with frameworks that promote diverse and responsible workplaces, with healthy corporate values and principles


Demonstrate detailed research of international and domestic best practice across a range of domains, including engagement with national government policy


Apply and embed responsible practices, through creating a Business Sustainability policy for industry and the marketplace with impact on business sustainability and social engagement.


Evaluate and appraise methodologies of accountability to benchmark Business Sustainability best practice.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Online delivery and onsite learning:

Synchronous and asynchronous online delivery of learning will occur weekly. Scaffold approach to the research process will occur, this will allow the student to develop the required skills over the term.

Each term students will be offered the opportunity to attend classroom-based learning. This may vary year by year but may include undertaking a collective community outreach project, or alternatively a workshop involving the comparative analysis and presentation of Business Sustainability and human rights strategies across the corporate world.  

Module Assessment Strategies

Module participants will be expected to successfully complete the following:

1. Evaluation of Business Sustainability strategies and approaches across the corporate world, and various industries, through an online interactive collaborate blog.

2. Design and develop a Business Sustainability Brief for industry according to best practice, including outlining a set of principles and commitments, with practical and achievable objectives.

3. Write a brief end of term article, which evaluates and critically engages with the conceptual underpinnings of Business Sustainability and human rights theory in the context of examining a contemporary international or regional example.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessments requirements will be based on failed components and be recorded at the Progression and Award Boards.

Indicative Syllabus

LO1) Critically explore and evaluate the historical emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility and philanthropy, and various ethical theories in the commercial and business domain. Chart and critique the development of CSR, and identify the key shifts in practice through an analysis of significant milestones in the Irish and international context. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of Corporate Social Responsibility, with recognition of CSR’s commitment to ethical standards, sustainability and integrity in business.

 LO2) Evaluate and engage with frameworks that promote diverse and responsible workplaces, with healthy corporate values and principles. Critically appraise normative ethical theories, and human rights based approaches as means to the promotion of societal equality and inclusivity.

 LO3) Demonstrate detailed research of international and domestic best practice across a range of domains, including engagement with national government policy, to evaluate domestic and international practice. Review key developments in human rights applications in business practice globally. Evaluate the triple bottom line framework of social, environmental (or ecological) and financial responsibilities across an array of case studies both domestically and internationally of positive and negative examples of corporate responsibility. Examine national policy to embed responsible practices in the marketplace, and in the international supply chain, and to encourage enterprises to consider their impacts on the environment.

 LO4) Apply and embed responsible practices, through creating Business Sustainability policies for industry and the marketplace with impact on business sustainability and community engagement.  Examine critically the impact of the UN Sustainable development goals, as a programme for corporate action. Review national policy that support businesses in Ireland to create sustainable jobs, and ethical impacts. Develop tangible and actionable Business Sustainability strategies that are specific and measurable with various corporate domains.

 LO5) Evaluate and appraise methodologies of accountability to benchmark Business Sustainability best practice. Review and evaluate corporate performance rating and Indexing, benchmarking, certification of companies, and various forms of non-financial reporting. Demonstrate the value of social media and networking as a means of communicating Business Sustainability.  

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Online interactive collaborate blog Coursework Assessment Project 15 % Week 6 1,3
2 Develop a Business Sustainability strategy for industry Coursework Assessment Individual Project 40 % Week 8 2,4,5
3 End of term essay Coursework Assessment Essay 45 % Week 12 1,3

Online Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Online Online Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Workshop / Seminar Flat Classroom On campus classroom-based learning 4 Once Per Semester 0.27
Independent Learning Not Specified Participant independent study 4.25 Weekly 4.25
Total Online Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.27 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Recommended Reading
2019-02 Corporate Social Responsibility
ISBN 0198797753 ISBN-13 9780198797753

The most trusted and applied textbook on corporate social responsibility; both critical in approach and contemporary in coverage.

Recommended Reading
2017-03-23 Corporate Social Responsibility Cambridge University Press
ISBN 1107535395 ISBN-13 9781107535398

This upper-level textbook offers an original and up-to-date introduction to issues in corporate social responsibility (CSR) from a global perspective. Written by an international team of experts, it guides students through key themes in CSR including strategy, communication, regulation and governance. Balancing critiques of CSR with a discussion of the opportunities it creates, it includes chapters devoted to critical issues such as human rights, anti-corruption, labour rights and the environment. Pedagogical features include customised case studies, study questions, key term highlighting, practitioner pieces and suggestions for further resources. The book is also complemented by a companion website featuring adaptable lecture slides, teaching notes for cases and links to related resources. Tailored for upper-level undergraduate and postgraduate courses on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and business ethics, it is also relevant to non-business courses in political science, international relations and communications.

Recommended Reading
2020-03-04 Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law
ISBN 0367459051 ISBN-13 9780367459055

Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and the Law examines the responsibilities of business enterprises for human rights from a legal perspective. It analyses the legal status of the 'corporate responsibility to respect human rights' as articulated by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This concept currently reflects an international consensus and is promoted by the UN. The book contemplates the various founding perspectives of the UNGPs, and how the integration of notions such as 'principled pragmatism' and 'polycentric governance' within its framework provides insights into the future course of law and policy, compliance, and corporate respect for human rights. The book thus takes a global focus, examining the interaction of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), human rights, and the law in a broader global governance context. Setting out a possible future scenario for the legalization of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights that is informed by the UNGPs' founding perspectives and reflects current realities in the human rights landscape, this book will be of great interest to scholars of business ethics, international human rights law, and CSR more broadly.

Recommended Reading
2020-07-31 Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business Edward Elgar Publishing
ISBN 1786436396 ISBN-13 9781786436399

This authoritative Research Handbook brings together leading international scholars and practitioners to provide in-depth analysis of some of the most hotly debated topics and issues concerning the interface of human rights and business. In addition to offering critical insights on the historical evolution of the business and human rights field and its relationship with the domain of corporate social responsibility, contributions to this comprehensive Research Handbook are split into several thematic parts to facilitate cohesive analysis. Chapters explore the themes of corporate human rights due diligence, regulatory role of states, human rights' intersection with trade, investment and finance, heightened risks for certain groups and contexts, and corporate accountability. Containing a detailed examination of the challenges and the potential solutions in the field, the Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business will be an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, policy makers and practitioners working at the intersection of business and human rights.

Required Reading
2021 Sustainability Principles and Practice
ISBN 0367365219 ISBN-13 9780367365219

"This new and expanded edition builds upon the accessible and comprehensive overview of the interdisciplinary field of sustainability. The focus is on furnishing solutions and equipping the student with both conceptual understanding and technical skills for the workplace. Each chapter explores one aspect of the field, first introducing concepts and presenting issues, then supplying tools for working toward solutions. Techniques for management and measurement as well as case studies from around the world are provided. The third edition includes a complete update of the text, with increased visual material and pedagogy to guide students in their learning. Chapters include further reading and discussion questions. The book is supported by a companion website with links, detailed reading lists, glossary, and additional case studies, together with projects, research problems, and group activities, all of which focus on real-world problem solving of sustainability issues. The textbook is designed to be used by undergraduate college and university students in sustainability degree programs and other programs in which sustainability is taught"--

Required Reading
2020-11-24 Sustainable Global Supply Chains Kogan Page
ISBN 1789662621 ISBN-13 9781789662627

Develop an advanced understanding of sustainable supply chains with this in-depth, research-based book, highlighting best practices and the role of digitalization.

Required Reading
2022-02-28 Business and Human Rights Cambridge University Press
ISBN 1009158392 ISBN-13 9781009158398

The first of its kind, this comprehensive interdisciplinary textbook in Business and Human Rights (BHR) connects and integrates themes, discussions, and issues in BHR from both legal and non legal perspectives, providing a solid foundation for cross-disciplinary conversations. It equips students, teachers, and scholars with the necessary knowledge to navigate and advance evolving BHR debates, providing a thorough understanding of the academic foundations, evolving policy spaces, and practical approaches in BHR. Short cases throughout translate the conceptual insights into practical solutions. Study, reflection, and discussion questions help readers to consolidate and synthesize their understanding of the material and provide stimulating frameworks for debate, in the classroom and beyond. The book features a collection of relevant online resources to support students and instructors in their preparation for courses and assignments.

Recommended Reading
2021-10-31 The Cambridge Companion to Business and Human Rights Law Cambridge University Press
ISBN 1108820727 ISBN-13 9781108820721

How can businesses operate profitably and sustainably while ensuring that they are applying human rights? It is possible to apply human rights while at the same time decreasing cost and making human rights contribute to profits. Yet business efforts alone are insufficient, and states must possess sufficient regulatory power to work together with businesses and investors - not only to improve human rights but also to foster development more broadly. This textbook, the first of its kind, explores all aspects of the links between business operations and human rights. Its twenty-five chapters guide readers systematically through all the particular features of this intersection, integrating legal and business approaches. Thematic sections cover conceptual and regulatory frameworks, remedies and dispute resolution, and practical enforcement tools. Ideal for courses in business, law, policy and international development, the book is also essential reading for managers in large corporations.

Recommended Reading
2021-08-26 Business and Human Rights Hart Publishing
ISBN 9781509954674 ISBN-13 1509954678

This book analyses the accountability of European home States for their failure to secure the human rights of victims from host States against transnational enterprises. It argues for a reconfiguration of the relationship between multinational enterprises and individuals, both of which have been profoundly changed by globalisation. Enterprises are now supranational entities with numerous affiliates all over the world. Likewise, individuals are increasingly part of a global community. Despite this, the relationship between the two is deregulated. Addressing this gap, this study proposes an innovative business and human rights litigation strategy. Human rights advocates could file a test case against a European home State, at the European Court of Human Rights, for its failure to secure the rights of victims vis- -vis European multinational enterprises. The book illustrates why such a strategy is needed, and points to the lack of effective legal remedies against European multinationals. The goal is to empower victims from developing countries against European States which are failing to hold multinational enterprises accountable for human rights abuses.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources
Journal Resources

Journal of World Business

Journal of Business Ethics

Business Ethics Quarterly

Business and Human Rights Journal

URL Resources
Other Resources

Baumann-Pauly, D. and J. Nolan. Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice: Taylor & Francis, 2016.

Benn, S. and Bolton, D. (2011) Key Concepts in Corporate Social Responsibility. SAGE Publications.

Bernaz, N. (2016) Business and Human Rights: History, Law and Policy - Bridging the Accountability Gap. Taylor & Francis.

Campbell, T. (2006) 'A human rights approach to developing voluntary codes of conduct for multinational corporations', Business Ethics Quarterly, 16(2), pp. 255-269.

Crowther, D. and Lauesen, L. (2017) Handbook of Research Methods in Corporate Social Responsibility. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited

Deva, S. and D. Bilchitz. Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Deva, S. and D. Bilchitz. Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Kirwan, C. Hugh McBride, H and O'Riordan, C.Cases in Corporate Governance and Business Ethics. Chartered Accountants of Ireland, 2018

Laasch, O. and Conaway, R. (2017) Responsible Business: The Textbook for Management Learning, Competence and Innovation. Taylor & Francis.

Laasch, O., Jamali, D., Freeman, E. & Suddaby, R. The research handbook on responsible management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019. 

Laszlo, C. and Zhexembayeva, N. (2017) Embedded Sustainability: The Next Big Competitive Advantage. Taylor & Francis.

Rhode, D. L. (2018) Women and Leadership. OXFORD University Press.

Moyn, S. (2018) Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World. Harvard University Press.

Slobodian, Q. Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism: Harvard University Press, 2018.

Spence, L. J., Frynas, J. G., Muthuri, J. N. and Navare, J. (2018) Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility: Global Perspectives. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Visser, W., Matten, D., Pohl, M. and Tolhurst, N. (2010) The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility. Wiley.

Additional Information