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Course Topic

In recent years, sustainable development has increasingly become a key imperative for businesses. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in 2015, showcase universally applicable targets intended to mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change.

While the SDGs are not legally binding, countries are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks aimed to accomplish the goals. Furthermore, all stakeholders including governments, civil society, the private sector, and others are demanded to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Consequently, businesses are supposed to play an integral part in contributing to the Agenda 2030. However, these developments imply radical rethinking of established business practices, models, approaches, and paradigms.

United Nations, 2015

Under the theme of the SDGs, this course encourages students to rethink international management. It is designed as a blended-learning course, combining online and face-to-face sessions. The online component embeds the Global Virtual Course, jointly designed and further devloped by universities in the SIGMA Alliance (Copenhagen Business School, ESADE, Hitotsubashi University, Singapore Management University, University of St. Gallen, Paris Dauphine University and Vienna University of Economics and Business).It consists of eight modules.

In addition to completing all online modules, students work in virtual cross-national, cross-institutional teams, to develop a best-practice case study on a selected company or organization. Teams receive guidance from assigned supervisors from any of the participating universities.

The Online Modules

Eight online modules will be provided on the platform Coursera

Module 1: Global Virtual Teamwork
  • Learn about the challenges and opportunities of working in multicultural teams
  • Be encouraged to map, bridge, and integrate the cultural differences in your team
  • Explore the nature of global virtual teamwork and how to generate trustful and productive virtual collaboration
Module 2: What are the SDGs? Origins and prospective
  • Discover the SDGs, origins and context
  • Become familiar with the 17 specific SDGs and the 169 targets
  • Understand the map of stakeholders involved
  • Learn about the importance of the private sector and sustainable management
Module 3: From Social Problem to Business Model
  • Learn how to identify and describe the underlying problem and the cause of the market failure
  • Acquire tools for turning antagonistic assets into complementarities
  • Practice Business model formulation
Module 4: Social Innovation and Systems Change
  • Define and describe social innovation, systems change, and sustainability
  • Identify and describe aspects of a government’s strategic initiative for social change
  • Critically assess an organization’s sustainable activities from the larger context of systems change
Module 5: Responsible Global Leadership
  • Understand the global context of RGL in terms of global setting. Multiple levels of analysis and implications
  • Doing good, avoiding harm: students will be able to differentiate between doing good and avoiding harm initiatives and recognize the relevance for addressing the SDGs
  • Ability to assess specific RGL drivers in organizational settings and the linkages to the SDGs
Module 6: From Carbon Risk to Clean Energy Business Opportunities
  • Climate change and renewable energy
  • Drivers of the global energy transition, including policy, economics, investor expectations and customer demand
  • How global sustainability trends can translate to specific market opportunities for clean energy companies
Module 7: Partnerships for gender equality in business: The role of ESG investment
  • Learn about the widening role of investment managers and asset owners such as pension funds as partners in promoting SDGs in companies around the world
  • Identify the tools of ESG investing, and how investors are using them to push companies to promote gender equality
  • Consider the business case for gender diversity, in particular in the boardroom and at management level
  • Learn about how companies in countries around the world are progressing towards achieving gender equality 
Module 8: Reporting and the SDGs
  • Define reporting practices and tools
  • Draw up annual report considering SDGs objectives
  • Identify actors taking part in reporting

Roadmap for orientation through the modules


The Case Cast

The Case Cast is the final outcome of the group work in international student teams. A 2.5 minute screencasted powerpoint presentation based on the case study will have to be prepared. The most basic version is to record slides and incorporate voice over, but it is also possible to include animations.

More information on the Case Cast: Helpful information