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Study information

Circular Enterprise Economy

Module titleCircular Enterprise Economy
Module codeBEP2210
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Stefano Pascucci (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module will enable you to investigate sustainability as a theme that crosses subject boundaries. The module is intended to form and frame a learning path for developing knowledge and understanding of the challenge of transitioning to more socially-responsible, environmentally sustainable business models. Models that move away from the impact of growth strategies and the pressure of multifarious business activity on the planet and society raises many contentious issues which, when considered in terms of broad relevance to business and management education can be positioned as a guiding question:

How can business, government and not-for-profit leaders and managers better integrate the needs of the planet, people, and profits in the short and long term?

The current challenges facing the world of business are presented within the context of the United Nations Global Compact; it’s historical development and the limitations of what is regarded as ‘the largest corporate citizenship initiative in the world’ (Cornuel 2010). The effect of this imperative on business models, practice and behaviour, and the overall relevance to the management profession is discussed against the scale of the economic and environmental challenges facing people and the planet.

The module aims to provide an understanding of the values that frame a model for sustainable enterprise and specifically the potential to shape future managerial practice. The module will encourage you to reflect on your own understanding of, and responses to this UN initiative in the context of sustainable patterns of globalisation. You will be expected to apply this knowledge and understanding, systematically and creatively to the challenges facing firms both locally and globally. The module’s post-contemporary perspective of the interrelationships between Business, Society and the Environment will encourage you to think holistically about implementing transformative change.

Additional Information:

This module has been designed around the theme of ‘responsibility’. Implicit in this is an understanding of ethical decision making and ethical behaviour in business and society, in particular with regard to corporate social responsibility.

The module comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, and networking events together with student led assessed tutorials, and web based review sessions. Tutorials will require students to study collaboratively and apply the contents of particular lectures and seminars to case studies, application exercises and role play in a variety of contexts.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aims of this module are to:


  • Develop our understanding of the relationships between business and society
  • Explore emerging trends in the environment in which business operates
  • Consider the responsibilities of different groups and individuals in contemporary society

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. evaluate the range of theoretical views, including for example the origins of the terms & definitions around sustainability;
  • 2. identify the economic conditions and competitive environment within which companies need to embrace and shape change, considering also Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and anti-corruption management;
  • 3. critically examine the relevance of natural capital and resilience as key concepts in addressing global sustainability;
  • 4. propose a strategy for responsible management, suggesting for example how small businesses might respond to Global Sustainability issues impacting all organisations and people in the world;
  • 5. articulate the values that frame sustainable business behaviour and critically assess to what extent multinational corporations (MNCs) will transform themselves into sustainable enterprises;
  • 6. assess the role of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in the design of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable business solutions.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. defend some of the ethical dimensions of business and management
  • 8. recognise the interrelationships between Business, Society and the Environment and theorise about implementing transformative change.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. prepare and organise work both individually and in multicultural groups;
  • 10. offer formative feedback to peers in an appropriate manner;
  • 11. assemble evidence of your respect for others points of view and empathy;
  • 12. share ideas and experiences from different disciplines/places/cultures/generations without prejudice and preconception;
  • 13. clarify your own and others worldviews through dialogue, and recognise that alternative frameworks exist;
  • 14. reflect upon personal contributions and complete a self-appraisal of performance;
  • 15. creatively communicate key concepts and messages about sustainability in business context;
  • 16. effectively and efficiently manage digital information.

Syllabus plan

  • Ecological-Literacy (Eco-Literacy)
  • Business Ethics
  • Overview of relevant organisations/initiatives including: The 'Global Compact' the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Labour Organisation (ILO), World wide Fund for Nature (WWF), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and, World Resources Institute (WRI).
  • The Global Compact in the context of; Human Rights, Labour standards, Environment and Corruption.
  • The interrelationships between Business, Society and the Environment.
  • Supply and consumption.
  • Financial Markets, Corporate Responsibility and Governance
  • Climate change, the importance of energy/water/waste efficiency and low carbon approaches to future business challenges.
  • Interdisciplinary work environments.
  • Values and characteristics of a Sustainable Enterprise Economy.
  • Integrated Reporting

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 activity11Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity10Tutorials
Guided Independent Study129To read around the topic and prepare for individual and group assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class communication exercise debate1 hour small group7,12,13,14Verbal feedback from tutor and peer review

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
Report (groups of 2-4)203000 words1-3, 7-14Tutor via eBART
Presentation101 page PDF5,6,8-10,14-16Tutor via eBART
Exam702 hours4-6,8,11-13Tutor via eBART/ELE

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Report (groups of 2-4) (20%)Individual report (2000 words) (20%)1-3,7,14July/August
Presentation (10%)Individual reflective report (1000 words) (10%)5,6,8-10,14-16July/August
Exam (70%)Exam (2 hours) (70%)4-6, 8, 11-13July/August

Re-assessment notes

A student will be referred in all components if the student fails the module with a mark of below 40% overall.

A student if deferred via a single component will be reassessed in that component only.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Whiteman, G., Walker, B., & Perego, P. (2013). Planetary boundaries: Ecological foundations for corporate sustainability. Journal of Management Studies, 50(2), 307-336.
  • M. Braungart, W. McDonough,  Bollinger A. (2007) Cradle-to-cradle design: creating healthy emissions e a strategy for eco-effective product and system design. Journal of Cleaner Production 15 (2007), pp. 1337-1348
  • Ghisellini, P., Cialani, C., & Ulgiati, S. (2016). A review on circular economy: The expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems. Journal of Cleaner Production, 114, 11-32.
  • Murray, A., Skene, K., & Haynes, K. (2015). The circular economy: An interdisciplinary exploration of the concept and application in a global context. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-12.
  • Borrello, M., Pascucci, S., & Cembalo, L. (2020). Three propositions to unify circular economy research: A review. Sustainability, 12(10), 4069
  • LüdekeÃ?¢ï¿½ï¿½Freund, F., Gold, S., & Bocken, N. M. (2019). A review and typology of circular economy business model patterns. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 23(1), 36-61.
  • Cradle to Cradle – Remaking the Way We Make Things by McDonough, W. and M. Braungart (2002). North Point Press (or the 2nd edition of 2009).
  • Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chapin III, F. S., Lambin, E., ... & Nykvist, B. (2009). Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and society, 14(2).
  • W. McDonough and M. Braungart, (2002). Design for the Triple Top Line: New Tools for Sustainable Commerce. Corporate Environmental Strategy, Vol. 9, No. 3 (2002).
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation Towards the Circular Economy vol.1, 2 and 3. (

Key words search

Responsibility, sustainability, transition, resilience

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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Last revision date