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Study information

Legal Foundations for Sustainable Business

Module titleLegal Foundations for Sustainable Business
Module codeLAW2115C
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Tiago De Melo Cartaxo (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module introduces you to legal requirements for a legal certification in environmental and social responsibility (e.g., B.Corp). Environmental and corporate governance are intrinsic to a safe, effective and sustainable operation of businesses and organisations within the limits of the planetary boundaries and will have an impact upon their operation. Which format will your business take? What areas should you focus on to get an environmental and social certification for your business? What relationships will you have with other businesses? Where will you source your materials, for example, and on what terms? How will you manage your products’ lifecycle and the business’ waste?

To be savvy in sustainable business, you need to be familiar with key areas of the law, as well as the required social and environmental standards for its operation. The certification is a tool to be utilised to increase competitiveness of your sustainable business and vast costs can be saved at mid- and long-term from simply understanding the legal requirements and how to improve the standards.

There are no pre-requisites for this module. The module is suitable for students entirely new to law and those studying on a Flexible Combined Honours pathway.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module is an important aspect of your (sustainable) business and law education and will provide a foundation for any career that you might wish to pursue when you graduate. A sound grasp of environmental and corporate governance is assumed of any accomplished businessperson, and to achieve this as part of your undergraduate study is sure to set you apart from competitors.

This module will provide a legal platform in business to ensure compliance with social and environmental standards, while arming you with the awareness and practical understanding you need to identify the impacts of a sustainable business when a legal professional might be required.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key legal principles of sustainable business
  • 2. Explain and apply the legal requirements of a certification in environmental and social responsibility

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Apply foundational principles of legal and business issue spotting
  • 4. Identify the social and environmental impacts of businesses and present solutions

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Communicate ideas effectively in oral presentations
  • 6. Communicate ideas effectively to businesses in writing

Syllabus plan

While the module’s precise content may vary, it is anticipated that it will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to sustainable corporate governance
  • Introduction to social and environmental certifications, e.g., B.Corp
  • Social standards for a sustainable business: workers, community, and customers
  • Environmental standards for a sustainable business

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 Activity10.5Lectures (1 x 1.5 hours + 9 x 1 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity10Workshops (5 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity3Surgeries (3 x 1 hour)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity2Oral presentations (1 x 2 hours)
Guided Independent Study70Preparation of assignments
Guided Independent Study55Preparing for workshops and reading around the topics covered.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Brief oral presentation1 minute1-6Oral
Blurb of a corporate sustainability policy300 words1-6Oral

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
Oral presentation303 minutes1-6Written
Corporate sustainability policy702,000 words1-5Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Oral presentationSubmission of a video presentation1-6Reassessment period
Corporate Sustainability Policy Submission of Corporate Sustainability Policy1-5Reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Lucy Jones, Introduction to Business Law (5th edn. OUP, 2019)

Alix Adams, Stephanie Caplan, Graeme Lockwood, Law for Business Students (10th edn. Pearson, 2020).

Emily Finch & Stefan Fafinski, Legal Skills (8th edn. OUP, 2021). The textbook explains how to find legal resources from statutes to cases and includes tips on legal writing.

S Helen Rutherford, Birju Kotecha, and Angela Macfarlane, English Legal System (5th edn. OUP, 2020)

Jonathan Herring, ‘12. Business ethics’, in Legal Ethics (2nd edn OUP, 2017)

Paul Davies, ‘9. The Social Function of Corporate Law’, in Introduction to Company Law (3rd edn. OUP, 2020)

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Any additional resources shared in lectures, workshops, and surgeries.

Key words search

Law, sustainable business, corporate governance, social and environmental responsibility

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date