Skip to main content

Study information

Law and Policy for Sustainable Organisations

Module titleLaw and Policy for Sustainable Organisations
Module codeLAW3301C
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Tiago De Melo Cartaxo (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module seeks to develop understandings of the integral role that the concept of sustainability plays in establishing effective environmental protections through environmental law and policy at the domestic and international levels.

Students will be introduced to sustainable strategies and programmes developed at the local level and applied to public and private organisations to respond to environmental challenges, as well as international laws and policies developed at the higher levels of international governance to confront the significant environmental challenges facing the planet today, including marine pollution, waste management and climate change. The module extends thinking from domestic programmes to develop sustainable practices, through to global strategies to build and enhance environmental responsibility at the international level.

Students will develop the ability to understand and evaluate the role of law and policy in responding to the urgent, local and international environmental challenges facing the world today. The module will introduce several different legal and policy tools, systems, theories, and approaches that have been proposed or are currently being implemented at both the local and national levels, to prevent and respond to global environmental threats. At a national level, students will be introduced to various sustainability strategies and programmes including environmental public policies and corporate governance programmes such as Environmental, social and governance (ESG) or B Corp initiative, through to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the international level. The module will focus on understanding methods of drafting and writing policy instruments which can contribute to achieving the ambitions and targets of sustainable strategies and programmes in practice

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to introduce students to the various sectors of environmental and sustainability law and policy, offering an overview of public and corporate organisational principles while considering national and international responses to preventing and managing global environmental challenges, in connection to sustainable frameworks such as the UN Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, ESG practices or B Corp accreditation.

The module seeks to provide students with a practical understanding of law and policy for sustainable organisations. We will observe how important law and policy are in society and industry in promoting sustainable and responsible practices and managing environmental impact retrospectively. You will learn to think critically about the adequacy of current environmental protection from a legal and policy perspective and consider how law and policy for sustainable development might be reformed in the future, with positive initiatives from public and private sectors.

The module aims to equip students with a broad understanding of international and local environmental and sustainability law and policy, and the issues that shape it and will provide an essential foundation for any career that undergraduates might pursue in a commercial or public environmental and/or sustainability field.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. explain the main features of legislation, policy and principles on a local, national and international basis for sustainable development;
  • 2. demonstrate an awareness of some of the current debates in law and policy for sustainability and the role of law and policy in resolving competing interests in the areas of sustainable development between public and corporate organisations;
  • 3. link theoretical understandings of law and policy for sustainable development with practical perspective, while developing your critical thinking through the construction and defence of legal reasoning;
  • 4. assess the future direction of law and policy in public and corporate decision making for sustainability;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 5. communicate ideas concisely and precisely in writing to a target audience of public or corporate policymakers and stakeholders;
  • 6. develop oral communication skills to engage with specific audiences;

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. understand and develop ideas in written form; and
  • 8. communicate your ideas confidently orally for busy public or corporate policymakers.

Syllabus plan

While the module’s precise content varies, it is anticipated that it will cover the following themes:

  • Introduction to international, EU and UK environmental law and policy for public and corporate organisations
  • United Nations Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Environmental standards for responsible organisations, such as Green public procurement, ESG or B Corp schemes
  • Introduction to public and corporate policy writing tools

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 Teaching128 x 1.5 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching64 x 1.5 hour workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 x 1 hour student-led sessions
Guided Independent Study130A variety of private study tasks directed by module leader. These tasks may include: a) reading textbooks, journals and other literature; b) preparation for lectures and workshops by for example answering questions in advance of group discussions or preparing group presentations; c) preparation for and completion of examination; d) report preparation: conducting research, and writing the finished product

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Policy abstract and feedback session500 words1-7Oral 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
Sustainability policy brief1001750 words1-7Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Sustainability policy briefPolicy brief (1,750 words)1-7Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Essential Text Books:


Recommended Additional Resources: 

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


Sample Journal Articles & Contributions to Edited Volumes:

  • Arnold, Craig Anthony (Tony), and Tiago de Melo Cartaxo. "Chapter 6: Resilience justice and adaptive law in European cities". In Urban Climate Resilience, (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022)
  • Reid, C. and W. Nsoh, 'The Privatisation of Biodiversity?' (Edward Elgar, 2016) Chapter 9: Reflections pp.253-260.
  • Venn, Alice. ‘Social Justice and Climate Change’ in T. M. Letcher (Ed.) Managing Global Warming: An interface between technology and human issues (Elsevier, 2018) Chapter 24 pp.711-723.
  • Yamineva and Romppanen, ‘Is law failing to address air pollution? Reflections on international and EU developments’ (2017) RECIEL, 26(3) 189-200.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


  • Electronic journals and databases such as EUR-Lex, West law, Lexis Nexis, Hein Online etc.


  • Those provided for and distributed to the students by the ESI and local environmental initiatives collaborated with.

Key words search

Environmental Law, Environmental Policy, Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainable Business

Credit value15
Module ECTS


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date