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Develop your career in Global Environmental Change

There is a growing urgency to address the environmental crises driven by climate change, human population growth, land cover and land use change, and pollution. These crises are covered in the media almost it seems on a daily basis, and governments have increasingly promised to take greater action to tackle them at both national and international levels.

The Global Environmental Change MSc has been developed in response to the growing urgency and global demand for experts in this field. It will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to understand how these crises develop, and what tools and strategies can be used to work towards effective and sustainable environmental solutions.


  • Start dateFull-time: October, part-time: October
  • DurationOne year full-time, two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, group project (dissertation for part-time students) 20%, individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

We welcome students from a variety of academic backgrounds, ranging from economic and social sciences to natural sciences and engineering who have a passion for solving real-world problems and making a positive impact. The course has been specifically designed to support students with a desire to take a more multidisciplinary approach to their learning.

In this respect, you will have the opportunity to select from available module options from across the environment, water, and energy programmes, tailoring these with the help of a tutor, to suit your personal learning ambitions. You will develop a range of personal and leadership skills as you progress through the course, to set you on the path to a rewarding career in becoming part of the solution to the environmental challenges that we face today.

Your career

With the current global focus on finding ways to tackle global environmental challenges, you can expect to be highly sought after by employers. Successful Cranfield students will develop diverse and rewarding careers in consultancies, research and teaching organisations, non-government organisations, along with national and local government departments involved in finding solutions to national and global environmental challenges. The international nature of this course means that career opportunities are not restricted to the UK. Cranfield graduates develop careers around the world and are internationally recognised by employers across the scientific, industrial and educational communities.

Cranfield Careers and Employability Service

Cranfield’s Careers and Employability Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. We will also work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.

Cranfield supports international students to work in the UK after graduation

Why this course?

The MSc in Global Environmental Change will allow you to become part of the solution to address the environmental crises that we face today by providing you with the skills and knowledge required by both national and international organisations working in the environmental sector.

  • Benefit from Cranfield’s unique expertise in applied problem-solving research in the environment and for sustainable development.
  • Develop skills and knowledge for a multidisciplinary understanding of the causes, complexity, and implications of key global environmental challenges.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to support decision-making in complex socio-environmental situations.
  • Work with data to develop practical solutions for environmental challenges in the land, water, or energy sectors.
  • Informed by industry

    The Global Environmental Change MSc is designed to meet the current needs of employers and benefits from a strong input from industry experts. This gives our students the confidence to know that what they are learning is both relevant and beneficial to building a rewarding career.

    Course details

    Course delivery

    Taught modules 40%, group project (dissertation for part-time students) 20%, individual project 40%

    Group project

    The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. It provides students with the opportunity to take responsibility for a consultancy-type project, working within agreed objectives, deadlines and budgets. For part-time students a dissertation or projects portfolio can replace the group project.

    Individual project

    The individual project is the chance for you to focus on an area of particular interest to you and your future career. These projects provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to carry out independent research, think and work in an original way, contribute to knowledge, and overcome genuine problems in the energy industry.


    Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

    To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.

    Course modules

    Compulsory modules
    All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

    Fundamentals of Global Environmental Change

    Module Leader
    • Dr Nick Girkin

      Human activity is accelerating consumption of natural resources and emissions of pollutants into the environment, destabilising planetary life support systems. This module will introduce you to these processes, identifying the drivers, pressures, changes in state, and impacts on the environment, as well as examining potential responses and solutions. It will cover the physical science-based understanding of our planetary systems, how humankind is modifying these systems, and examine current and future efforts to address these key challenges through science, technology, and policy.

      • Planetary systems and the Gaia hypothesis.
      • The Anthropocene.
      • Dynamics of resource consumption, pollution emissions, population.
      • Safe operating space,
      • Effects of anthropogenic activities on planetary and human systems including climate change (past, present and future), ecology and biodiversity, natural disasters, air pollution, waste, agriculture, food security, sea level rise and coastal change, water quality and supply, planetary health and societal impacts.
      • Response options for sustainable environmental change including policy options, sustainable development goals, concepts of net biodiversity gain, net environmental gain, renewable technologies, doughnut economics, natural capital, ecosystem services, and valuation.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Analyse key global environmental challenges and evaluate their underlying drivers of change.
    • Evaluate the consequences of global environmental change for planetary systems and human society.
    • Identify and critically appraise response options that aim to tackle the challenges presented by global environmental change.
    • Critically evaluate the importance of interdisciplinary solutions in resolving global environmental challenges.

    Decision Science for Global Environmental Change

    Module Leader
    • Dr Alice Johnston

      The module introduces you to the main decision science approaches used to support decisions on global environmental change issues. It aims to promote an understanding of weight-of-evidence approaches used to inform real-world problems by research, industry, and government. Central to this is an understanding of the strengths and limitations of different approaches, the social, economic, and environmental trade-offs made during decision-making, and how real-world complexity and future uncertainty is accounted for. You will learn how to apply these approaches to evaluate different courses of action in response to environmental challenges related to land, water, and/or energy.

      • Key environmental challenges and the need for decision support tools.
      • Different stakeholders in global environmental decisions,
      • Weighing the evidence for different courses of action,
      • Big data; data analytical approaches; mathematical modelling; statistical inference; machine learning; information systems; spatial data science approaches,
      • Environmental, economic, and social trade-offs in decisions,
      • Accounting for real-world complexity and future uncertainty in decisions.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of decision science approaches for global environmental change.
    • Analyse data on complex environmental issues using decision science tools to weigh-up different courses of action.
    • Critically appraise the need for stakeholders to trade-off environmental, economic and social concerns, and the limitations of decision science approaches in accounting for real-world complexity and future uncertainty.

    Cleantech in Water-Energy-Food Nexus

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The aim of the module is to introduce you to the international priorities under the umbrella of the Water-Energy-Food nexus across sectors and scales. The module is premised on the understanding that environmental resources are inextricably intertwined and therefore there is a need of advancing a nexus approach to enable integrated and sustainable management of water, energy and food systems. You will learn and evaluate a range of innovative technologies that provide significant gains in terms of provision and management of energy, water and food and resources.


    • Water-energy-food nexus approaches.
    • Solar energy technologies, concentrated solar power.
    • Water and wastewater treatment technologies.
    • Bioenergy including anaerobic digestion and biogas upgrade/cleanup.
    • Nutrient and resource recovery.
    • Renewable energy.
    • Water and sustainable Agrifood systems.
    • Decision support technology.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Critically appraise the key issues related to water-energy-food nexus challenges.
    • Critically evaluate the opportunities in the development and management of the water-energy-resource nexus, tailored to specific sectoral needs.
    • Appraise the key indicators for clean technologies.

    Sustainable Environmental Solutions

    Module Leader
    • Dr Michelle Cain

      This module aims to introduce you to the real world environmental solutions that are being developed and in use already, to enable them to enter a number of sectors with up to date knowledge of current approaches. The module will provide you with an overview of the international climate and environmental policy landscape in which countries, sectors and industries are operating, and the scale of action required in order to fulfil current policy goals. You will work on case studies of sustainable solutions (e.g. in aviation, agriculture, transport, waste, etc) and evaluate the potential in these solutions to contribute to global climate or other environmental goals.

      • Environmental Policy – national and international, including climate, water, air, biodiversity, the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals. How to assess potential solutions towards achievement of policy goals.
      • Series of lectures with relevant experts to focus on sustainable environmental solutions in a range of sectors, for example: nature based solutions for water and climate; agriculture and food; transport; supply chains; energy systems; sustainable technology entrepreneurship; plastic; biodiversity; LivingLab.
      • Individual reports on sustainable climate solutions for a sector or sub-sector, based on appropriate metrics for the policy goal(s), including consideration of co-benefits and trade-offs with other environmental goals.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Critically analyse environmental solutions based on appropriate metrics and tools in the context of policy goals.
    • Evaluate data and evidence on potential solutions to environmental challenges with colleagues to apply diverse expertise to a real world challenge.
    • Critically appraise and synthesise various sources of information in written and verbal form to create coherent arguments that providing effective solutions to global environmental challenges from technical, political, and social perspectives.

    Elective modules
    A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

    Pollution Prevention and Remediation Technologies

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The module introduces the extent and consequences of pollution in the environment, identifies and evaluates technologies for prevention and remediation and exposes you to using decision support tool and modelling to deal with pollution prevention and remediation.

      • Environmental pollution and prevention technology.
      • Contaminated land issues and market size.
      • Soil and groundwater remediation technologies.
      • Sustainable remediation practices.
      • Monitoring and modelling contaminants.
      • Hazard appraisal and risk assessment.
      • Decision support tools.

    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Define and discuss the key issues related to environmental pollution prevention and remediation.
    • Critically appraise the range of remediation technologies for soil and groundwater.
    • Appraise the key indicators for sustainable remediation approach.
    • Select and evaluate accepted decision tools to assess remediation performance and end-points.

    Water and Sustainable Agrifood Systems

    Module Leader
    • Professor Tim Hess

      Water is an essential factor of production in agrifood systems; whether for growing crops, supporting livestock or food manufacture. Globally, 70% of freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture, but increasing demand for food means that this figure is likely to increase dramatically in the future. At the same time climate change is affecting supply and other demands on water are increasing. Mismanagement of water for food production has led to social and environmental problems in many places. Water is therefore a significant global risk to sustainable food production. This module will consider the water requirements of crop and livestock systems; the evaluation of the water related impacts and risks in producing locations; and management and technological solutions to minimise water related impacts and risks in food supply chains.

      • Introduction: Water for food; Water and climate risks in agrifood systems,
      • Soil water retention and water movement through soil/plant systems,
      • Water requirements for agrifood systems: Irrigation systems (surface, overhead and localised irrigation); Calculating irrigation water requirements; Water requirements for livestock; Water requirements for food industry,
      • Water footprinting: Water inventory; Weighting for impact; Hotspot identification,
      • Evaluating and managing the performance of irrigation systems including yield response to water, irrigation scheduling and efficiency,
      • Impacts of droughts and water scarcity; Climate change,
      • Responding to water footprints; Water risk, resilience and adaptation.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Evaluate the role of water in crop and livestock systems.
    • Design and evaluate management and technological solutions to minimise the water-related impacts and risks to crop and livestock production systems in food supply chains.
    • Critically appraise the role of water in future challenges to food sustainability.

    Waste Management in a Circular Economy: Reuse, Recycle, Recover and Dispose

    Module Leader
    • Professor Frederic Coulon

      The aim of this module is to provide specialist understanding of the major processes used for municipal waste management and their role within an integrated – circular - waste management system. In particular the module will focus on the bottom three points of the waste hierarchy: recycle, recover and dispose.

      • Integrated waste management: appraisal of national and international legislation and policy.
      • Circular economy in the waste context.
      • Waste properties and characterisation. Mechanical biological treatment, pre-treatment, biodegradable wastes, coupled technologies, technology performance and managing environmental impacts.
      • Landfill: biochemistry, leachate and gas production.
      • Biowaste technologies: composting, AD and other biorefinery processes.
      • Thermal treatment: incineration, gasification, pyrolysis, combined heat and power, waste to energy, solid recovered fuel.

    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Appraise the role of waste treatment technologies under the circular management agenda - drivers, selection, pre-requisites requirements, waste types treated.
    • Apply the concepts and principles of the biological processes for treating organic waste to the waste degradation context and evaluate and calculate energy potential.
    • Explain why landfill gas (LFG) is treated and how to control, collect and treat the gas. Appraise the parameters contributing to LFG production and composition, the risks and production controls and calculate their potential impact.
    • Critically assess specific waste/feedstock treatment processes involved into a circular economy (e.g. MBT, AD, biorefinery).
    • Apply the concept and principle of waste management into a circular economy.

    Land Engineering Principles and Practices

    Module Leader
    • Dr Lynda Deeks

      Natural landscapes and built environments can be engineered to optimise the goods and services delivered to society, including provision of natural resources and the regulation of water and carbon. Technologies that prevent and/or reverse land degradation can be devised and implemented to ensure sustainable use of finite land resources. Environmental engineers and land managers need sound understanding of the environmental properties that determine land capability for any given desired end use, as well as the interrelationships between soil, water, vegetation and built structures. This understanding is grounded in basic soil physics, hydrology, hydraulics, geotechnics and agronomy. With this background, appropriate interventions such as soil erosion control and slope stabilisation can be designed and implemented to improve inherent land quality. The required skills set also informs the management of environmental projects involving land forming, reclamation, restoration and protection, which require selection, design, engineering and maintenance of appropriate structures.


      Site Assessment: Concept of land capability and land quality

      • Criteria used for assessing land capability and its classification.
      • USDA scheme, Canadian Land Inventory, urban land capability scheme.

      Land forming, earth moving and landscape modification.

      • Earth works design
      • Defra recommendations
      • Water retention - ponds
      • Machinery and equipment used (+ visit to Tarmac or similar)

      Geotechnics: Slope stability

      • The stability of shallow and deep slope failures
      • Methods of slope stability calculations
      • Finite slope analysis etc.
      • Slope engineering for slope stability
      • Bunds and berms
      • Bioengineering
      • Biotechnical engineering
      • Surface erosion of slope forming materials
      • Soil erosion processes
      • Soil erosion consequences
      • Surface soil erosion control
      • Terraces
      • Check dams
      • Agronomic techniques (bioengineering)
      • Vegetation as an engineering material (bioengineering and biotechnical engineering)
      • Geotextiles

      Top and sub soil management

      • vegetation establishment
      • site maintenance.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Apply the concept of land capability to site assessment and carry out land capability classifications.
    • Explain how to design earthworks and select appropriate land-forming machinery/equipment.
    • Calculate the stability of slopes and design of simple support and stabilisation systems.
    • Undertake an erosion and risk assessment.
    • Devise strategies for the long-term management of top soil and subsoil in land engineering projects.

    Technologies for Seeds and Crop Protection

    Module Leader
    • Dr Zoltan Kevei

      This module provides a critical appraisal of the role of the main plant-based technologies which can be used to advance sustainable crop production and food security. This includes a consideration of the importance of crop breeding, seed technology and crop protection with particular emphasis on future needs.


      Seed industry:

      • Basic principles of genetics as applied to representative crop species.
      • Plant breeding strategies including conventional selection and marker assisted selection.
      • Genetic modification of crop plants.
      • Seed production and seed treatment technologies.


      • Discovery and design of novel agrochemicals: screening, computer aided molecular design, formulation.
      • Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides: importance in food security - past and future, modes of action, regulation.
      • Biocontrol agents – principles and case studies.
      • Phytohormones and crop enhancers: agrochemicals to control plant growth and development.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Explain the main strategies and technologies in producing new, improved varieties of crop plants.
    • Critically appraise the role of plant breeding and seed technology in delivering global food security.
    • Explain the process of developing a new agrochemical, and the main classes of agrochemicals currently and previously in use.
    • Critically appraise the main methods of biocontrol as an alternative to fungicides and insecticides.
    • Evaluate the contribution of research in developing plant-based technologies. 

    Process Emission and Control

    Module Leader
    • Dr Zaheer Nasar

      The aim of this module is to provide an understanding of the major air pollutants emitted by key industrial processes, the associated regulatory frameworks, and monitoring and control techniques. A further element of this module is for you to gain an in-depth knowledge of emission control strategies currently applied by industry, e.g. processes modification and implementation of appropriate control mechanisms.  


    • Air Quality Parameters, pollution sources, their impact and regulation (UK and EU).
    • Bioaerosol emissions monitoring and sampling strategies.
    • Advanced data analysis and dispersion modelling.
    • Carbon capture and storage.
    • Specific pollutants: particulates, odour, bioaerosols and biogas.

    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Explain the extent, impact and implications of emissions from industrial processes.
    • Describe the linkage between major emissions that contribute to air pollution to their related industrial processes.
    • Discuss emission abatement strategies currently applied in industry and design principles for each of the strategy.
    • Analyse a specific emission control scenario and apply the design principles to design an appropriate emission control systems.
    • Critically evaluate the efficiency of emission control systems based on operational and design parameters through case examples.

    Good Ecological Status

    Module Leader
    • Dr Pablo Campo Moreno

      Water bodies are fundamental features of the landscape. Whether they are rivers, canals, wetlands, ponds, lakes, estuaries or the open coast, they are important habitats that support diverse ecological communities and provide essential services to society. Therefore, countries have developed regulations to protect the quality of these water bodies and methods to assess status. Around the world, quality is increasingly being assessed based on a wide set of physical, chemical and biological attributes of the water body. In the UK, quality is assessed based on its ecological and chemical quality under the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which became part of UK law in 2003. This module will provide you with an overview of WFD and other relevant water quality regulation and policy that govern the management and assessment of surface waters. It will also provide you with a background in ecological processes, aquatic communities, and survey design and data analysis to help those working in environmental water management to interpret water quality data in the context of the catchment characteristics and pressures.

      This module is 20 credits.
      • Importance of water quality for human health, drinking water and the environment.
      • Water quality regulation and standards.
      • UK methods to assess the status of surface water bodies.
      • The physical and chemical attributes and processes structuring the biological community in aquatic ecosystems in the landscape (e.g. rivers, lakes, floodplains, estuaries and coastal zones).
      • Design of water quality monitoring programmes: sampling strategies, sampling methods, quality assurance, and data handling.
      • Water quality sampling & analysis: field sampling techniques and laboratory analysis methods.
      • Statistical analysis of ecological and water quality data.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Explain the chemical, biological and hydromorphological processes and their interactions that determine the ecological status of a surface water body.
    • Evaluate water quality and ecological data based on knowledge of the sampling and data analysis methods, and analyse them to identify significant spatial and temporal differences.
    • Interpret ecological and water quality data based on scientific understanding of aquatic organism occurrence, movement and distribution and natural and anthropogenic influences from the river network and catchment. 

    Managing Flood and Drought Risks

    Module Leader
    • Professor Jerry Knox
      Extreme weather events are considered top global risks. Every year, many places around the world are affected by droughts and floods leading to severe impacts on people, the environment, agricultural and industrial production, and water supply infrastructure. Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of these natural hazards. Thus, we need to improve our ability to characterise and understand their occurrence, duration and intensity; and to effectively implement management responses to reduce vulnerability and minimise their impacts. This module will focus on droughts and floods, covering their definition, forecasting, impacts and management options. The module focuses on impact and management responses in three key sectors – domestic, businesses (including agriculture) and the environment.
      This module is 20 credits.
      • Introduction. Definition of risk. Roles and responsibilities in drought/flood management.
      • Drought metrics (Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), SPEI, Drought Palmer Severity Index (DPSI), Potential Soil Moisture Deficit (PSMD) and their spatio-temporal relevance to different sectors.
      • Flood probability. Storm hydrographs and unit hydrographs.  Probability and return period analysis of hydrological events. Design floods. Estimation of peak flows using Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH) methods.
      • Impacts of droughts on different sectors and the environment.
      • Soft and hard engineering strategies to mitigate drought/flood risk at local (individual business) and catchment scales.
      • Management approaches to tackle drought/flood risk at different levels.
      • Cost-benefit analysis for assessing different management options to tackle weather extremes.
      • Climate change and water-related weather extremes.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Define drought and flood risk, their main characteristics and impacts, and policy landscape.
    • Calculate and apply different drought indicators (metrics) including assessing their utility and limitations.
    • Determine the likelihood of a flow of a given magnitude for gauged and ungauged catchments and catchments using the Flood Estimation Handbook (FEH and ReFH) methods.
    • Critically evaluate the role of alternative approaches to managing drought/flood risks.
    • Explain the impacts of climate change on the frequency and severity of drought/flood risks.

    Risk Communication and Perception

    Module Leader
    • Dr Simon Jude

      The aim of this module to develop an appreciation of the importance of individual and group attitudes towards the perception of risk and how this may influence views, conduct and actions in the face of a range of risks including the development of communication methods to disseminate information about risk(s) to a range of audiences and how to determine its effectiveness.

      • What is meant by the perception of risk and how it varies with context.
      • Attitudes towards risk based on psychological, cultural and other dimensions.
      • The role of various societal groups (the media, NGOs, etc) in risk issues.
      • Models of the amplification and attenuation of risk.
      • Understanding the “fright factors” in risk perception and the development of trust.
      • Horizon scanning and scenario building tools for communicating future risk to individuals and organisations.
      • Communicating risk messages to individuals, groups and society at large and errors in communication.

    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Describe the “non-science” influences in risk assessment and management using sociological and psychological theories relating to risk perception, attitudes and communication.
    • Identify and evaluate drivers that may influence individual or group perceptions and attitudes towards risk in specific scenarios.
    • Participate in the discourse on the roles in society of different stakeholders (e.g. the media, NGOs, academics, government) with respect to risk assessment issues and to be able to describe to others why they have the beliefs they hold.
    • Demonstrate skills in listening to concerns from different individuals/groups towards risks and the ability to enter into dialogue with such groups.
    • Develop effective means of communication to suit specific or general situations and how to demonstrate its effectiveness, and critique methods based on theories and evidence.

    Environmental Policy and Risk Governance

    Module Leader
    • Dr Simon Jude

      A critical application of environmental risk management is in the development and appraisal of policy in central government and business. Policies are developed to manage environmental risks and selection of policy options must be informed by risk based tools and techniques. Doing so demands a comprehension of the technical, organisational and human elements of governing environmental risks and developing environmental policy.

      This module draws these themes together by introducing core concepts and then illustrating these concepts with case studies spanning business and government, and finally application via a group exercise. Core lectures are supported by multiple case studies, a workshop and module assignment.

    • Risk governance.
    • Problem definition.
    • Environmental risk analysis and management.
    • Delivering organisational change, including implementation challenges and opportunities.
    • Environmental policy development and appraisal.
    • Policy instruments.
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Define the technical, organisational and human features of effective environmental risk governance.
    • Explain the environmental policy cycle of implementation and the basics of policy development and appraisal.
    • Critically analyse different types of policy instruments, including regulation, economic, voluntary and other measures, and identify the appropriate policy instruments to use in different contexts.
    • Compare and contrast environmental risk management techniques, selecting tools appropriate to the character of the risk in question.
    • Identify the requirements of risk management maturity and the pre-requisites of good corporate risk governance, including the importance of demonstrating value and aligning risk governance with other organisational functions.

    Leading Corporate Sustainability

    Module Leader
    • Dr Namita Shete

      Global sustainability challenges are shaping the way business operates in the 21st century. Businesses are under increasing pressure from multiple stakeholders (for e.g. shareholders, customers, employees, society) to manage their positive and negative impacts with clear responsibility and strategic intent.  Leading firms are choosing to respond to these challenges by generating sustainable value propositions to ultimately drive competitive advantage. For many this has meant re-engaging at the level of purpose and re-addressing their role in wider society and for human well-being.

      This module outlines the major sustainability challenges and explores the capabilities organisations require to respond positively to them. It will engage you in gaining a better understanding of how corporate action can be best configured to promote responsible and sustainable business strategies. In doing so, it will demand management students (as future business managers and leaders) to reflect on the long-standing debate about whether or not ‘the business of business, is still business?

      Watch video: An introduction to the Leading Corporate Sustainability module


      The content is organised around the sustainability management ‘compass’ below:

      The course content is structured as follows:

      Leading Corporate Sustainability

      Part 1: Setting the context

      Context setting

      • Managing corporate sustainability
      • Social and environmental trends

      The role of business

      • The role of business
      • Challenges and opportunities for business

      Exploring possible futures

      • Playing an interactive future sustainable scenario board game

      Part 2: Developing the capabilities

      • Setting a purpose
      • Formulating and implementing strategy
      • Working with stakeholders
      • Innovating
      • Collaborating
      • Valuing
      • Leading
    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    1. Identify global environmental and social trends and assess how these present both challenges and opportunities to business and analyse the capabilities businesses need to manage these.
    2. Classify the potential stakeholder groups businesses can work with to develop and implement their sustainability strategies and evaluate collaborative approaches.
    3. Assess the role of personal leadership in an organization’s values, strategic direction and ability to execute its sustainability strategy.
    4. Critically assess the content and reporting of businesses’ sustainability strategies.
    5. Design and recommend a sustainability-oriented innovation for a selected business.

    Evaluating Environmental Sustainability

    Module Leader
    • Dr Chikage Miyoshi

      The need to quantify sustainability is great, especially in a world in which scarce resources are in increasing demand and the effects of climate change become more apparent. Climate change will change our capacity to meet our demands for any resources.

      Almost all economic activity causes some negative impacts on the environment, either directly or through goods and services that are bought in. Mitigation methods for reducing unwanted emissions can themselves create other negative environmental impacts as side effects, as well as the positive effects including externalities.

      This module aims to consider and evaluate the above challenges quantitatively and critically and propose the strategic options to mitigate the negative impact by balancing it with the positive outcomes.

      • Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) including carbon footprint.
      • Background and principles,
      • The fundamental techniques of demand forecasting,
      • Outline of life cycle assessment,
      • Examples of case studies from staff and/or PhD students related to the topics of soil, agri, food systems.

    Intended learning outcomes

    On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

    • Implement and evaluate forecasting techniques as one of the fundamental aspects of environmental assessment,
    • Apply the principles of Environmental Life Cycle Assessment quantitatively, including carbon footprints.
    • Critically evaluate sustainability claims of products, services and policies on the basis of the environmental assessment methods used including the economic sustainability.

    How to apply

    Applications need to be made online. Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of this page. 

    Once you have set up an account you will be able to create, save and amend your application form before submitting it.