This part-time course is primarily delivered online, with students coming together annually for a three-day Spring School at Cranfield. Bursaries are available, see Fees and Funding for more information.

The role of a sustainability professional is evolving from a specialist to a sustainability-literate change agent with a key role in setting and delivering organisational strategy that supports long-term organisational resilience and success.

The Sustainability MSc brings together academics from our School of Water, Energy and Environment and School of Management to create a holistic, multidisciplinary learning experience. The course is designed in consultation with industry to equip sustainability professionals and leaders in organisations of all sizes with this critical mix of technical and management skills. It will deepen your knowledge of the theory and practice of organisational sustainability, and help you build the personal competencies you need to lead and manage change towards improved sustainability performance.

On completion of the programme you will be awarded professional recognition as a Registered Environmental Practitioner (REnvP) and Practitioner Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) or Chartered Environmentalist (Full Member of the IEMA) depending on your level of experience prior to the course.

This page is dedicated to students seeking the Sustainability MSc independent of Apprenticeship Levy funding. If you are looking for more information on our Apprenticeship Levy part-funded routes, please view here.

Overview

  • Start date2 March 2022
  • DurationTwo and a half years, part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules: 140 credits (70%), Thesis: 60 credits (30%)
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typePart-time
  • CampusCranfield campus, Online

Who is it for?

The course is suitable for:

  • sustainability professionals across management levels who are keen to improve / enhance their sustainability skills, knowledge and abilities, and lead their organisations more effectively towards improved sustainability performance,
  • employees who are new to their sustainability role, whether leading or employed within a team of dedicated experts, who are keen to build their sustainability skills, knowledge and abilities, and apply these in their workplace,
  • employees in other functional areas (e.g. operations, procurement, HR) for whom sustainability is becoming an increasingly important aspect of their role, and who want to build their knowledge and skills in this area, and be equipped to lead their function to align with their organisation's sustainability strategy,
  • entrepreneurial individuals who are looking to develop their sustainability skills, knowledge and abilities to grow an existing business in a sustainable way, or even start a new business.

Informed by industry

The course has been designed in consultation with industry representatives from across sectors (including retail, banking, consumers goods, utilities, non-profit), academic experts and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) to ensure its relevance to sustainability roles across management levels and sectors.

The course faculty combines expertise from Cranfield’s School of Management and the School of Water, Energy and Environment, supported by a team of external industry speakers, who will bring the latest thinking and practice to the course.


Course details

Purpose

The courses will equip leaders with the technical knowledge and management capabilities to drive positive change in their organisations and share their knowledge and experiences with their colleagues and peers.

The course aims:

  • to develop sustainability leaders who will deliver real change in their organisations and play an integral role in a growing and evolving community of sustainability professionals,
  • to provide students with a mix of technical and leadership (management/business) skills that will enhance their knowledge of sustainability practice and facilitate the improvement of the environmental, social and governance performance of organisations,
  • to engender in students a sustainability mindset, capable of articulating the symbiotic relationship between business, society and the biosphere,
  • to help students understand the market drivers for sustainability, so they can build a business case for integrating sustainability into practice, recognising the importance of creating long-term value for all stakeholders,
  • to equip students to lead towards sustainability and model ethical and sustainable behaviours, and enable them to do the same in others, so collectively we can respond to the complex sustainability challenges we face with the changes required,
  • to empower students and enhance their competencies, self-awareness and confidence to operate effectively as 'change leaders' and 'visionaries' in a team and to effectively communicate the sustainability agenda to internal and external stakeholders,
  • to build a supportive network of sustainability professionals who share their learning and experience for the common good.

Learner journey

The course comprises of 14 taught modules and a thesis. 

The course is primarily delivered online to minimise the carbon footprint of the course and enable wide and diverse participation in sustainability education. Modules are delivered live on alternative Fridays over a six-week period with students completing self-directed learning in between these sessions.

Additional elements of experiential learning, including activities such as site tours, games and coaching take place at annual three-day Spring Schools at Cranfield, which provide the opportunity for cohorts to get to know each other, network with academics and industry representatives and create enduring supportive alumni groups.

The learning objectives of the course are delivered through interactive lectures, case study discussions, simulations and role play across the taught modules. 

Course delivery

Taught modules: 140 credits (70%), Thesis: 60 credits (30%)

Course modules

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

Personal Leadership for Sustainability

Aim

    Success in management, in the context of sustainability, is even more critical since the multiplicity of actors and stakeholders involved is especially acute, and the potential long-term benefits on society and the planet of effective leadership are so significant. This module combines models, theories and ideas from organisational behaviour, psychology, management, ethics  and sociology, to provide you with a practical understanding in recognising and utilising the "human factor" in organisations; including ways of conceptualising organisations and how people behave within them.

    We shall consider the impact of the external environment; and begin to address notions of organisational change and the various ways in which leading can take place. This module will focus on application and will allow you to reflect on and apply theories and techniques in your own real-world context as a sustainability professional, utilising a structured portfolio approach to enhance your own Leadership behaviours.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles 
    • Key principles which identify the "Ethical Business" and how to put it into practice 
    • How the organisation design and structure can drive or hinder sustainability practices 
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders 
    • Transformational leadership and change management in areas such as creating a vision for the future, motivating and inspiring others to engage with the vision and coaching and mentoring others and building a team to achieve the vision
    • Conceptualise and resolve ethical, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues within the business
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Lead, coach and manage a multidisciplinary team to achieve organisational sustainability objectives
    • Lead the corporate social responsibility agenda for the organisation
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Networking: Establishes internal and external networks to keep current knowledge of sustainability trends and issues up to date
    • Personal effectiveness: demonstrates a high level of self-awareness and is emotionally intelligent; adapts behaviour easily dependent upon situation and impact to achieve desired result
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
    • Ethical: demonstrates, and champions in others, a healthy respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights
    • Responsiveness to change: flexible to changing demands; resilient under pressure
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Differentiate ways of conceptualising people in organisations, for example using culture, ethics, well-being, diversity, politics, management, and change frameworks 
  2. Assess and evaluate the importance of relationships at work, group dynamics, effective teams and especially leadership in achieving effectiveness 
  3. Critically engage with relevant models, theories, and ideas in order to enhance personal capability linked to their personal and professional development agenda. 
  4. Appraise realistically how you may have increased your personal influence and your capability to lead for sustainability, and project that plan fully into the future

Principles of Sustainability

Aim

    Human population growth and increased resource use per capita requires improved management of our global ecosystem. Approaches such as the Sustainable Development Goals, Natural Capital, Ecosystem Services, and Planetary Boundaries provide frameworks for businesses and wider society to resolve the synergies and trade-offs between major economic, environmental, and social challenges. The Circular Economy approach refers to the development of restorative industrial systems that are grounded on the lessons of non-linear, feedback-rich ecosystems.

    A third approach is to explore the nexus between renewable energy, food, and other ecosystem services using per capita energy and food consumption. In this module, you will examine and critique the above frameworks and their application to resolve real-world problems and create commercial opportunities.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • The social, economic, philosophical, political, technological and regulatory environment and potential levers to drive change
    • How to build sustainable communities for the future
    • The macro environmental factors which influence the sector such as climate change, water resource and pollution and their impact on business practice
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • Devise and implement achievable and viable sustainability strategies for the organisation
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Critique terms such as “sustainability”, “ecosystem services”, “biodiversity”, “human well-being”, “circular economy”, “per capita energy use”, “natural capital” and “doughnut economics”.
  2. Evaluate how natural capital and ecosystem service approaches can guide businesses and society to make decisions regarding the use of ecological resources, with a focus on biodiversity, greenhouse gases, and water use.
  3. Recognise and appraise how we can enhance the stability, resistance and resilience of human and natural systems.
  4. Critically evaluate how the “circular economy” provides commercial opportunities.
  5. Apply a per capita approach to explore the synergies between food, feed, wood, and renewable energy production to guide decision making and identify opportunities in the context of a case-study.

Leading Sustainable Business

Aim

    The urgency of acting on climate change, biodiversity loss, hyper-social inequality, and the other myriad social and environmental challenges we face today is building. Only the businesses that respond decisively to them will survive. This module will enhance your awareness of the capabilities organisations need (including setting a purpose, assessing materiality and developing a sustainability strategy, innovating and collaborating) to steer them towards contributing to positive change whilst reducing costs, managing risk, increasing trust, and driving long term sustainable growth.

    You will also appraise the influence your personal leadership has on your organisation’s values and its ability to execute its sustainability strategy. You will develop and defend a proposal for a sustainability-oriented innovation which will improve your organisation’s sustainability performance.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • The social, economic, philosophical, political, technological and regulatory environment and potential levers to drive change
    • How to build sustainable communities for the future
    • How to identify probable sustainability issues at each stage of the end to end supply/value chain and how they can be resolved or mitigated
    • How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles
    • The macro environmental factors which influence the sector such as climate change, water resource and pollution and their impact on business practice
    • Key principles which identify the "Ethical Business" and how to put it into practice
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Conceptualise and resolve ethical, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues within the business
    • Devise and implement achievable and viable sustainability strategies for the organisation
    • Critically evaluate sustainability issues and trends which may impact on business performance
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Lead and manage organisational sustainability projects, such as life cycle analysis or foot printing to drive change throughout the business
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Lead the corporate social responsibility agenda for the organisation
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
    • Ethical: demonstrates, and champions in others, a healthy respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights
    • Innovation: demonstrates curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working; seeks out opportunities to drive forward change and improvements for the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Explain and evaluate global social environmental and economic issues to interpret challenges and opportunities to business
  2. Analyse and defend business responses to these challenges and opportunities and assess the capabilities you require to respond effectively
  3. Generate and classify the stakeholder groups businesses can work with to develop and implement their sustainability strategies and compare collaboration approaches
  4. Recognise and appraise the role of personal leadership in an organization’s values, strategic direction and ability to execute its sustainability strategy
  5. Critically assess the content and reporting of a businesses’ sustainability strategy; recommend improvements and identify barriers to change and approaches to overcoming these

Evaluating Environmental Sustainability

Aim

    The need to quantify sustainability is growing in a world where scarce resources are in increasing demand and the effects of climate change are becoming more apparent. Climate change will change our capacity to meet our demands for water, food, and other resources. Almost all economic activity causes some negative impacts of the environment, either directly or through goods and services that are brought in. Mitigation methods for reducing unwanted emissions can themselves create other negative environmental impacts as side effects.

    Accounting for all these effects requires a more holistic approach; e.g. Environmental and Social Life Cycle Assessment. These powerful tools will help you quantify upstream and direct impacts on the environment and on society from the production of specified goods or delivery of services. Environmental Life Cycle Analysis include the better-known subsets of the Product Carbon Footprint and the Water Footprint, while Social Life Cycle Analysis support you in identifying indicators and defining measures of social impacts.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • How life cycles analysis or whole lifestyle costings work, including foot printing
    • How to identify probable sustainability issues at each stage of the end-to-end supply/value chain and how they can be resolved or mitigated
    • Lead and manage organisational sustainability projects, such as life cycle analysis or foot printing to drive change throughout the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Apply and interpret the principles of Environmental Life Cycle Assessment quantitatively, including carbon and water footprints
  2. Critically analyse sustainability claims of products, services and policies on the basis of the environmental assessment methods used
  3. Appraise key features of Social Life Cycle Assessment

Economics of Sustainability

Aim

    Senior managers are often presented with mutually exclusive internal investment opportunities. Therefore, to gain investment in sustainability initiatives, function managers must often demonstrate that their initiative is the best use of scarce investment funds. This ‘business case’ can be made through an appraisal of the likely costs and benefits of an initiative over its economic lifetime.

    This module aims to equip you with an understanding of the rationale and tools of economic appraisal to enable the construction of effective business cases. This will be achieved through a critical evaluation of economic appraisal metrics, an appropriate discount rate and the relevance of economics in the context of sustainability.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Identify, assess, and prioritise sustainability risks within the organisation and utilise resources to mitigate, control and monitor the probability and/or impact of such events
    • Appraise the impact of current global economic issues to the viability of sustainability projects and its impact on profitability
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Interpret economic efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and equity, and appraise their role in decision making.
  2. Critically evaluate different economic appraisal metrics such as benefit: cost ratio, net present value, internal rate of return and cost-effectiveness ratio.
  3. Critically evaluate the choice of an appropriate discount rate.
  4. Apply an economic appraisal in a spreadsheet environment.
  5. Debate the relevance of economics in the context of sustainability.

Performance Management and Reporting

Aim

    The purpose of this module is to provide you with skills, insights, and the experience to implement and maintain an Environmental Management System (EMS) and associated audit programmes. This requires an understanding of Environmental Management Systems and associated Codes of Practice, in particular the ISO 14001 family of Standards. This module examines the methods that organisations can use to strategically govern an EMS, primarily driven by the goals and targets that can be developed as part of a monitoring and measurement programme (e.g. associated to global indices such as the UN Sustainable Development Programme, or the Global reporting Initiative).

    The module also provides practical insights into the development and management of audit programmes and audit activities that will provide meaningful feedback for governance teams within an organisation. The exercises and case studies within the module enable you to draw on methods and topics learnt in previous modules.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The design of environmental systems to meet ISO17021 and how to embed them within the business to drive standards in line with ISO 14001 and customer codes of practice
    • The principles and practices of internal and external audits as specified in ISO 19001
    • Analyse sustainability performance data and develop the appropriate business response in line with ISO14001, legislative and customer codes of practice
    • Assemble and drive resource efficiency including auditing in line with ISO19001 and ISO 17021 and consulting on energy, water, waste, materials, packaging
    • Support the organisation at all stages of the internal and external audit process
    • Design, implement and evaluate the internal and external environmental audit schedule in line with ISO 19001 and ISO 17021 to drive improvements
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Ethical: demonstrates, and champions in others, a healthy respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Design an effective environmental management system that meets the requirements of ISO 14001, and associated Codes of Practice, including ISO 17021.
  2. Organise the development of an audit programme, and the requirements of individual audit activities and processes in line with ISO 19011.
  3. Formulate objectives and performance monitoring processes based on sustainability performance data, legislation and codes of practice.
  4. Assess the effectiveness of an audit programme to fully investigates appropriate environmental aspects including energy, water, waste, materials, packaging in line with recognised standards.
  5. Assess the need for integrity and respect, and implement policies and behaviours aligned to the auditing codes of practice laid down in ISO 19011.

Environmental Risks: Hazard, Assessment and Management

Aim

    Over the past decade environmental regulators and the public have aimed to improve the quality of environmental management by basing choices on reliable data and assessment. However, risk analysts often develop their competencies from their specific profession, for which the requirements can vary across industries, government bodies and geographical borders. This module aims to provide a transdisciplinary understanding of the theory and practice of effective management of all phases of environmental hazards.

    The module covers key topics including conceptual model development, probability, risk characterisation, and informatics. In doing so, this module aims to provide you with the capability and capacity to assess the wide range of increasingly complex risks and hazards facing organisations, policymakers and regulators.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • How different cultures, customs and business practices impact on how the organisation works on a global scale
    • The principles of being the best "neighbour" in the local community taking into account issues such as emissions, engaging with the local community, road access K9: How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles
    • The macro environmental factors which influence the sector such as climate change, water resource and pollution and their impact on business practice
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Identify, assess, and prioritise sustainability risks within the organisation and utilise resources to mitigate, control and monitor the probability and/or impact of such events
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Identify, analyse and evaluate the wide range of environmental risks within the UK (e.g. animal disease, chemical spills, high winds, flooding) and be able to identify and apply appropriate methods of assessing these risks;
  2. Critically evaluate the decision process underpinning the management of such risks and provide justification for the prioritisation and application of different risk management actions;
  3. Examine and interpret the relationship between risk, social, economic, political and technological trends and be able to provide appropriate suggestions for communication of assessment and management of environmental risks related to the influencing factors;
  4. Analyse and explain the possible consequences in a given situation where environmental risks will occur and their likely impacts on a population and the potential secondary impacts; and
  5. Review, critique and suggest improvements for other risk assessment and management methodologies within the given scenarios.

Risk Communication and Perception

Aim

    The aim of this module is 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. The module will introduce you to holistic approaches that explore attitudes to risk through sociological, psychological and cultural theories used to identify and evaluate drivers of influence and debate the role of different stakeholders with respect to risk assessment and management.

    You will be able to demonstrate skills in listening and entering into dialogue with different groups, employing forward-looking tools that allow you to communicate future risks to individuals and organisations.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • How different cultures, customs and business practices impact on how the organisation works on a global scale
    • The principles of being the best "neighbour" in the local community taking into account issues such as emissions, engaging with the local community, road access
    • How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Explain and interpret the “non-science” influences in risk assessment and management, using sociological and psychological theories relating to risk perception, attitudes and communication;
  2. Identify and evaluate drivers that may influence individual or group perceptions and attitudes towards risk in specific scenarios;
  3. Debate 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 articulate and demonstrate to others why they have the beliefs they hold
  4. Demonstrate and apply skills in listening to concerns from different individuals/groups towards risks and the ability to enter into dialogue with such groups
  5. Develop effective means of communication to suit specific or general situations and demonstrate its effectiveness, and critique methods based on theories and evidence.

Environmental Innovation

Aim

    While technological change is seen as the root cause of many environmental problems, it is simultaneously viewed as the means of solving such problems. This module explores technological change as part of positive sum strategies put forward by ecological modernisers. Theories of technological change such as evolutionary, path dependent and long wave are reviewed and used to formulate technology policy to achieve environmental net gain or transition to a low carbon economy. These are then set in practical contexts such as innovation in manufacturing, ecological restoration, or low-carbon living. You will develop and justify a proposal for an environmentally beneficial initiative using and critiquing theories learned.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • Sustainable technologies relevant to own sector
    • The macro environmental factors which influence the sector such as climate change, water resource and pollution and their impact on business practice
    • Transformational leadership and change management in areas such as creating a vision for the future, motivating and inspiring others to engage with the vision and coaching and mentoring others and building a team to achieve the vision
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Lead, coach and manage a multidisciplinary team to achieve organisational sustainability objectives
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
    • Innovation: demonstrates curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working; seeks out opportunities to drive forward change and improvements for the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Articulate and critique the limitations of selected theories of technological change, e.g. linear, induced, path-dependent, and evolutionary.
  2. Critically appraise the key trade-offs that occur in achieving technological change and economic development alongside environmental protection.
  3. Evaluate and develop a summary of examples of technological change developed to achieve transition, e.g., to a low carbon economy.
  4. Explain and defend technology options and policy initiatives to stimulate transitions, e.g. to a low carbon economy using examples.
  5. Develop and justify a proposal for an environmentally beneficial initiative

Sustainable and Circular Supply Chains

Aim

    This module will introduce you to the main concepts and principles that underpin Logistics and Supply Chain Management, particularly in the context of sustainability and managing global supply chains. The module presents the fundamental principles of contemporary logistics and supply chain management within a business context. It explores the ways in which good practice in these fields can contribute to achieving sustainable competitive advantage. Additionally, the concepts of circularity and how they apply to supply chains are explored, since this represents a critical approach for organisations to future-proof their supply chains.

    You will experience the challenges presented by the transition from linear to circular supply chains, and devise strategies to overcome them through a simulation of their supply chains to future proof their business.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • How different cultures, customs and business practices impact on how the organisation works on a global scale
    • Utilising continuous improvement techniques such as Kaizen and LEAN to drive the sustainability agenda within the organisation such as through the reduction of waste or recycling
    • How to identify probable sustainability issues at each stage of the end to end supply/value chain and how they can be resolved or mitigated
    • How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles
    • How external factors can influence consumer behaviour and how they can be overcome
    • How the organisation design and structure can drive or hinder sustainability practices
    • Transformational leadership and change management in areas such as creating a vision for the future, motivating and inspiring others to engage with the vision and coaching and mentoring others and building a team to achieve the vision
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Conceptualise and resolve ethical, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues within the business
    • Devise and implement achievable and viable sustainability strategies for the organisation
    • Critically evaluate sustainability issues and trends which may impact on business performance
    • Analyse sustainability performance data and develop the appropriate business response in line with ISO14001, legislative and customer codes of practice
    • Develop a global procurement Standards and Governance strategy, breakthrough ideas, best-in-class approaches, bringing the outside inside including innovation and sustainability, and managing the sourcing cycle and supplier relationship management system effectively by liaising with the procurement function
    • Lead and manage organisational sustainability projects, such as life cycle analysis or foot printing to drive change throughout the business
    • Lead, coach and manage a multidisciplinary team to achieve organisational sustainability objectives
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Personal effectiveness: demonstrates a high level of self-awareness and is emotionally intelligent; adapts behaviour easily dependent upon situation and impact to achieve desired result
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Analyse the basic principles underlying supply chain management, the potential impact on sustainable competitive advantage and distinguish evolving supply relationships from arm’s length to Joint Ventures.
  2. Evaluate approaches to supply chain integration, both internally and externally, and understand possible effects on firm performance.
  3. Evaluate the challenges around implementing a circular supply chain.
  4. Construct a business strategy that supports the achievement of a more circular supply chain.
  5. Evaluate the concepts of sustainable supply chains and circular supply chains and how they could be applied across different types of supply chains/sectors.

Circular Innovation

Aim

    This module aims to introduce you to strategies and tools that enable Circular Business Model development to take place. You will gain experience of the real-life scenarios in which a holistic approach to designing/innovating for improved sustainability is required. Delivering environmental-social and economic improvements in products and businesses requires organisations to take a longer-term integrated view of their product and service policies.

    To support this, an appreciation of a range of tools and techniques, used to guide designers/managers responding to the requirements for more circularity of products, services, and organisational processes, will be developed.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • How to identify probable sustainability issues at each stage of the end to end supply/value chain and how they can be resolved or mitigated
    • How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles
    • Sustainable technologies relevant to own sector
    • Key principles which identify the "Ethical Business" and how to put it into practice
    • Conceptualise and resolve ethical, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues within the business
    • Devise and implement achievable and viable sustainability strategies for the organisation
    • Critically evaluate sustainability issues and trends which may impact on business performance
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Responsiveness to change: flexible to changing demands; resilient under pressure
    • Innovation: demonstrates curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working; seeks out opportunities to drive forward change and improvements for the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Explain and construct the business strategy and design trade-offs that address the sustainable development of new products or services;
  2. Assess and justify concepts of design responsibility and the ethical agenda of designing for society;
  3. Critically evaluate the link between design activity and organisational strategy as an approach to addressing environmentally and socially responsible design;
  4. Interpret case studies from across design disciplines that have adopted a holistic approach to the design of more innovative and sustainable solutions;
  5. Develop and defend a business case by utilising Circular Business Model Innovation (novel practices that challenges industry specific standards)

Strategic Foresight

Aim

    Strategic foresight supports sustainability and innovation resilience through systematic analysis of industry trends or disruptions and the development of alternative plausible futures that are applied in an organisation to stress-test options and consider different pathways to innovate sustainably. In this module, you will learn techniques that help to maintain the organisation’s competitive advantage against potential market disruption and to better prepare for future risks and opportunities, thus adding resilience, adaptability and flexibility to the organisation in an increasingly complex and fast changing world.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • The social, economic, philosophical, political, technological and regulatory environment and potential levers to drive change
    • How different cultures, customs and business practices impact on how the organisation works on a global scale
    • How to build sustainable communities for the future
    • How to identify probable sustainability issues at each stage of the end to end supply/value chain and how they can be resolved or mitigated
    • How external factors can influence consumer behaviour and how they can be overcome
    • The macro environmental factors which influence the sector such as climate change, water resource and pollution and their impact on business practice
    • How the organisation design and structure can drive or hinder sustainability practices
    • Transformational leadership and change management in areas such as creating a vision for the future, motivating and inspiring others to engage with the vision and coaching and mentoring others and building a team to achieve the vision
    • Critically evaluate sustainability issues and trends which may impact on business performance
    • Lead, coach and manage a multidisciplinary team to achieve organisational sustainability objectives
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Networking: Establishes internal and external networks to keep current knowledge of sustainability trends and issues up to date
    • Responsiveness to change: flexible to changing demands; resilient under pressure
    • Innovation: demonstrates curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working; seeks out opportunities to drive forward change and improvements for the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Explain and assess why organisations engage in foresight research and what foresight research aims to achieve - and what it cannot do;
  2. Critically evaluate the utility and application of different foresight research methodologies;
  3. Investigate and justify the role of foresight research evidence in a broad business and environmental context;
  4. Identify and apply the tools of foresight research in a broad business and environmental context; and
  5. Apply and defend foresight research methods to support a convincing case for action within the organisation and use foresight research evidence to effectively plan for the long-term resilience of the organisation.

Social Entrepreneurship

Aim

    The aim of this module is to familiarise you with the concepts of social enterprise and intrapreneurism and enable them to compare these phenomena with “traditional” entrepreneurship. Both business models overlap extensively with what is regarded as traditional entrepreneurship but have distinctively different features: while being profit-or surplus-making, their aims typically embrace social outcomes and purposes, and their distribution or sharing of value created is frequently closely linked to these achieving these.

    You will be introduced to the history and evolution of non-mainstream modes of entrepreneurship and will develop your understanding of how social entrepreneurs/social intrapreneurs create and operate enterprises/intrapreneurial activities in different environments. You will see how such enterprises fit within the spectrum of profit and not for profit entities, and how these are regarded by policy-makers and other stakeholders. You will emerge with a clearer idea of how you can pursue a corporate intrapreneurial initiative. The module may even prompt you to consider a future career in this business environment or aspire to found a social enterprise.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • The social, economic, philosophical, political, technological and regulatory environment and potential levers to drive change
    • How different cultures, customs and business practices impact on how the organisation works on a global scale
    • How to build sustainable communities for the future
    • The principles of being the best "neighbour" in the local community taking into account issues such as emissions, engaging with the local community, road access
    • Key principles which identify the "Ethical Business" and how to put it into practice
    • How the organisation design and structure can drive or hinder sustainability practices
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Critically evaluate sustainability issues and trends which may impact on business performance
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Lead the corporate social responsibility agenda for the organisation
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Personal effectiveness: demonstrates a high level of self-awareness and is emotionally intelligent; adapts behaviour easily dependent upon situation and impact to achieve desired result
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek
    • agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
    • Innovation: demonstrates curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working; seeks out opportunities to drive forward change and improvements for the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Describe, analyse and categorise the drivers and motives of social entrepreneurs/social intrapreneurs and intrapeneurs.
  2. Differentiate and delineate the salient features which distinguish these modes of entrepreneurial behaviour from other “mainstream” forms.
  3. Define the factors, both environmental and intrinsic, which promote or hinder the development of both a free-standing social enterprise and social intrapreneurism within the corporation.
  4. Apply the measures of impact used to define the effectiveness of social enterprises.
  5. Explain and appraise the agenda of policy-makers regarding the role, purpose and economic value of social entrepreneurship.

Sustainability in Practice

Aim

    This module reminds you of the major sustainability challenges facing organisations and explores how the most progressive ones are responding in-terms of leadership and strategy, mind-set, structure, integrating sustainability into different management functions, stakeholder collaborations, environmental and social impacts and managing change. It will engage you in gaining a better understanding of how organisational action can be best configured to promote a responsible and sustainable mission. In doing so, it will demand individuals to reflect on the long-standing debates concerning the political economy and ethical management practices.

    The module is brought to life through its assessment in which individuals are invited to consider an organisation’s live sustainability challenge – the case challenge. The case challenge will inspire discussion and become the foundation for your problem-solving activity in order to produce a design specification for their proposed solution and present it back to the case organisation.

Syllabus

    The knowledge, skills and behaviours you will gain during this programme are as follows:

    • The global social, environmental, economic and ethical pressures affecting business, government and society
    • The social, economic, philosophical, political, technological and regulatory environment and potential levers to drive change
    • How different cultures, customs and business practices impact on how the organisation works on a global scale
    • How to build sustainable communities for the future
    • How to identify probable sustainability issues at each stage of the end to end supply/value chain and how they can be resolved or mitigated
    • The principles of being the best "neighbour" in the local community taking into account issues such as emissions, engaging with the local community, road access
    • How to identify sustainability key stakeholders and their roles
    • How external factors can influence consumer behaviour and how they can be overcome
    • Sustainable technologies relevant to own sector
    • The macro environmental factors which influence the sector such as climate change, water resource and pollution and their impact on business practice
    • Key principles which identify the "Ethical Business" and how to put it into practice
    • How the organisation design and structure can drive or hinder sustainability practices
    • How to communicate sustainability messages effectively internally at all levels of the organisation or externally to key stakeholders
    • Transformational leadership and change management in areas such as creating a vision for the future, motivating and inspiring others to engage with the vision and coaching and mentoring others and building a team to achieve the vision
    • How to research, critically evaluate and present business information; utilising statistical/analytical skills to interpret primary/complex data
    • Conceptualise and resolve ethical, corporate social responsibility and sustainability issues within the business
    • Devise and implement achievable and viable sustainability strategies for the organisation
    • Critically evaluate sustainability issues and trends which may impact on business performance
    • Develop a global procurement Standards and Governance strategy, breakthrough ideas, best-in-class approaches, bringing the outside inside including innovation and sustainability, and managing the sourcing cycle and supplier relationship management system effectively by liaising with the procurement function
    • Formulate and co-ordinate a business response on sustainability issues to internal and external stakeholders
    • Lead and manage organisational sustainability projects, such as life cycle analysis or foot printing to drive change throughout the business
    • Identify, influence and manage key stakeholders across different business functions
    • Lead, coach and manage a multidisciplinary team to achieve organisational sustainability objectives
    • Identify, assess, and prioritise sustainability risks within the organisation and utilise resources to mitigate, control and monitor the probability and/or impact of such events
    • Appraise the impact of current global economic issues to the viability of sustainability projects and its impact on profitability
    • Lead the corporate social responsibility agenda for the organisation
    • Problem solving: take a holistic approach to solving complex problems
    • Integrity and respect: listens to others and seeks to build understanding; embraces the diversity of colleagues and makes complex issues easy for others to understand
    • Networking: Establishes internal and external networks to keep current knowledge of sustainability trends and issues up to date
    • Personal effectiveness: demonstrates a high level of self-awareness and is emotionally intelligent; adapts behaviour easily dependent upon situation and impact to achieve desired result
    • Influencing and negotiation: act as a subject matter expert to inspire others to achieve business goals; adapts language and communication medium to seek agreement; proactively communicates clearly, concisely and on a timely basis; is inventive about win-win options to gain majority consensus
    • Ethical: demonstrates, and champions in others, a healthy respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights
    • Responsiveness to change: flexible to changing demands; resilient under pressure
    • Innovation: demonstrates curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working; seeks out opportunities to drive forward change and improvements for the business
Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate key theories and dominant practices associated with organisation structures and management (function) processes for corporate sustainability.
  2. Contrast and defend the range of collaborative opportunities available to pursue corporate sustainability.
  3. Develop and propose the central features of a cultural change process for embedding sustainability.
  4. Appraise the organisational context of the sustainability challenge and identify and engage with an appropriate range of stakeholders, change agents and sustainability champions.
  5. Working in teams, design, review and critically discuss different options available to organisations in response to sustainability issues.

Practice-based thesis (individual thesis project)

Aim

    The practice-based thesis project presents a unique opportunity for you to work on a specific sustainability issue or initiative for an organisation (your employer, or third party organisation) with the support of Cranfield University experts.

    The project will enable you to demonstrate application of sustainability principles to a solve a business challenge and evidence, through reflective practice, the applicability of the learning to an employer (or selected third party organisation, if not employed). Students who successfully complete their practice-based thesis will progress through to their award (MSc Sustainability).

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Appraise a research question, aims and objectives, based on a sustainability challenge faced by the employer (or selected third party organisation)
  2. Assess methodologies appropriate to the task (e.g. case study), and plan and deliver a work programme with reference to professional project management processes (e.g. time management, risk management, contingency planning, resource allocation, health and safety, ethics)
  3. Assess and critically review the literature and evaluate the findings to draw justifiable conclusions, demonstrating self-directed learning and originality of thought.
  4. Analyse, synthesize, and critically evaluate the research findings and demonstrate how applicable the findings are to the employer (or selected third party organisation)
  5. Generate recommendations based on research findings and communicate via a written report and defend the project outputs in a presentation suitable for both professional and academic audiences.

Modules

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. As a result, they 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 above 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.


Teaching team

The programme is led by faculty experts who have extensive industry experience. This core teaching team are joined by industry leaders and external experts, as well as other research and academic staff from across the university who contribute to the modules and the annual Spring Schools. The MSc is co-directed by Dr Rosina Watson (School of Management) and Dr Kenisha Garnett (School of Water, Energy and Environment). You will be taught by other academics across the university, along with a number of external contributors and industry guest speakers, including Dr Adam Faiers and Rachel Mallows, MBE

Accreditation

Accredited by IEMA, successful completion of this MSc leads to the additional award of Registered Environmental Practitioner (REnvP) status (Practitioner Member of IEMA) or Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) status (Full Member of IEMA) depending on your level of experience prior to the course.

IEMA logo

Your career

The need for sustainability professionals is growing as social and environmental issues become more urgent and complex and legislation increasingly focuses on clean growth and sustainable development. Understanding long-term trends and resource use, and their influence on stakeholders, will enable companies to examine the market drivers for sustainability, build the business case for integrating sustainability into practice and create more competitive business models.

Our Sustainability MSc will enable you to develop your knowledge, skills and abilities while applying what you learn directly in your workplace. The programme will support your career progression, preparing you to successfully carry out sustainability related leadership roles in the future.

Our Career services team offer: individual career consultations, speaker events, alumni networking, networking workshop, personal and executive career coaching, leadership assessment centre, and more practical skills-based workshops on writing CVs and cover letters, and interview skills.

How to apply

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about this programme, please contact our Admissions Team at studysom@cranfield.ac.uk or call +44 (0)1234 758081.

Our students do not always fit traditional academic or career paths. We consider this diversity to be a positive feature, not a hurdle. We are looking for a body of professional learners who have a wide range of experiences to share. If you are unsure of your suitability for our Sustainability MSc, we are happy to review your details and give feedback before you make a formal application.

For more information about the course please email sustainabilitymsc@cranfield.ac.uk.

Once your online application has been submitted together with your supporting documentation, it will be processed by our admissions team. You will then be advised by email if you are successful, unsuccessful, or whether the course director would like to interview you before a decision is made. Applicants based outside of the UK may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.

Deadline for applications: 31 January 2022

Applications for apprenticeship routes have to come via the Expression of Interest form. Apprenticeship applications received via the application button on this page will not be processed.

Apply now