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Strategic Sustainability Assessment - Integrating Environment and Economics in Strategic Decision-making

Master’s level
7,5 credits (ECTS)


Large companies and governments increasingly face environmental and climate challenges in their planning, investments, decision-making and operations. They imply risks to investments and implementation of policies, plans and programs. Companies and governments also face goal conflicts and trade-offs between ensuring environmental sustainability objectives and other objectives such as increasing production, expanding markets, boosting economic growth or increasing employment.

There are several formalized approaches to address sustainability challenges, andreconcile goal conflicts/trade-offs. They are practical tools as well as a legal procedure, which businesses and government agencies increasingly need to follow and use in their planning and operations in developed and developing countries. The aim of the course is to present and discuss key sustainability assessment approaches, and promote an understanding of environmental, social and economic integration in strategic planning and decision making across key actors.

The course is concerned with the general issue of integrating environmental and economic sustainability considerations in strategic planning and decision-making, including Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with a particular focus on the role of institutions, and the role of norms, values and behavior for attaining sustainable development.

Concepts from decision- and policy-making theories are introduced to explain the general setting for decision-making of strategic actions. This includes analyzing decision-making in policies, and investment plans and programs. The course teaches skills that are useful and required for professional use. It investigates the role of institutions, and political-economy factors for large companies’ and government agencies’ planning, decision-making and effective environmental management. Further, it explores a wide range of examples from Sweden, EU, OECD and developing countries. The students explore why environmental considerations are often poorly integrated in strategic planning and policymaking, and learn how sustainability approaches can be adapted and designed to different contexts. The course also deals with legal aspects and frameworks of different countries applying sustainability assessments.

Prerequisites and selection