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Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Corporate Social Responsibility and Natural Resources Management

Course summary

Course code: BUSI1434
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Course Coordinator(s): Hilary Claire Coote



The purpose of the course is to provide students with an insight into economic, political and social aspects of natural resources management from a corporate social responsibility (CSR) perspective, particularly in the context of improving environmentally responsible practices in developing countries.

The course aims to:

• provide students with the means to analyse the evolution, objectives and driving forces of different approaches to corporate social responsibility;
• equip students with an understanding of the tools used in corporate social responsibility such as codes of conduct; standards, and the process of certification monitoring, verification and reporting;
• demonstrate how to promote southern partnership and dialogue along the supply chain and participation of southern stakeholders and raise questions about the future of CSR and its impact on commercial and developmental relationships.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. compare and contrast different CSR approaches, initiatives and drivers in the natural resources sector;
2. critically analyse different perspectives on the responsibilities of corporate business;
3. think critically about the way in which corporate social responsibility initiatives are implemented and reported and the assumptions behind them;
4. analyse the roles and perspectives of different stakeholders along natural resource value chains;
5. consider the implications of the corporate responsibility agenda for development and developing country stakeholders, including government;
6. demonstrate verbal and written skills appropriate to the subject.

Indicative content

• The concept of corporate social responsibility, its evolution, scope, how it is defined and the range of players involved, especially in a developing country context.
• detailed analyses of selected approaches and in-depth case studies of responsible business with a focus on agriculture and natural resources management.
• the development and implementation of social and environmental standards (e.g. private codes of conduct; eco-labelling; production and trade in products from certified natural resources; fair trade).
• case studies to illustrate a variety of crosscutting issues.
• the institutional context, focusing on the market and other drivers for corporate social responsibility, particularly the role of government.

Teaching and learning activity

The principles of corporate social responsibility will be presented through a series of lectures and discussion sessions, to illustrate appropriate techniques. Lectures will be supported by case-study seminars. Students will prepare and deliver a short, assessed, seminar at the end of the course.

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)

Contact Hours
lectures 36
practical sessions
Private Study 42
Assignments: course work and other forms of assessment
coursework 70
laboratory work
examinations 2


Essay - 30%
Up to 2500 words.
Critical evaluation of the CSR strategy of a multinational company, especially with regard to its operation in the natural resources sector in a developing country.

Seminar - 20%
Presentation of outline approach for the critical review.
One 15-minute seminar ( 3, 4, 5,6,)

Exam - 50%
2 hour exam (1, 2, 3, 4,5,6)

Pass mark - 50%