ELE 3727 Corporate Environmental Management


ELE 3727 Corporate Environmental Management

Responsible for the course
Fred Wenstøp

Department of Strategy and Logistics

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

The objective of the course is to examine, from a systems viewpoint, the major managerial issues and tasks that practicing managers face as they deal with demands for environmentally and socially sustainable performance.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
During the course students should:

  • Learn the organizational implications of the concept of sustainable development, and opportunities that exist in working with various stakeholders related to the issue of sustainability.
  • Develop understanding of how the company, as a learning organization, and the leader, as a change agent, is able to handle the concept of sustainable development.
  • Learn about the ethical, moral and legal consequences of decisions in addition to traditional economic considerations.

Acquired skills
After completing the course, students will be able to:
  • Give an account of the concept of environmental accounting as a management tool.
  • Apply a moral and ethical framework as a basis for decision making for sustainability.
  • Give an account of factors that influence the implementation of environmental policy goals, and effective measures.

Students will learn to reflect on the principles governing the behavior of individuals and by companies, as well as the consequences of their actions, and apply this kind of thinking in complex decision situations.


Compulsory reading
Schaltegger, Stefan, Roger Burritt and Holger Petersen. 2003. An introduction to corporate environmental management : striving for sustainability. Greenleaf Publishing. 284 pages

Collection of articles:
Fred Wenstøp. 2011. Artikkelsamling til Corporate Environmental Management: A systems thinking approach to making a sustainable difference. Handelshøyskolen BI. The main issues and associated literature (Changes are to be expected):

General background to the environmental challenge
- Colby, S.J., T. Kingsley, and B.W. Whitehead (1995). “The real green issue: Debunking the myths of environmental management,” The McKinsey Quarterly, No. 2, pp. 132-143.
- Dietz, T., A. Fitzgerald, and R. Schwom (2005). “Environmental Values,” Annual Review of Environmental Resources, Vol. 30, pp. 355-372.
- Hardin, G. (1968). “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Science, Vol. 162, No. 13 (December), pp. 1243–1248.
- Harper, C.L. (2008). Environment and Society: Human Perspectives on Environmental Issues (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Chapter 1
- Stead W.E. and J.G. Stead (1994). “Can humankind change the economic myth? Paradigm shifts necessary for ecologically sustainable business,” Journal of Organizational Change Management 7 No. 4, pp. 15-31.
The organizational challenge of the environment
- Banerjee, S.B. (1998). “Corporate environmentalism: Perspectives from organizational learning,” Management Learning, 29 (2), pp. 147-164.
- Forrester, J.W. (1971). “Counterintuitive behavior of social systems,” Theory and Decision 2, pp. 109-140.
- Kerr, S. (1975/1995). “On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B,” Academy of Management Executive Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 7-14.
The managerial challenge
- Rittel and Webber (1976). “Dilemmas in a general theory of planning,” Policy Sciences 4, pp. 155-169.
- Ulhøi, J.P. (1995). “Corporate environment and resource management: In search of a new managerial paradigm,” European Journal of Operational Research 80, pp.2-15.
The legal and institutional challenge
- Bansal, P. and W.C. Bogner (2002). “Deciding on ISO 14001: Economics, Institutions, and Context,” Long Range Planning 35, pp. 69-290.
- Moxen, J. and P.A. Strachan (2000). “ISO 14001: A case of cultural myopia,” Eco-Management and Auditing 7, pp. 82-90.
- Rugman, A.M. and A. Verbeke (1998). “ Corporate Strategies and Environmental Regulations: An Organizing Framework,” Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4, Special Issue: Editor's Choice (April), pp. 363-375
- Ruhl, J.B. (2006). “Regulation by Adaptive Management—Is It Possible?” MINN. J.L. SCI. & TECH. Vol. 7:1, pp. 21-57.
Strategies for sustainability
- Cohen-Rosenthal, E. (2004). “Making sense out of industrial ecology: a framework for analysis and action,” Journal of Cleaner Production 12, pp. 1111–1123.
- Hart, S.L. (1997). “Beyond greening: Strategies for a sustainable world,” Harvard Business Review (January–February), pp. 66–76.
- Hart, S.L. (1995). “A natural-resource-based view of the firm,” Academy of Management Review 20, No. 4 (October), pp. 986-1014.
- Lovins, A.B., L.H. Lovins, and P. Hawken (1999). ”A Road Map for Natural Capitalism,” Harvard Business Review, May/June, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p145-158.
- Meadows, D.H. (1997). “Places to Intervene in a System", http://www.sustainer.org/pubs/Leverage_Points.pdf
- Nielsen, S.N. (2007). ”What has modern ecosystem theory to offer to cleaner production, industrial ecology and society? The views of an ecologist,” Journal of Cleaner Production 15, pp. 1639-1653.
- Stern, P.C., T. Dietz, T. Abel, G.A. Guagnano, and L. Kalof (1999). “A Value-Belief-Norm Theory of support for social movements: The Case of Environmentalism,” Human Ecology Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 81-93.
- Young, A. and A. Kielkiewicz-Young (2001). “Sustainable supply network management,” Corporate Environmental Strategy, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 260-268.

Recommended reading

Much of the literature consists of articles from the academic and professional press. Some of these will be posted on It's Learning as PDF files. References to others will be given so that they can be accessed through the Library’s electronic journal databases

Course outline
The course opens with an overview of the environmental demands on business organizations and asks the basic strategy question of how much corporations should be expected to do in response to environmental issues. Fundamental concepts and methods of environmental accounting and life cycle analysis are presented and critiqued. Alternative environmental policy contexts and their implications for business response are considered. Fundamental tasks involved in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of corporate environmental actions are examined, as are the major tasks involved in working with key internal and external stakeholders in changing environmental performance.

Thematic elements:
The course is composed of six major "themes" which are closely intertwined. These themes are the following:
  • Foundations: philosophy and theory of sustainability, ethics, and moral behaviour
  • The psychology of the environment
  • Sustainability measurement and reporting
  • The role of management
  • Strategies for corporate environmental management
  • Reality and applications

Computer-based tools

Learning process and workload
The students will attend lectures with class discussions, analyze cases, make presentations and write a term paper. The students' presentations will be discussed by the class and feedback will be given by the instructor.

Recommended workload in hours
Class meetings
Preparation for lectures/reading literature
Preparation case analysis
Preparation presentation
Group work
Writing term paper
Total recommended use of time

    A term paper concludes the course.
    The term paper must be be completed in two weeks by individuals or by student groups of no more than three students.

    Examination code(s)
    ELE 37271 - Term paper which accounts for 100% of the grade in the course ELE 3727 Corporate Environmental Management - 7.5 ECTS credits.

    Examination support materials
    All support materials are permitted.
    Examination support materials at written examinations are specifies under exam information in our web-based Student Handbook. Please note the use of calculator and dictionary. http://www.bi.edu/studenthandbook/examaids

    Re-sit examination
    A re-sit is held at the next scheduled exam in the course.

    Additional information