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Unit information: Sustainability and Ethics in Global Supply Chains in 2020/21

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Unit name Sustainability and Ethics in Global Supply Chains
Unit code EFIMM0076
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Burger
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit addresses the key issues of sustainability and ethics (including inclusion) in today’s operations and supply chains for goods and service provision world-wide. Essentially, this unit will develop relevant management knowledge and skills necessary to deliver efficient and effective goods and services in a fast changing context facing global challenges. Students will be introduced to the core concepts of business ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainable and resilient supply chains, circular economy/closed loop supply chains, humanitarian logistics, green/environmental friendly product development, carbon taxes, carbon neutral government regulation/legislation/policy, carbon/water foot printing, reverse logistics, eco-system services and associated frameworks/models to illustrate how operations can contribute to developing sustainable competitive advantage. This unit will also allow student to opportunity to discuss the global megatrends and how these may impact industrial systems in the period to mid-century. Students will examine the long-term and strategic importance of grappling with complex ethical, inclusive and sustainable business matters and the firm level strategies and practices involved in doing so. Focus will also be placed on industrial policy and system-level innovation that aim to drive future product and service delivery in a resource constrained world.

There will be an emphasis upon understanding dominant ethical models in business decision-making from a philosophical perspective, the importance of responsible, transparent and inclusive economic growth in global and local environments and triple bottom line reporting for sustainable business. Important discussions will also consider how organisations are working collaboratively with the not-for-profit-sectors to respond to the global challenges and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The module aims to:

  • Introduce the theories and practices related to sustainability and ethics in today’s operations for the supply of goods and services.
  • Provide understanding of the range of operations and supply chain management issues that organisations are addressing in response to United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and global challenges;
  • Develop knowledge and skills required by operations and supply chain professionals to improve economic, social and environmental performance by distinguishing between success and failure in practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a comprehensive understanding and classification of key issues/theories associated with sustainability and ethics in the academic field of operations and supply chain management;
  2. Demonstrate broad and specific knowledge of global challenges and major organisational responses associated with firm-level strategy and operations;
  3. Appraise and critique international/government policies and grey literatures associated with industrial transition;
  4. Apply relevant models and theories to business and management issues associated with sustainability and ethics in operations and supply chain management practice.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions including lectures, tutorials, drop-in sessions, discussion boards and other online learning opportunities.

Assessment Information

Formative: This will include a small range of methods including in class and/or on-line quizzes, debates and case evaluation; Summative: 3000 word individual assignment (100%)

Reading and References

Students are encouraged to read extensively to inform their knowledge. Students should draw from a range of sources which may include academic texts and papers, practitioner books and journals, market reports, policy/government and online sources.

Core Texts for this Unit

Crane, A. and Matten, D., (2016). Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press

Recommended Reading

Journals: Journal of Business ethics, Business Ethics quarterly; International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of Operations Management, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, Harvard Business Review and California Management Review


Government Report


Visser, W., (2014). CSR 2.0: Transforming corporate sustainability and responsibility. New York, NY: Springer.


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)