Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


- Understanding the concepts of sustainable business and corporate responsibility
- Understanding the central tensions in corporate sustainability
- Identifying sustainability challenges and introducing strategic approaches to respond to them
- Understanding sustainability in different business functions and the management instruments available;
- Developing critical thinking about how to deal with different stakeholders in advancing sustainability;
- Recognizing how enterprises can innovate to develop more sustainable businesses.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 10.09.2018 - 25.10.2018

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Samuli Patala, Patrick Shulist

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Samuli Patala

Contact information for the course (valid 20.08.2018-21.12.2112):

contact information

Course information

Name: Patrick Shulist


Office: E1.14 (Arkadia)

Office Hours: by appointment


Samuli Patala


Office: E3.20 (Arkadia) / R208 (Väre/ Otaniemi)

Office Hours: by


Status of the course:

M.Sc. degree, an
elective course in Aalto University, obligatory course in the Creative
Sustainability program (elective for CS BIZ).


Academic Year, Period:
period I, 2018

Location: Töölö

Language of
Instruction: English


CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    This course focuses on the role of business in addressing the vast sustainable development challenges faced by the world.  There is a complex relationship between business and sustainability, as business has historically been the source of many of these challenges (e.g. climate change, inequality, pollution), and yet business must also be part of the solution, given the size and scope of global business activities.  Against this backdrop, there has been an undeniable shift in business attitudes towards sustainability, with corporations increasingly wanting to act sustainably. However, these companies are constrained by the competitive pressures that speak to the core of the sustainability challenge: on the one hand, a more sustainable company does good for the world, but on the other hand if done incorrectly, sustainability shifts undercut the financial viability of a company. Put another way, even the world’s most sustainable company does no good if it goes out of business.

    With this in mind, the focus of this course is first on understanding the nature of this tension, and second on understanding how to develop business strategies that are simultaneously better for the environment, society, and a company’s finances. To truly pursue the needed sustainability shift, companies must creatively address the needs of their diverse stakeholders so that they can find win-wins.

    Overall, the course will cover expansive ground, including business strategy, supply chains, sustainability management and communication instruments, innovation for sustainability, and the circular economy. Simulations and cases will be used to highlight the underlying complexity.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Download course syllabus here

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Final project (50%), Assignments (Group/Individual) (50%)


    Autumn 2020:

    Final project (40%), Assignments (Group/Individual) (60%)

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Contact teaching 33h (70% lecture attendance requirement, or you cannot get credit for the final assignment)

    Independent work and assignments 123h

  • Applies in this implementation:


    Classroom hours

    (70% lecture
    attendance obligatory)

    Class preparation (pre-readings for lectures)




    Assignments (group work)


    Exam preparation





    160h (6 ECTS)


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    A selection of articles. Required pre-readings for each lecture (1-3 articles per lecture).

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Study materials listed in the detailed session description

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Replaces the course 21E16000 Sustainable Business and Consumption

Registration for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    4 Quality Education

    7 Affordable and Clean Energy

    8 Decent Work and Economic Growth

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action


Further Information
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Max 100 students taken to the course

    Priority list for selection of students 1. Creative Sustainability students 2. CEMS students 3. Exchange students 4. MIB students 5. BIZ students 6. Internal mobility students
    Please contact Samuli Patala for more information

  • Applies in this implementation:


    Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity and Handling Thereof:


    Registration to course: via Weboodi, closes one week before the start of
    the course.

    Retrieving Course Materials: all materials available through MyCourses

    Group feedback will be provided as assignments are returned.


Registration and further information