Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, 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.


This course provides an overall understanding of how contemporary international businesses are integrating sustainability in their strategies and activities across their global value chains. Upon completion of the course, students are able to understand various ways through which multinational enterprises (MNEs) and smaller businesses can balance the needs of the society, the environment and the business. Students are also able to differentiate between globally integrated, locally adapted and transnational MNE sustainability strategies and evaluate how the UN Sustainable Development Goals affect international business strategies and global value chains.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 02.11.2021 - 09.12.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tiina Ritvala, Iiris Saittakari, Emilia Eräpolku

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course offers an overview of theoretical perspectives and topics at the international business-society interface. The themes range from global value chains and international sourcing, and underlying environmental and social/human rights questions, to MNEs sustainability transformations and shared value creation. The course is highly interactive. Cases are drawn from a variety of industries and geographical contexts. Through a series of participatory lectures and group works, students will be invited to deepen their understanding of sustainable global business and reflect their professional interests and aspirations. Several classes will feature a guest.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    100% assignments

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Contact teaching 30 h

    Independent work 130 h

    Total 160 h


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Readings and other material as indicated in the syllabus.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    There is compulsory attendance in the first lecture. The course is restricted to 60 students. Students are admitted to the course in the following priority order: 1) JOO students / Open University students, 2) MIB / Global Management / CEMS / Creative Sustainability, 3) Other BIZ Master s students and exchange students, 4) Other Aalto students.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn II

    2021-2022 Autumn II

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: In the academic year 2021-2022, registration for courses will take place on Sisu ( instead of WebOodi.