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Unit: Sustainable Business, 5J3180 Unit Leader: E E Walley

Final Year Option – 2009/10

Assignment Brief

There is a choice of assignment topics. Please choose either question 1 (select an


ecological issue…..) or question 2 (on one of the sustainable business models).

Question 1

1.1 Select an ecological issue (for example, global warming, pollution,


deforestation, waste, pressure on energy resources, loss of biodiversity, etc.).
Explain the nature of, and reason for the environmental problem and how it
relates to the concept of sustainability. Then present the evidence that
identifies the extent of the problem. (30%)

1.2 Select a company contributing to and/or ameliorating the problem. Review


and evaluate (using academic concepts & models, particularly the sustainable
business models) the steps being taken by the company to reduce the impact in
relation to your chosen ecological issue. You will probably need to assess this
in the context of the company’s overall sustainability stance. (50%)

1.3 Finally, suggest future steps that could be taken by your company (and/or
businesses in general), governments and scientists to improve the management
of your chosen ecological issue. (20%)

or
Question 2: Choose one of the following concept-author choices:

Triple Bottom Line – John Elkington


Natural Capitalism – Paul Hawken, Amory & Hunter Lovins
The Natural Step – Karl-Henrik Robert

Having selected one of these, your assignment should address the following:

2.1 A synopsis of the concept – summarising the key principles, approaches and
arguments – and the author(s)’s contribution to it. (30%)

2.2 A critique of the concept: What are the pros and cons of the viewpoint being
expressed by the author(s)? It will be necessary to place this work in the
context of the wider literature in the sustainable business field. For
example, does it build on the thinking in previous work and /or other authors?
How are the ideas different? (40%)

2.3 An assessment of the potential contribution of the concept/approach to your


chosen organisation. How could the ideas influence, change and/or benefit the
way your company does business? What aspects of the business would be
altered? (30%)
Assignment Brief, continued ……

For both Question 1 and Question 2 – Further Guidelines

For both questions, you will need to:

• Draw on academic and practitioner concepts relating to sustainability and


organisational sustainability.
• Make use of one or more of the sustainable business models and other relevant
academic concepts and models.
• Make comparisons with other ‘best practice’ (in sustainability terms)
organisations in the same or similar sectors.

You will produce a written report (maximum 3,000 words). Whilst the format
requested is business report style, the assignment should also be strongly academic in
content. In other words, a high level of intellectual content is expected, with
referencing to appropriate and wide ranging background sources of material (books,
specialist reports, academic journal articles, websites, business data, etc). When
drawing on the ideas of others in your work, you should look towards presenting
critical analysis of differing arguments from across the range of opinion. The report
should contain a balance of factual evidence, theory and concepts, reasoned argument
plus where appropriate your own critical observations. The latest MMUBS
referencing standard guidelines are attached to this brief.

This assignment is worth 40% of the overall mark for this unit. The specific
assessment criteria are indicated on the assignment assessment summary / feedback
forms, attached. General guidelines to marks and grades are also provided – see
‘Assessment Grade Descriptors’, also attached.

Submission Details

Assignment due: week commencing 15 February 2010, on your designated day of the
week.

Hand in your assignment to the relevant Undergraduate Office assignment submission


box. Penalties for late submission will be accordance with University Regulations.
Final Year Option

Sustainable Business: Question 1

ASSIGNMENT ASSESSMENT SUMMARY

Student:
Mark:
Tutor:

1st = excellent; 2.i = very good/ good; 2.ii = satisfactory; 3rd = poor; Fail = inadequate

Introductory Sections 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Clarity of ecological
issue explanation; link 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
to sustainability
Quality of evidence
presented to identify 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
extent of problem
Choice / review of
chosen company issues 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Evaluation of company
actions to reduce 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
impacts
Quality of conclusions
and recommendations 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Extent that analysis is


informed by 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
appropriate concepts
and literature
Overall Presentation
of report 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

These aspects are notably well done:

The following points are less satisfactory:

Other comments:
Final Year Option

Sustainable Business: Question 2

ASSIGNMENT ASSESSMENT SUMMARY

Student:
Mark:
Tutor:

1st = excellent; 2.i = very good/ good; 2.ii = satisfactory; 3rd = poor; Fail = inadequate

Introductory Sections 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Quality of synopsis of
concept 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Contextualising of the
concept in the wider 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
SBM literature

Critique of the concept 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Assessment of
potential contribution 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
to chosen organisation
Overall depth and
quality of analysis 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

Extent that analysis is


informed by 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail
appropriate concepts
and literature
Overall Presentation
of report 1st 2.i 2.ii 3rd Fail

These aspects are notably well done:

The following points are less satisfactory:

Other comments: