Corporate Sustainability

ETI504 Corporate Sustainability

Spring 2024

Autumn 2024
  • Topics

    This PhD seminar addresses key topics in corporate sustainability. It reviews the relevant academic literature, identifies research gaps, and discusses potential avenues for future research. In particular, in this course, we will address questions of whether and how companies can incorporate environmental, social, and governance considerations into their activities to enhance their competitiveness and long-term value. Also, we will discuss the rising pressures of society (including communities, consumers, employees, and others) and shareholders on companies to show sustainable business stewardship, aligning the firm’s policy engagement with their social and environmental business practices and corporate strategies to help mitigate systemic challenges.

    The course will draw on theory and evidence from several disciplines, including management, corporate governance, accounting, finance, economics, and political science. It will discuss the interplay between the public and private sector as well as the real economy and financial system. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the corporate sustainability literature and the real world challenges we face.

    The course has three main parts. Part 1 discusses the strategic side of corporate sustainability. Part 2 discusses how investors (and other constituencies) can influence their portfolio companies' sustainable business practices. Part 3 identifies research gaps and discusses potential avenues for future research.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon successful completion of the course, participants can:


    • Demonstrate knowledge of the academic literature in corporate sustainability.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the rising public, stakeholder and shareholder expectations for companies and the need for companies to show sustainable business stewardship.
    • Identify important gaps in the academic literature and develop their own research ideas.


    • Critically assess the theoretical contributions and empirical evidence of the extant literature.
    • Formulate their research ideas.
    • Discuss academic research and present their own research ideas in front of their peers.

    General Competence

    • Analyze the role of business in society.
    • Critically assess the extent to which companies can engage in sustainable business stewardship.
    • Critically assess the existing academic literature.

  • Teaching

    The teaching consists of lectures.

  • Restricted access

    • PhD candidates at NHH.
    • PhD candidates at Norwegian institutions.
    • PhD candidates at other institutions.
    • PhD candidates from the ENGAGE.EU alliance.

  • Assessment

    Written, individual term paper to be submitted digitally and in English.

  • Grading Scale


  • Permitted Support Material



ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2024. 2-6 September.

Course responsible

Caroline Flammer, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics, Columbia University og Visiting Professor of Business and Human Rights, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law, NHH.

Professor Ivar Kolstad, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law (internal contact person)