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Sustainability Marketing and Communications

Sustainability Marketing and Communications

Code: CSR5LH004
Extent: 3 ECTS (81 h)
Timing: Semester 3-7
Language: English with possibility to complete assignments and/or exams in Finnish for Finnish speaking students. In case there are no non-Finnish speaking students, the course will be in Finnish.
Level: Professional specialization studies
Type: Optional; recommended to be combined with C –module for Corporate Responsibility

Starting level and linkage with other courses

This course forms part of the C-module for Corporate Responsibility. Approved completion of the introductory course to Corporate Responsibility is a prerequisite for acceptance to this course. The basic course is for example CSR1LH001, ECO1LF001 or CSR1LK001 (Kestävä kehitys ja yhteiskuntavastuu, Yhteiskuntavastuu ja eettinen johtaminen and/or The sustainable global environment).

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, the student

  • understands how sustainability marketing differs from traditional marketing
  • understands effective sustainability communications support overall corporate responsibility strategy and corporate business strategy
  • understands and can differentiate between the different types of sustainability communication (such as marketing communications, advertising and reporting)
  • can recognize and prioritise the organisation’s stakeholders and can advance stakeholder dialogue in accordance with corporate objectives and strategies
  • understands and is familiar with relevant international and national recommendations and guidelines concerning sustainability communications, including the GRI reporting framework
  • has the capacity to take part in designing and building a sustainability reporting framework for an organization and in the actual reporting of corporate sustainability
  • has the capacity to analyse and make informed suggestions on designing a sustainability communications strategy and/or campaign
  • has enough knowledge and skills to participate as an active member in a sustainability communications team or as part of a corporate communications team when emphasis is on sustainability communications.

Course contents

  • Stakeholder identification and prioritization; setting up and executing effective stakeholder dialogue
  • Sustainability marketing, especially sustainability communications
  • Reporting on corporate social responsibility, especially according to the GRI
  • Crisis communication

Cooperation with the business community

The course is implemented in close cooperation with suitable companies through assignments and/or guest lectures or company visits. The corporate assignments can and will be combined with the other courses in the C-module whenever possible.

Learning and teaching methods

Contact hours: 32 hours, of which up to 12 hours can be e-learning
Independent and group work: 48 hours
The assessment of one's own learning 1 hour

The course employs research and development oriented learning. The students will prepare assignments either individually or in teams for the case company. The teacher will support in preparing the development work for the case company according to a determined schedule.

Accreditation of prior learning (APL, in Finnish AHOT)

Accreditation of prior learning is observed on the course according to separate instructions

Teacher responsible

Minna-Maari Harmaala

Course materials

Sustainability Marketing. Belz and Peattie. 2009. John Wiley and Sons
The GRI Guidelines.
Other materials such as selected articles distributed during the course.

Assessment criteria

Students' performance is graded on the following scale: Excellent (5), Very good (4), Good (3), Satisfactory (2), Fair (1), Fail (0). The assessment criteria is presented on scale 1 to 5.

Components 1 (40% of objectives) 3 (70% of objectives) 5 (90% of objectives)
Knowledge The student can identify, list and combine the main theoretical sustainability marketing and communication concepts and issues. The student can describe the relevant sustainability marketing and communication concepts and apply them to new contexts. The student can link the key theoretical concepts to the practical tasks. The student has an understanding of how sustainability marketing and communication relates to general marketing and communication strategies and activities. The student can use and combine different theories to present her own suggestions and models. The student is aware of conflicting views on the topics. The student uses theory and specific terminology accurately. The student has a clear understanding and appreciation of how sustainability marketing and communication fits into the general marketing and communication strategies and activities.
Skills The student can only with difficulty and under strict supervision contribute as part of a team, in developing sustainability marketing and communication activities. The student can provide input to sustainability marketing initiatives only with serious difficulty and omissions. The student can participate in developing sustainability marketing and communication in a corporate setting, for example identifying new consumer segments and formulating targeted messages; or corporate sustainability reporting  with strict support and supervision. The student can, as part of a team, develop corporate sustainability marketing and communication activities based on general criteria. The student can provide input to sustainability marketing initiatives with some difficulty. The student can participate in developing sustainability marketing and communication in a corporate setting, for example identifying new consumer segments and formulating targeted messages; or corporate sustainability reporting with moderate support and supervision. The student can analyse a company independently and make informed development suggestions. The student can provide meaningful sustainability marketing and communication initiatives taking corporate characteristics into account. The student can provide input to sustainability marketing initiatives. The student can fully participate in developing sustainability marketing and communication in a corporate setting, for example identifying new consumer segments and formulating targeted messages; or corporate sustainability reporting with a great degree of independence. The student can act as a team leader if required. The student can make significant contributions to corporate development projects.
Competence The student can partly work with a corporate team given strong support and supervision. The student can only with difficulty apply problem identification, analysis and solving to sustainability marketing and communication issues and projects. The student does not demonstrate aptitude or interest in developing corporate sustainability marketing and communication. The student can work with a corporate team given some content and context related support. The student shows moderate independence in her work. The student can apply problem identification, analysis and solving to sustainability marketing and communication issues and projects to an extent. The student demonstrates some aptitude and interest in developing corporate sustainability marketing and communication. The student can work very professionally with a corporate team given some content and context related support. The student shows a great degree of independence in her work. The student can skillfully apply problem identification, analysis and solving to sustainability marketing and communication issues and projects to an extent. The student demonstrates great aptitude and interest in developing corporate sustainability marketing and communication.

Assessment components and their respective weights

Active participation during contact sessions 30%
Assignments and e-learning work 70 %
The assessment of one's own learning assignment does not impact your grade. The assignment is the same for all courses/modules and your answers will be used also for course/module development. The assignment is completed on an electronic form.