Sustainability and Corporations

Play Video
Welcome to Master of Science Sustainability and Corporations

General Overview

The Master in Business Administration program consists of core mandatory modules (20 ECTS, credit points each), mandatory elective modules (30 ECTS, credit points each), four specializations (50 ECTS, credit points each) and a Master thesis (20 ECTS).

Each of the four Research Areas of the School of Business and Economics is responsible for one area of specialization. These specializations are:

  • Corporate Development and Strategy, incorporated into the Research Area “Managerial and Organizational Economics” (MOE)
  • Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Marketing, incorporated into the Research Area “Technology, Innovation, Marketing and Entrepreneurship” (TIME)
  • Operations Research and Management, incorporated into the die Research Area “Operations Research and Management” (ORM)
  • Sustainability and Corporations, incorporated into the die Research Area “Energy, Mobility and Environment” (EME).

Please see Figure 1 for an overview.

  EME Master Copyright: © EME Figure 1: Structure of the M.Sc. Business Economics  

General Structure of the Program

The core mandatory modules (20 ECTS, credit points each) consist of four predetermined courses with a methodological focus. These are: Econometrics, Advanced Microeconomics, Operations Research I and Corporate Social Responsibility, and are currently scheduled for the winter semester. They provide a solid grounding for your studies.

Regarding the mandatory elective modules (30 ECTS, credit points each), you can choose from more than 30 courses. This means that you select appropriate subject matter and methodologies and tailor your study according to your interests and ambitions. You will find an overview of the all mandatory elective modules currently offered, in the Teaching Activities section.

The specialization area (50 ECTS credit points) is of particular relevance for your profile, since it enables a specific focus.

Regarding the area of specialization "Sustainability and Corporations", the Research Area EME has organized its teaching activities into CORE, SUPPLEMENTARY, and PROJECT sections.

In the following, the contents of these three sections are described in detail. Figure 2 provides an example of module selection in the area of specialization "Sustainability and Corporations". Apart from the core mandatory modules, you are allowed to vary the time scheduling of your modules. Please note that with regard to your selected specialization area, you must take at least one project module from those offered by the corresponding Research Area (EME).

  EME Master Copyright: © EME Figure 2: Structure of the program for the specialization area "Sustainability and Corporations"  

Specialization Area “Sustainability and Corporations”

A key characteristic of a sustainable company is that it not only considers economic aspects, but also social and environmental ones, to be integral parts of its business model. Especially globally acting companies have to meet the sustainability requirements of their stakeholders more than ever before. In this context, for example, the creation of humane working conditions, fair pay, and the environmental impact of manufacturing processes are being critically discussed in the textile industry. At the same time, new environmentally-oriented technologies are changing the business models of entire markets. For instance, future mobility needs will predominantly be met with new engine technologies (e-mobility, fuel cell cars). Thus, not only the final product will change, but also the entire value chain ranging from the suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, battery manufacturers, service providers, the gas station network across to actors in secondary value chains (e.g. battery recycling). Furthermore, the power supply, the construction sector as well as the logistics industry are facing substantial upheaval. At the same time, the attractiveness of product return and of the recycling of old products has increased considerably in recent years due to higher commodity prices and a changed legal framework.

  EME Master Copyright: © EME Figure 3: Three columns model of sustainability  

The specialization area “Sustainability and Corporations” addresses these issues, to prepare students to find solutions for such global challenges. The courses focus on questions such as:

  • Which normative aspects play a role in solving environmental and social issues?
  • How can compliance with socially acceptable working and business practices be ensured in global value chains?
  • Which social and technical innovations contribute to tackling environmental and social problems?
  • How can value chains be organized in a resource-efficient way?
  • What are the consequences of entrepreneurial activities particularly for future generations?
  • What path dependencies are created by ultra-long-lived capital goods?
  • Where are sustainability-related growth markets, and how can these be developed?
  • Do we need a new definition of “growth”?

Sustainable management has always been a common practice for many companies in the forestry sector. If the deforestation rate of a company in the forest sector were not oriented towards the regrowth of new trees, the company would not survive in the long-term. The more companies and consumers distance themselves from the principles of conservation, the greater the risk is that this behavior will cause depletion of natural resources and that the environment will be overly polluted with waste materials.

Since the late 1980s, sustainable management has become an issue that has attracted the attention of a broad public. Usually, it is related to the protection of the natural environment and in this sense it focusses on environmental sustainability. This specialization of the Master program deals in particular with the question of how companies can be managed sustainably. In this context, there the focus is on corporate environmental management. But in a market economy, a purely 'environmentally oriented' business management is not realistic, or even economically feasible, on account of competition. Besides the environmental dimension, sustainability also encompasses a social as well as an economic dimension.

The social dimension can be derived directly from the requirement "to meet the needs of the present without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (as already stated in the "Our Common Future" report of the World Commission on Environment and Development of the United Nations in 1987). However, the aspect of economic sustainability is the main subject of the general business economics literature on managing businesses that are intended to have a long life. Although the focus is on corporate environmental management, key aspects of social and economic sustainability are considered as well, as is conductive to a fundamental understanding of a (holistic) sustainable business management.

As a student of economics, you may wonder why you should be dealing with environmental sustainability at all. Isn’t environmental protection a subject for natural scientists and engineers? Although “economy” and “ecology” sound similar, aren’t they diametrically opposed? Does a business manager really need to consider environmental protection issues?

The specialization are “Sustainability and Corporations”, as part of the Research Area EME, aims at showing you that economists do indeed need to tackle the environmental dimensions of corporate management if our society is to be equipped to face the challenge of the 21st century. Currently, we offer 17 lectures, which are described in more detail in the section on teaching activities. The corresponding initialisms are elucidated below:

  • CON: Chair of Management Accounting (Prof. Dr. Peter Letmathe)
  • FCN: Chair of Energy Economics and Management (Prof. Dr. Reinhard Madlener)
  • EWF: Empirical Economic Research Unit (Prof. Dr. Almut Balleer)
  • IW: International Economics Unit (Prof. Dr. Oliver Lorz)
  • MÖ: Chair of Economics (Microeconomics) (Lecturer: Dr. Karin Knottenbauer)
  • OM: Chair of Operations Management (Prof. Dr. Grit Walther)
  • ESE: Chair of Energy System Economics (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Aaron Praktiknjo)
  • Jun.- Prof.of Decision Analysis and Socio-economic Assessment (Jun.-Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Sandra Venghaus)

All courses in the area of specialization "Sustainability and Corporations" aim to provide you with the necessary skills in order to understand the framework for sustainable economic, environmental, and social activity of companies and to understand in a holistic way the role and responsibility of companies in a global market economy. You will then also be capable of comprehending the requirements and opportunities of corporate environmental management at the various operational levels. Furthermore, you will become familiarized with key approaches and instruments of corporate environmental management.

Information on the modules in the area of specialization "Sustainability and Corporations" can be found in the section on teaching activities.