Course description

Title of the Teaching Unit

Business Ethics and Sustainability

Code of the Teaching Unit


Academic year

2023 - 2024


Number of credits


Number of hours







Teaching language


Teacher in charge

RUWET Coline

Objectives and contribution to the program

There are two AA for this course:
(1) 22SH020 – A – Business ethics and Sustainability (60%)
(2) 22SH020 – B – Sustainability Challenge (40%)

Three main objectives are linked to this course:

(1) Connect
- Identify individual and collective values
- Expand the sensitivity to the living world, be it human and other-than-human beings
- Differentiate descriptive and normative statements, short-term problems and long-term consequences
- Identify and empathize with the various voices (or stakeholders) and take them into account while making decisions

(2) Think
- Develop an understanding of and a critical approach to Sustainability. Understand the semantic and operational ambiguities inherent in the concept and the diversity of its tools, without being naive and/or cynical
- Develop the ability to be accountable for one’s choices and implement their ethical choices accurately and concisely, while being aware of the objections to their decisions that could arise
- Express and communicate one's thoughts in a coherent and structured way with a critical perspective
- Understand the forthcoming deep and systemic changes linked with issues at the global and local scale such as climate breakdown, biodiversity loss or the rise of social inequalities and trigger meaningful actions for adaptation and mitigation

(3) Act
- Develop a critical perspective on the limitations of a “questionable solution” taking into account a systemic and ethical approach
- Formulate problems properly and suggest potential solutions referring to different theoretical inputs (in-ex novations, holistic approach, strong sustainability, typology of sustainable models, resilience…)
- Innovate with regards to contemporary sustainability challenges

(2) 22SH020 – B – Sustainability Challenge (40%)

- Take place in May, 21-24, 2024
- Student groups will develop and defend entrepreneurial solutions to societal issues.

Prerequisites and corequisites



- General introduction: ethics and the challenges of our times
- Defining ethics, ethical issues and ethical decision making
- Sustainability: critical perspective and system thinking.
- Sustainability oriented innovations and ex-novations. Grassroot innovations. The 5Ps of Sustainability. Deeo adaptation

Teaching methods

Ethics and Sustainability: Fundamentals

The oral lessons are dedicated to ex-cathedra presentations, case studies, group work, experts’ conferences and testimony of professionals. It is strongly advisable to take an active part in the course to work actively with your group, benefit from a concrete approach through illustrations and examples developed during the course. These illustrations will not necessarily be included in the documents distributed.

The Sustainability Challenge will take place in May, 21-24, 2024. Student groups will develop and defend viable solutions to societal issues presented by organizations (business, non-profit organizations, social enterprises, etc.). Teaching method: 3 or 4-day seminar in the end of May - design sprint - agile method and lean startup - team work - mix of plenary sessions, coaching and group work in/out situs or online if there is a health crisis

Sustainability Challenge

Teaching method : 4-day seminar – design sprint – agile method and lean startup – team work – mix of plenary sessions, coaching and group work in situs (Online only in case of health crisis).
- Attendance at the entire seminar is compulsory.

Assessment method

Ethics and Sustainability: Fundamentals

The final assessment is based on an individual portfolio.
“A portfolio is a purposeful collection of student work that exhibits the student's efforts, progress, and achievements in one or more areas of the curriculum. It should represent a collection of students' best work or best efforts, student-selected samples of (work) experiences related to outcomes being assessed, and documents according growth and development toward mastering identified outcomes.

Discussion and active participation will be very important in this course It's only through sharing and confronting opinions and ideas that you can forge your own values and convictions and develop knowledge in this field. The participation will thus be fully part of the final evaluation.

The student is considered as an independent, self-organised learner. We expect every student to prepare the readings and homeworks in order to be able to contribute as actively as he/she can to the discussions in class. Moreover, students’ acquisition of knowledge will be assessed using an individual oral exam.

Sustainability Challenge
Type of assessment : Individual participation, intermediate deliverables, pitching of the final solution in front of a jury of experts and communication exercise in 90 sec.

- August session: individual work (contact:

There are two AA linked to this course, for each of them there is a specific assessment of your work:
(1) Business ethics and Sustainability: theory (60%)
First session (January 2024)
Active participation (20%),
- Active participation to the mandatory seminars (attendance list)
- Meet the deadlines for the assignments

Individual e-portfolio with specific assignments:
- Written document (40%)
- Oral exam (40%)

Detailed instructions concerning the deadlines as well as the work content will be presented in the first lecture and available on the Moodle website of the course.

Second session (August 2023)
Individual portfolio
- Written document (50%)
- Oral exam (50%)

(2) Sustainability Challenge: seminar (40%)
Type of assessment: Intermediate deliverables by group, attendance, and participation, pitching of the final solution in front of a jury of experts and communication exercise in 90 sec.
Second session (August 2024)
Individual work.

Please contact for instructions.

Calculation method

For the ICHEC department, where a teaching unit (UE) comprises several learning activities (AA), the overall grade for the UE is calculated as follows:
- If all the scores obtained for the different learning activities are greater than or equal to 10/20, the overall score will be the weighted arithmetic mean (based on the relative importance of each of the AAs in the UE) of these scores.
- If at least one of the scores obtained for an AA is less than 10/20, the overall score will then be the weighted geometric mean of the AA scores.
These modes of calculation apply when a Teaching Unit consists of several learning activities.


No manual for this lecture but specific articles and references (see moodle website for details)