Master’s degree in Management and business strategy

Sustainable business models (SBMs)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Silvia Cantele
Silvia Cantele
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
primo semestre (lauree magistrali) dal Oct 5, 2020 al Dec 23, 2020.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course aims to give to the students the knowledge of corporate sustainability (economic, social and environmental) and social responsibility topics, of the different kind of business models for sustainability (such as circular economy models, benefit corporations among the others) and of the main international standards and management and reporting tools presently available, in a context of stakeholder relationships and engagement. In reply to sustainable development, organisations are asked to change their business models and to widen the boundaries of their measurement and reporting practices, in compliance to recent institutional and regulation changes (such as the ONU’s Sustainable Development Goals –SDGs - or the recent regulation on benefit corporations and on non-financial reporting). At the end of learning process, students will know and be able to implement the sustainability business models, and to apply the international standards and tools to plan, manage, control and report sustainability issues in different organisational contexts; they will be able to structure an hypothetical process of implementation of the different models in a firm and to assess the quality of management and reporting tools already adopted by the firm.


The teaching methods will include frontal lessons on the theoretical basis of Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development and Corporate Sustainability, as well as on recent literature on Sustainable Business Models, dealing with sustainability implementation at strategic and operational business level.
Main international standards and guidelines on sustainability management and reporting will be examined.
Students could participate (though it is not mandatory) to group works deepening which will be assessed for the final exam.
Some entrepreneurs, consultants and managers will be invited to speak about their business experiences on sustainability and reporting.

More in details the course program will include:
The studies on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
The strategic approach to corporate social responsibility: business case and shared value
Sustainable development (SD) and corporate sustainability (CS).
The business model (BM) and the Business Model Canvas (BMC)
Business Model Innovation (BMI)
Sustainable business models (SBM): taxonomies, archetypes and canvas
Focus on some sustainable business models: Benefit Corporations (BC) and circular business models.
Non-financial reporting: social, sustainability and integrated reporting and the Italian regulation on non-financial disclosure (D. Lgs. 254/2016)
The main standards of CSR and sustainability management and reporting:
- UN initiatives: Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- ISO 26000
- SA 8000
- AA 1000
Analysis of some sustainability and integrated reports

Further materials (scientific articles, standards and ppt presentations) will be available on the e-learning platform.
The content of books, lessons and materials used during the lessons is adherent to the course program.
The program and the materials are the same for students attending o not attending the lessons

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Balluchi F. e Furlotti K. (a cura di) La responsabilità sociale delle imprese. Un percorso verso lo sviluppo sostenibile (Edizione 2) Giappichelli 2019 978-88-921-2975-7 Capitoli 1, 3, 7, 8, 9

Assessment methods and criteria

During the academic year 2020/21 – and in particular for the winter exam session – the exam procedure could already be affected by health and safety regulation connected with COVID-19. The following exam information are consistent with national and University regulation. Every potential change stemming from new regulations would be promptly communicated.

The examination is written, and is composed by some open questions on the course program; during the course a group work could be prepared (but it is not compulsory), which would be assessed at the end of the course with a score (up to 3 points) on the final exam score.

The exam will be in attendance, but distance exam would be guaranteed to anyone asking for it.

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