2021-2022 / GEST3024-1

Business and sustainable development


30h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in political sciences : general3 crédits 
 Bachelor in economics and business management4 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...)5 crédits 
 Master in human resources management (120 ECTS) (Management)4 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)4 crédits 
 Master in multilingual communication (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in geography : general (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Bachelor in psychology and education : general3 crédits 


Sybille Mertens de Wilmars

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Course description
The economic and financial crisis, the growing inequality and the prospects of climate change are arguing for a fundamental change in the economic system. Through their activities and the choices they make, some enterprises are more directly inspiring for this transition.  They fit totally in the perspective of sustainable development when they feature, sometimes as a priority, the social and environmental concerns in their economic objectives. This is usually expressed in their interactions with their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, consumers, financiers, civil society, etc..) This course provides students with a reading for their critical analysis of firm behavior vis- à-vis its main stakeholders. It also gives a good introduction to new inspiring business practices experimented in social and sustainable enteprirses.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of this course , students will be specifically able to :

  • Develop a critical reflection on our current production modes
  • Translate sustainable development into concrete terms of relations between the company and its stakeholders
  • Evaluate the potential for innovation and the risks of social and sustainable models
These specific learning outcomes reinforce the following generic learning outcomes of our bachelor program in Economics and Management Sciences. Indeed, this course will help students to:

  • identify the political, societal and economic context of a complex situation and to identify the legal constraints that apply to it
  • understand the societal, economic, political and environmental issues of a complex situation
  • take a holistic approach when analyzing a complex management problem
  • demonstrate critical thinking, curiosity and scientific rigor at university level
  • take a critical and ethical look at their managerial practices.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

  • Students must have completed an introductory course in economics and, if possible , in microeconomics and public economics
  • Students must be able to express themselves in French or English and must be able to read fluently French and English.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Learning activities include

  • Conceptual and theoretical presentations by the teacher (powerpoint)
  • Readings and discussion in class
  • Case studies

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Part 1 - Theoretical insights

  • Systemic crisis and transition : looking for causalities
  • Sustianbale devlopment : from alerts to new paradigm
  • Corporate social responsability
  • Sustainable enterprises : a continuum
  • State role in sustainability
Partie 2 - Applications and case studies
  • Consuming products from sustainable enterprises
  • Working in sustainable enterprises
  • Financing sustainable enterprises

Recommended or required readings

  • A bibliography containing books and reference articles will be suggested for each topic. These documents will be made available (Lol@).

Assessment methods and criteria

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( open-ended questions )

- Remote

written exam ( open-ended questions )

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

The overall assessment in june will combine two elements: A written  exam  - 60% and writings preparation of course sessions (40%)
  In the second session, the evaluation is only based on a written exam  - 100%

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

This course takes place every Monday 4pm-7pm, from february to may (Building Place du 20 août, Room "Salle Wilmotte"). 1st course : Feb 7 2022


Prof. Sybille Mertens, Centre d'Economie Sociale - HEC Université de Liège - smertens@uliege.be
Secretary : Mrs Jourdan 04 366 27 51 - nathalie.jourdan@uliege.be
Teaching assistant : Romain David - r.david@uliege.be