Sustainable organisations: theory and practice

Environmental pressures on organisations are increasing. For instance, global greenhouse gas emissions need to halve by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 to alleviate the worst impacts of climate change. Achieving these and the variety of ambitious environmental targets requires transformative thinking and actions at all levels of society. Organisations and businesses will play an essential role in delivering these targets, helping transition to sustainable green economies that are low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. This module provides the background knowledge and a practical skill-set to lead the way in transforming or creating sustainable organisations.

Vocational relevance

This module will be of interest if you are or intend to become one of the following:

  • Someone who wants to develop personal competence relating to work, community or home by increasing your awareness and understanding of sustainability.
  • Someone who wants to enhance conceptual and professional skills by developing a sustainability perspective on management.
  • A professional in an organisation, private or public, tasked with reducing the environmental impacts of projects and plans. You could be working in local or central government or the business sector and be responsible for reviewing a range of environmental agendas and topics, implementing environmental management schemes, improving environmental performance, or contracting and supplying consultancy services.
  • A professional in an international or local company (e.g. dealing with goods and services) that’s expanding or changing their market and examining the impact from all perspectives, including environmental performance and risks to the business.

Module

Module code
T892
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
SCQF 11
FHEQ 7
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module has three blocks:

Block 1: Introduction to sustainable organisations
This block provides the background, context and rationale for the module. It establishes the basics of sustainable thinking and practice and explores organisations’ role in reaching net zero by 2050. It introduces key sustainable development concepts; you’ll see how these approaches help develop innovative products and practices. The block finishes by outlining key legislation and policy and how they’re used to achieve sustainable change.

Block 2: Assessment tools for effective change
The second block explains technical concepts and empowers you to make informed and reliable sustainability assessments such as financial appraisals and carbon audits within organisations. It’ll introduce you to simple maths concepts that can help inform decision making, and tools that enable you to analyse resource use and efficiency within organisations. It explores the theory of change management and how to influence change, enabling you to communicate effectively and drive change in a workplace setting. Finally, you’ll explore how to evaluate change initiatives to avoid costly repetition of mistakes in future projects.

Block 3: Demonstrating compliance and communicating success
The final block introduces tools and concepts related to monitoring performance and key indicators used to demonstrate and communicate success. You’ll learn about the importance of management systems and effective auditing in demonstrating sustainable practices. You’ll also explore tools such as environmental impact assessments, environmental policies and corporate social responsibility reporting.

You will learn

You’ll learn the tools, techniques and concepts to enable you to initiate change and monitor environmental and sustainability indicators in organisations.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Providing online tutorials before every assessment point.
  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students in dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.

Assessment

The assessment details can be found in the facts box.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Sustainable organisations: theory and practice (T892) starts once a year – in May.

This page describes the module that will start in May 2023.

We expect it to start for the last time in May 2030.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    There are no formal entry requirements; however, you must have adequate preparation for study at this level, usually demonstrated by a bachelors degree (or equivalent).

    You don’t need expert knowledge or experience of environmental science, business or engineering. However, an appreciation and understanding of sustainability issues and basic numeracy skills would be advantageous. While you don’t need to be in paid employment, there will be an opportunity to draw on your prior knowledge or experience of organisations to personalise assessment.

    We recommend studying Making environmental decisions (T891) before this module.

    Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    01 May 2023 Oct 2023 £1505.00

    Registration closes 06/04/23 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    01 May 2024 Oct 2024 Not yet available

    Registration opens on 01/10/23

    This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2030.

    Future availability

    Sustainable organisations: theory and practice (T892) starts once a year – in May.

    This page describes the module that will start in May 2023.

    We expect it to start for the last time in May 2030.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    The module is entirely online. You’ll have access to the module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • module materials
    • video recordings
    • an assessment guide
    • access to online forums.

    Computing requirements

    You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

    Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

    It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components are available, as are printable versions of the online text-based material. Some online material may not be fully accessible using a screen reader, and mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.