COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability - 2019

Intensive, Kensington
Term 2
6 Units of Credit
UNSW Business School

Offering Selection
The course outline is not available for current semester. To view outlines from other year and/or semesters visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability is an elective course in the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and the MBAX (Social Impact) programs. The course examines key concepts and frameworks relating to corporate responsibility and accountability. Primary topic areas include: the theoretical foundation of corporate responsibility and accountability, stakeholder theory, measurement tools and frameworks to identify and measure ESG risks, performance reporting and assurance as well as strategy and governance.

The course addresses current issues related to acting responsibly in the market and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders by upholding values of transparency and accountability. It explores how business accounts for its behaviour and impact on society through management systems and performance reporting. The course also considers the development of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Reporting Initiative's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility guidance, and Integrated Reporting from the International Integrated Reporting Council. Finally, the course examines practical examples of corporations demonstrating corporate responsibility and sustainable business models.



Teaching Times and Locations

The course is taught in a 'blended', intensive mode of delivery spanning a total of 12 weeks from 3 June to 23 August 2019. There are two intensive weekends of face-to-face (f2f) classes, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 July and Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August. Each of the weekend days run from 9am-5pm.

Before the first and second weekend of f2f classes students are required to complete two online modules (Modules One and Two before weekend 1 and Modules Three and Four before weekend 2). The modules  are accessed through the COMM5709 Moodle site. These online modules will assist with assessment tasks.

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

COMM5709 Corporate Responsibility and Accountability aims to

  • -develop your understanding of key concepts and frameworks of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and accountability.
  • -explore business ethics, corporate citizenship, sustainability, strategy and governance to give you a solid understanding of why social and environmental sustainability is central to corporate management and strategy.
  • -examine how business manages its social, environment and economic impact on society.


Additonal Course Details

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Course FacilitatorJacqueline Fegent-McGeachie
by appointment

Jacquie is a leading Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability practitioner and thought leader. She has helped lead, transition and grow some of the world's most recognised organisations and brands in executive leadership, senior consulting and for-purpose board director roles. She is founder and CEO of Sustainovate, an independent consultancy set-up to help organisations navigate social and environmental issues, innovate and transform for a sustainable future.

Jacquie is a former Global Director at Kimberly-Clark Corporation where she led Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and communication across four regions and more than 100 countries. She developed and led Kimberly-Clark Australia's sustainability strategy and program, which resulted in a range of business, environmental and social benefits including the company winning several high-profile awards including two prestigious Banksia Sustainability Awards.

She is immediate past chair and board director for the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, a Governor for WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and adviser to the Climate Media Centre and the Australian Transformation and Turnaround Association (AusTTA). She has studied Strategic Innovation at the Sloane School of Management at MIT in Boston, she holds a Master of Sustainability from The University of Sydney, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Impact from UNSW (completed in 2011) and a BA in Communications from Charles Sturt University.


4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

The teaching model in this course is what is referred to as 'blended learning' meaning a combination of online modules (four modules accessed on Moodle) and face-to-face classes (over two weekends). You are encouraged to develop an inquiry-based approach to your learning with your Course Authority guiding your learning. The online modules will set the scene, framework and context for the topics that are examined in more detail in class.


Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

The course has been designed to enhance both individual learning and group discussion for active and interactive learning. You have three major resources to help you learn:

  1. The course materials that include readings, references, insights and commentary for each topic.
  1. Your teaching team comprising the Course Authority and guest lecturers, who will provide insights from practical experience and understanding of theory, and direct discussions that will occur between you and your co-participants. Your Course Authority will also provide feedback on your assessments.
  2. Your co-participants who bring invaluable experience from their work and life, and their willingness to question and debate the course materials. They bring much valuable insight to the learning.




Course Structure

Module One: Corporate responsibility: History and key concepts

This module explores the origins of Corporate Responsibility and the phases in its development. It examines inter-related elements including stakeholder theory and its tension with shareholder theory, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.

Module Two: Business case for corporate responsibility and reporting

This module examines some of the key drivers behind the growing practice of corporate responsibility over the past two decades. It examines the developing area of corporate responsibility and sustainability reporting and assurance. Key concepts and leading reporting frameworks will be introduced including the Global Reporting Initiatives Sustainability Reporting Guideline, AcountAbility's AA1000 series, the UN Global Compact, ISO 26000 and Environmental Management Systems (EMS)

Weekend One

Topic: The Triple Bottom Line and corporate sustainability. What is encompassed in corporate environmental and social sustainability? We'll examine global issues and why momentum around corporate involvement in trying to solve for these issues continues to grow.

Topic: Sustainability in the Supply Chain and Traceability. We'll explore what is a sustainable supply chain and sustainable supply chain management, the drivers for it and the role of voluntary supply chain governance such as certifications.

Topic: Accountability, transparency and corporate sustainability reporting. We'll examine what it means to be accountable and transparent. We'll deep dive into different reporting frameworks and apply learning through discussion of case studies and group work.

Module Three: ESG and the investor lens

This module examines the field of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), its role in the investment community and drivers for it. It examines the growth of ESG ratings and indices and what they're used for.

Module Four: Governance and the role of the board in corporate responsibility   

This module considers the principles of good corporate governance in the context of corporate responsibility, along with the role of the board versus management.

Weekend Two

Topic: Corporate political involvement, technology and citizens. We'll explore these topics in the context of corporate responsibility. We'll look at the rise of social movements facilitated via social media and corporate involvement in advocating on issues from marriage equality to climate change.

Topic: Integration of corporate responsibility and sustainability into corporate strategy and culture. We'll explore the power of corporates defining a societal purpose, corporate values and the importance of building employee capability and understanding of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

Topic: Emerging trends and sustainable business models. We'll explore the circular economy movement, the drivers for it, and how businesses are beginning to adopt circular business strategies in Australia and internationally. We'll also examine the B Corporation movement.

6. Course Resources

A range of resources will be used in this course. The website for this course is on Moodle at:

  • Login to Moodle with your student zID (username) and zPass (password).

If you encounter a technical problem while using Moodle, please contact the UNSW IT Service Desk via the following channels:

Website: Email: Telephone: +61 (2) 9385 1333

Phone and email support is available Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am - 2pm. Online service requests can be made via their website.


There are no prescribed textbooks for this course. Each Unit (topic) will have compulsory and supplementary readings. Links to all of these resources are on the reading list for your course in the UNSW Library's Leganto system, which you can access via your Moodle course. Please note you will need to login, and may be required to enter your UNSW zID and zPass in order to access the library site.

If you experience any problems in accessing the readings, please try the following:

  • Search directly for the article on the UNSW Library home page (link) by placing the name of the article in the Search box.
  • Search directly for the book excerpt on the UNSW Library home page (link) by placing your course code into the Search box. When you do this all the course readings that are excerpts from books will appear.


7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

Our courses are revised each time they run, with updated course overviews and assessment tasks. All courses are reviewed and revised regularly and significant course updates are carried out in line with industry developments, and the latest academic research. The Business School surveys students each time a course is offered. The data collected provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the CSI program in general. This student feedback is taken into account in all course revisions. All material used will be treated as confidential and these processes will have no bearing on course grades.

Student Response

myExperience process is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course we will seek your feedback through end of term myExperience evaluations.

Response to Student Feedback

Feedback from previous students in COMM5709 as well as other CSI courses indicated a desire to offer the courses in weekend intensive formats. Accordingly, the course structure has been changed to accommodate these recommendations. It is hoped that this will enable students to focus on key course concepts in depth as well as reflect upon these concepts to solidify their understanding

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Course introductions
Week 2 Online Module One
Week 3 Online Module One
Week 4 Online Module Two
Week 5 Online Module Two
Week 6 Intensive Weekend 1As detailed

Short review of Modules 1 & 2 and discuss topics:

-Triple Bottom Line

-Environmental and social sustainability

-Sustainable supply chain management

-Traceability and certifications

-Accountability and transparency

-Sustainability reporting frameworks

Week 7 Assessment 1 due & Online Module Three

Assessment 1 Due (21 July, 11:59pm)

Assessment 1 : Essay
Week 8 Online Module Three
Week 9 Assessment 2 due & Online Module Four

Assessment 2 Due (4 August, 11:59pm)

Assessment 2 : Report
Week 10 Intensive Weekend 2As detailed

Short review of Module 3 & 4 and discuss topics:

-Corporate political activity, technology and citizens

-Corporate responsibility, corporate strategy and culture

-Circular economy

-B Corporations

Week 11 -
Week 12 Assessment 3 dueUnit 12: The way forward: Future & current trends

Assessment 3 Due (25 Aug, 11:59pm)

Assessment 3 : Report and Recommendation

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations.
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

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