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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Eco-Innovation for a Circular Economy (BUST10153)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course introduces key environmental sustainability theories, models and frameworks. This is a project-based course which provides students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their business degree programme. Students are supported in forming groups and choosing a case-study organisation whose current business model results in a detrimental environmental impact. Optional sectors to draw from include construction, fashion, automotive, food, agriculture, electronics and cosmetics. Students work collaboratively within their groups to review the current business model of their chosen organisation with the purpose of identifying alternative practices which eliminate waste and pollution, promote the continual use of resources and reduce environmental impact. The course adopts a flipped classroom delivery method, with course materials available online and 2 hours per week of facilitated seminars, workshops and group activities. Full semester delivery.

Course description Academic Description
The course introduces key environmental sustainability theories, models and frameworks. This is a project-based course which provides students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their business degree programme. Drawing from case-study organisations and industries with a detrimental environmental impact, the course invites students to generate and select viable eco-innovations which work towards circularity and reduce environmental impact. It aims to develop inter-personal, analytical and presentation skills; to give detailed insights into the challenges and problems encountered by businesses wishing to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach and to gain practical knowledge of how environmental impact can be reduced with the adoption of more environmentally focused and sustainable business models.

Outline Content
Topic 1: The Problem: Resource Depletion, Pollution and Climate Change.
Topic 2: Circular Economy Theories (eg Cradle to Cradle Design Philosophy by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, Biomimicry by Janine Benyus and Regenerative Design by John Lyle)
Topic 3: Circular Business Models. (eg Circular Supply, Resource Recovery, Product Life Extension, Rental and Sharing Ownership and Product Service System Models)
Topic 4: Design Thinking (Tools to Analyse, Ideate and Develop Eco/Circular Innovations)
Topic 5: Materials: Designing for a Circular Economy
Topic 6: Circularity: Closing the Loop
Topic 7: Future of Eco-Innovations and Circular Economy Leadership.

Student Learning Experience
There will be a period of formal lectures and seminars at the start of the course. These will introduce key sustainability theories, models and frameworks with focus on Eco-innovation and the circular economy as a systems-based concept, aiming to design out waste and pollution.

The central part of the course involves student groups identifying an organisation (or widely adopted industry practice) with a linear make-use-dispose business model. The groups will undertake secondary research to map current practice, with the objective of generating ideas and solutions which could be adopted to reduce the company's environmental impact.

The final part, starting on Week 9 will conclude the project by providing workshops on presentation skills, report writing, cumulating with student video presentations, where the groups present their recommendations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Business Honours entry
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 4 Business courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1. Group Report (40% with 20% peer assessment) 8000 words.
At the end of the group research project, each student group is expected to produce a report, the primary focus of which is to:

- Describe current organisational / industry practice for a relevant case study.

- Assess the current business model environmental impact.

- Make recommendations (with justifications) for the adoption of improved business practice with the primary focus of reducing environmental impact.

This must be a quality, typed and bound management report capable of professional dissemination of findings to the client. Ideally it should be informative but brief (8000 words).

2. Group Video Presentation (10 minutes in length) (10% with 20% peer assessment)

The written report will form the basis for a formal video presentation made by the group to the organisation / industry outlining their current practice, evidencing environmental impact, along with your recommendations for improvement and your justification. Each member of the team has to contribute to the presentation, which should follow the core structure of the report.

3. Individual Assignment (50%)

Relevant to the subject area.
Feedback Group feedback on the coursework and video presentation will be available on Learn within 15 days of submission.
Students will also be able to review their individual essay feedback electronically via Grademark on Learn, within 15 days of submission.

The final mark will be posted on Learn as soon as possible after the Boards of Examiners' Meeting (normally end of January/beginning of February).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Reflect upon and critically evaluate theories and concepts underpinning Eco-innovation and the Circular Economy.
  2. Critically evaluate and apply alternative business models and solutions for the reduction of environmental impact.
  3. Work collaboratively to gain detailed insights into the challenges and problems encountered by businesses wishing to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:
Skene, K., 2015. Sustainable Economics. Routledge.
R, W., 2019. The Circular Economy. Routledge.
Benton, D., 2015. The Guide to The Circular Economy Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and understanding:
- Critical understanding of key environmental sustainability theories, models and frameworks.
- Understanding of the importance of business practice and its impact on the environment.

Practice: Applied knowledge, skills and understanding
- Knowledge, skills and understanding of how to apply sustainability theories, models and frameworks.
- Demonstrate flexibility in the application of these tools and techniques, depending on the context.
- Demonstrate originality and creativity by identifying, developing and articulating potential solutions for reducing environmental impact.

Generic cognitive skills:
- Ability for critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex information.
- Ability to develop solutions in the absence of complete information.
- Develop original and creative responses to problems.

Communication, CIT and numeracy skills:
- Communicate in a variety of formats (in groups, discussion forums, in reports) demonstrating ability to adapt communication to appropriate format and purpose.
- Develop practical skills for planning and creating effective and accessible video-based communications.

Autonomy, accountability and working with others:
- Take full responsibility for own work and lead others where necessary.
- Demonstrate originality in tackling and resolving problems and finding solutions, particularly for groupwork issues.
- Understand and reflect on the practical aspects of leadership, accountability and interpersonal differences in demanding groupwork situations.

This course will help develop effective and responsible leaders by helping participants understand the social and environmental impacts of business practices. It will introduce the participants to theories, models and frameworks which can be implemented to lessen social and environmental impact and promote the adoption of more sustainable business practices, rather than those based on economic value alone.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Debbie Crompton
Course secretaryMiss Anne Cunningham
Tel: (0131 6)50 3827
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