6168 Elective - Economy and Sustainability II: Actors and Solutions for a Sustainable Resource Management
Univ.Doz. Dr. Stefan Giljum
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
03/20/23 to 04/10/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 05/04/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM EA.5.030
Thursday 05/11/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D2.0.030
Thursday 05/25/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D5.1.003
Thursday 06/01/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM TC.4.13
Thursday 06/15/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D1.1.078
Thursday 06/22/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D1.1.078


Building on the first course in the elective stream ‘Transforming the economy towards sustainability I’, the second course provides an actors-oriented perspective on what it takes to achieve a transformation towards more sustainable resource use. The course is designed in an interdisciplinary manner, including concepts and literature from economic sciences as well as natural, political and social sciences.
The course starts with a brief summary of the main challenges identified in course one and sets them into relation to the main actors contributing to current patterns of resource use at the product, company, sector and economy-wide level. Focus will be set on three groups: business and entrepreneurs, policy makers, as well as civil society and individuals. For each group, its scope of action as well as potential restrictions will be identified and discussed.
In the course, high priority is given to practical experience (mainly through field trip, guest lecture, discussions, debates, simulations, learning activities). As a hands-on experience, the participants will have to design their own sustainable business and present it in the “Dragons' den”.

Course outline:

Unit 1: Introduction

Part I: Introduction

  • Administrative aspects of the course
  • Pub quiz: A review of course I
  • Actors influencing (un)sustainability of resource use

Part II: The economy as user of natural resources

  • Empirical data on resource use by different sectors
  • Identifying hotspots of resource use in the economy
  • Out-of-the-box entrepreneurship

Unit 2: Policy options part I / Business options part I

Part I: Macroeconomic policy concepts

  • UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG)
  • EU Green Deal & Circular Economy
  • Smart City Vienna

Part II: Sustainability reporting

  • Non-financial reporting directive, GRI & sustainability reporting
  • Group work

Unit 3: Field trip / Business options II

Part I: Field trip to a company with a strong sustainability agenda.

Part II: Business performance.

  • CSR & green washing
  • Monitoring/improving business performance
  • Entrepreneurial conflicts with CSR and/or the SDGs

Unit 4: Business options in practice / Policy options II

Part I: Lions' den

  • Pitching of group projects

Part II: Policy options

  • Specific political instruments
  • Group work

Unit 5: Individuals and Civil Society

Part I: Individuals as actors

  • Options to drive change
  • Options to reduce individual footprints

Part II: Civil society as an actor

  • Practical examples/achievements
  • Debate
  • Reflection

Unit 6: Wrap-up, test and simulations

  • Summary of key content
  • Group simulation
  • Feedback and evaluation
  • Explanation of take-home exam
Learning outcomes

After the course the participants will:
-    be able to identify the main actors influencing global patterns of (un)sustainable resource use;
-    know the main political concepts of how to steer society towards sustainable resource use;
-    be aware of options for business to manage resource use more sustainably, both in current and alternative business models;
-    understand the role of civil society in the context of achieving more sustainable resource management;
-    have a set of actions they can take as individuals to reach a more sustainable personal level of resource use.

Attendance requirements

The criterion “attendance” is completely fulfilled when all classes but one have been attended. Additional missed classes will affect the overall grade.

Absence must be announced before the respective class.

Teaching/learning method(s)

-    Input by lecturer
-    Group work/presentations
-    Discussions
-    Learn activities
-    Field trip
-    Videos
-    Guest lectures
-    Background research and literature
-    Group simulations

  • Take-Home Exam (40%)
  • Group Work (30%)
  • Field Trip Report (20%)
  • Active Participation (10%)

A contribution to each criterion is compulsory for an overall pass grade.


Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists


Registration for this course is on the waiting list only.

All students who have completed Course I will receive a fixed place in Course II if they wish to complete it in the summer semester 2023. They will be registered directly from the waiting list.

Any additional places available will be allocated according to the student's study progress.



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Last edited: 2023-01-26