1011 Elective: Economy and Sustainability II: Actors and Solutions for a Sustainable Resource Management
Dr. Franz Stephan Lutter
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
10/23/23 to 11/12/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 12/14/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM EA.5.040
Thursday 12/21/23 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM EA.5.040
Thursday 01/11/24 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM EA.5.040
Thursday 01/18/24 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D4.0.019
Thursday 01/25/24 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM EA.5.040
Thursday 02/01/24 01:00 PM - 05:00 PM D1.1.074


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 (order of units can still change slightly):

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: Business performance

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

Part II: Field trip to Boutiquehotel Stadthalle - Attention: class ends in the 15th district.


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

  • Open questions on take-home exam
  • Group simulation
  • Feedback and evaluation
  • Movie
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

Participants are expected to (1) be motivated, interested and prepared, (2) participate actively in class, (3) respect WU’s codex of honour, especially with regard to plagiarism.

  • Group work / "Dragons' Den" (30%)
  • Take-home exam (25%)
  • Field trip report (20%)
  • Individual learn activities (10%)
  • Debate (10%)
  • Participation (5%)

A contribution to each criterion is obligatory for an overall positive grade.
Missing more than one class will negatively affect the overall grade.
Grading can be followed in the Learn gradebook.

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

The particpation in "Elective: Economy and Sustainability I: Concepts and Trends of Natural Resource Use" is prerequisite to particpate in this course.

Registration during the registration period is based on the "first-come, first-served principle". If you have a valid course enrolment but cannot attend this course, please unsubscribe ideally during the enrolment period to enable other students to participate.

If there is a waiting list to register for the course, students will be assigned potential free slots after the registration deadline - provided that they do not yet have a valid registration for another course.

Attending the first class is a prerequisite to participate in the course.

Students from the waiting list can attend the first class to see if other students cancelled at the last moment. Free slots will be assigned following strictly the order of the waiting list.


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Recommended previous knowledge and skills

Elective - Transforming the economy towards sustainability I

Last edited: 2023-08-30