LAW08017 0000 Business Sustainability and Human Rights

General Details

Full Title
Business Sustainability and Human Rights
Transcript Title
Business and Human Rights
N/A %
Subject Area
LAW - Law
SOCS - Social Sciences
08 - NFQ Level 8
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
0000 - The Beginning of Time
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Breda McTaggart, Esther Quinn, Dr. Leonard Taylor
Programme Membership
SG_GLAWB_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Law and Business

This module will provide the learner with a comprehensive and critical engagement with Business sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility and human rights in business practice. Modern business is defined by various responsibilities, which today include being socially and environmentally responsible, sustainable and ethical. Therefore, the demand made on contemporary business is not alone to be the best in the world but also the best for the world. Learners will acquire the theories, analytical expertise, and ethical tools, to respond to a growing array of engagements in this field. Topics may including for example environmental law, ethical investment, sustainable development, global supply chains, due diligence, and UN Guiding Principles on Business and human rights. Learners will engage with processes of accountability and benchmarking strategies to integrate processes of good Governance and CSR into their everyday commercial practice.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Critically explore the emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in the commercial and business domain.


Evaluate national and international law's regulatory frameworks on Business and human rights


Critically examine the role of environmental law and business in Ireland


Appraise developments in Sustainability, CSR and human rights in practice, identifying and evaluating best practice

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The teaching and learning strategy is one which is founded on student-centred active learning. The module is designed to accommodate blended learning.  Assessments may include Case studies, Quizzes, Exam etc. A range of Computer-Aided Learning (CALL) packages are available to support this module (e.g. Moodle, Adobe Connect, Panopto, Teams).

Module Assessment Strategies

Students will participate actively in their own learning and have the opportunity to reflect on their learning progress through continuous assessment which will contribute 40% of the overall mark. This may involve a final project which will consist of designing a business CSR strategy, or writing a report on the human rights compliance of a company, or as a case study evaluating the global benchmarking of a business. Throughout the process of developing and creating the final project feedback will be provided during tutorial periods. The final project will be 60% of the overall mark and must be passed to progress.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment may involve a project or examination.  Assessments will be in the same format or varied where appropriate.

Indicative Syllabus

  1. Critically explore and evaluate the emergence of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability in the commercial and business domain.
    1. History of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability.
    2. International standards for CSR, e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goals.
    3. The EU and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability.
    4. ISO 26000, and various national metrics to benchmark CSR.
    5. International codes of conduct.
  2. Examine national and international law regulatory frameworks on Business and human rights.
    1. The human rights architecture.
    2. The UN Guiding Principles, and International Standards.
    3. The role of the ILO, and UN Bodies in regulating business and human rights.
    4. EU and National legal mechanisms i.e. due diligence legislation, Mandatory disclosures.
    5. Business accountability and effective remedies.
  3. Environmental law and business in Ireland
    1. Examine the core concepts that inform environmental law eg The Paris Agreement.
    2. The role of Irish and international environmental agencies and organisations.
    3. Ireland's climate policy and legislation.
    4. Climate smart solutions for business.
    5. ESG's and environmental standards and goals.
  4. Appraise developments in Sustainability, CSR and human rights in practice, identifying and evaluating best practice. Issues may include:
    1. Globalisation and global supply chains.
    2. Natural resources and GMO's.
    3. Ethical and green investment.
    4. Modern slavery.
    5. Stakeholder and community engagement.
    6. Gender, and minority rights.
    7. Taxation and tax justice.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Project plan presentation and brief Project Group Project 15 % Week 4 1,2,4
2 Individual work on Case studies, Quizes, Exam, Brief writing, Other Continuous Assessment Assessment 30 % Week 7 1,3
3 Final Project Report and presentation Project Group Project 55 % End of Semester 1,2,4

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Tutorial Flat Classroom Tutorial 1 Weekly 1.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Self Directed learning 4 Weekly 4.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2019-02 Corporate Social Responsibility
ISBN 0198797753 ISBN-13 9780198797753

The most trusted and applied textbook on corporate social responsibility; both critical in approach and contemporary in coverage.

Required Reading
2019-08-31 International Human Rights Law Cambridge University Press
ISBN 9781108463560 ISBN-13 1108463568

Fully updated to cover topics such as climate change, trade and business activities, while retaining the original style and structure.

Recommended Reading
2018-03-01 Principles of International Environmental Law Cambridge University Press
ISBN 1108431127 ISBN-13 9781108431125

This new and fully updated edition of Principles of International Environmental Law offers a comprehensive and critical account of one of the fastest growing areas of international law: the principles and rules relating to environmental protection. Introducing the reader to the key foundational principles, governance structures and regulatory techniques, Principles of International Environmental Law explores each of the major areas of international environmental regulation through substantive chapters, including climate change, atmospheric protection, oceans and freshwater, biodiversity, chemicals and waste regulation. The ever-increasing overlap with other areas of international law is also explored through examination of the inter-linkages between international environmental law and other areas of international regulation, such as trade, human rights, humanitarian law and investment law. Incorporating the latest developments in treaty and case law for key areas of environmental regulation, this text is an essential reference and textbook for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, academics and practitioners of international environmental law.

Recommended Reading
2018-06-07 International Environmental Law Cambridge University Press
ISBN 1108438113 ISBN-13 9781108438117

International Environmental Law offers a concise, conceptually clear, and legally rigorous introduction to contemporary international environmental law and practice. The book covers all major environmental agreements, paying particular attention to their underlying structure, main legal provisions, and practical operation. It blends legal and policy analysis, making extensive reference to the jurisprudence and scholarship, and addressing the interconnections with other areas of international law, including human rights, humanitarian law, trade and foreign investment. The material is structured into four sections - foundations, substantive regulation, implementation, and influence on other areas of international law - which help the reader to navigate the different areas of international environmental law. Each chapter includes charts summarising the main components of the relevant legal frameworks and provides a detailed bibliography. Suitable for practicing and academic international lawyers who want an accessible, up-to-date introduction to contemporary international environmental law, as well as non-lawyers seeking a concise and clear understanding of the subject.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

David Crowther, Shahla Seifi, Abdul Moyeen 2017-07-30 The Goals of Sustainable Development Springer

Andreas Rasche, Mette Morsing, Jeremy Moon 2017-03-23 Corporate Social Responsibility Cambridge University Press.

James Weber, David M. Wasieleski 2018-05-14 Corporate Social Responsibility Emerald Group Publishing.

Baumann-Pauly, D. and J. Nolan. Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice: Taylor & Francis, 2016

Spence, L. J., Frynas, J. G., Muthuri, J. N. and Navare, J. (2018) Research Handbook on Small Business Social Responsibility: Global Perspectives. Edward Elgar Publishing Limitedva, S. and D. Bilchitz. Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours: Cambridge University Press, 2017

Bernaz, N. (2016) Business and Human Rights: History, Law and Policy - Bridging the Accountability Gap. Taylor & Francis

Surya Deva (Editor), David Birchall (2020) Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business (Research Handbooks in Human Rights series) Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd  

Surya Deva (2013) Regulating Corporate Human Rights Violations: Humanizing Business (Routledge Research in Human Rights Law) Routledge.

Journal Resources

Business Ethics Quarterly

Business and Human Rights Journal

European Journal of International Law

URL Resources

UN OHCHR - Business and human rights

Business and Human Rights Centre

Institute for Human Rights and Business

Danish Institute for Human Rights