AC342      Half Unit
Accounting, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Julia Morley (MAR 3.22), Dr Xi Li (MAR 3.40) and Dr Aneesh Raghunandan (MAR 3.39)


This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, BSc in Economics and Diploma in Accounting and Finance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course seeks to provide an introduction to the key issues that are emerging on the ‘extended’ role of accounting in society. AC342 considers the broader accountability framework of businesses, and related environmental and social accounting issues. Major concepts and practices relating to sustainability and societal responsibility such as the “triple-bottom-line” considerations of financial viability, environmental accountability and social responsibility, will be discussed and critically assessed. The course also examines the complexities that characterise the relationships between accounting, organisations and society, and between shareholders and a wide range of stakeholders. The course takes a broad approach to the role of accounting and provides students with valuable insights, aided by real-life examples and case studies, on the issues of organisational sustainability and (corporate) social responsibility.

The course aims to develop students’ knowledge of the relationships between accounting and society. Specifically, and crucially, it aims to provide students with critical awareness of the accountabilities and responsibilities of organisations and those involved in their viability and legitimacy, either as managers or investors, regulators or overseers, and the role of accounting in securing such accountability and responsibility.


30 hours of seminars in the LT.

Comprising 10 weeks of twice-weekly 1.5 hour sessions.  There will be a reading week in week 6. 

Formative coursework

The course invites students to critically reflect on recent developments in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability accounting and comment on the correlated documents such as corporate reports and programmes, press releases, experts’ opinions. Some issues are tackled through case studies. 

Students are expected to contribute to discussions in each session.

Indicative reading

No one book covers the entire syllabus. In addition to professional and academic journals, reading will cover the following:

  • Bellucci, M. and Manetti, G. (2018) Stakeholder Engagement and Sustainability Reporting (Finance, Governance and Sustainability), Routledge;
  • Henriques, A. (2007) Corporate Truth: The Limits to Transparency, Earthscan, Taylor & Francis;
  • Hopwood, A., Unerman, J. and Fries, J. (2010) Accounting for Sustainability: Practical Insights, Earthscan;
  • Laine, M., Tregidga, H. and Unerman, J. (2021) Sustainability Accounting and Accountability (3rd ed.), Routledge;
  • Rendtorff, J.D. (2019) Philosophy of Management and Sustainability: Rethinking Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in Sustainable Development, Routledge.

Students will also be referred to relevant examples of corporate and other reports, and websites. Detailed course programmes and reading lists will be distributed at the first lecture of the course.


Coursework (60%) in the period between LT and ST.
Group project (40%) in the LT.

Assessment consists of two components:

  • One group project (40%): to be submitted during the Lent Term, and
  • One individual assessment (60%): to be submitted during the week before the start of Summer Term.

Further details of all aspects of assessment and coursework, as well as feedback, will be made available on Moodle nearer the scheduled start time of the course and will be updated as the course progresses with specific instructions, guidance, and feedback.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills