Social Enterprise and Sustainable Development

Social Enterprise and Sustainable Development

This course provides students with a reading for their critical analysis of firm behavior vis- à-vis its main stakeholders.

Centre d’Economie Sociale (CES), University of Liege, Belgium

The economic and financial crisis, the growing inequality and the prospects of climate change are arguing for a fundamental change in the economic system. Through their activities and the choices they make, some enterprises are more directly inspiring for this transition. They are called “social enterprises”. They fit totally in the perspective of sustainable development when they feature, sometimes as a priority, the social and environmental concerns in their economic objectives. This is usually expressed in their interactions with their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, consumers, financiers, civil society, etc..)

 Goals of the course:

  • Understanding the diversity of business,
  • Learning the basic paradigm of transition
  • Conduct a critical reflection on the conduct of the business in respect of its stakeholders,
  • Introduce students to innovative practices of social enterprises.

Prerequisites and co-requisites/ Recommended optional programme components:  

  • A lecture on general political economy and, if possible, a course of micro-economic analysis and economic affairs.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face; distance-learning):

The course is organized into two parts. The first part of the course recalls the theoretical rationale of the entreprises and justify the great diversity that exists in this field (private, public, SMEs, large companies, multinationals, with profit or social purposes) . This part also describes the conceptual and theoretical foundations of sustainable development and transition. The second part is devoted to the analysis of relationships between enterprises and their key stakeholders. The analysis is complemented by cases presented by students.


Sybille Mertens

For more information about this course, click here.

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