Université catholique de Louvain
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assignment Level : Intermediate
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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Key information

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verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 32 hours in total

About the content

Driven by global crises in financial, economic, and governance systems, companies all over the world devote massive resources to their corporate social responsibility (CSR). But what is CSR? What does it mean, and what does it involve? Do stakeholders really care, and if they do, how should companies communicate with them? In uncertain modern climates, CSR is a crucial driving force of a (r)evolution in business.

If you are interested in the relationship between business and society, this course is for you! It is especially relevant for industry, public policy, and academic professionals working on CSR, as well as students following a traditional business curriculum who are interested in key value questions. The content is also accessible for consumers who are curious about how to make informed decisions while pursuing their own well-defined, long-term, responsible consumption goals.

This course addresses CSR in two ways:

  • As a reflection of corporate self-awareness
  • As a source of innovation and a means to deal with heightened competitiveness, demands for sustainable development, and shifts in international governance
By presenting insights from CSR experts, from both academia and practice, this course provides a way for managers, consumers, and citizens to acquire in-depth insights and critical perspectives on companies’ CSR activities and communications. The multi-industry case study structure of this course enables participants to confront the challenges facing today’s managers as they seek to develop and communicate their own CSR initiatives. Dedicated discussion forums also are available for participants to present personalized CSR cases.
To help participants manage and communicate about CSR with various internal and external stakeholders, this course seeks to: 
  • Support current and future business leaders in their efforts to make responsible leadership, sustainable production, and consumption central to their corporate vision.  
  • Help citizens to function more effectively as informed watchdogs and responsible consumers. 
  • Understand the multidimensional nature and content of corporate social responsibility
  • Adopt a critical perspective on managerial practices related to societal issues
  • Stimulate and manage impactful changes in organizations, toward more responsible postures
  • Reconcile multiple stakeholders’ interests (and understand the importance of doing so), into a clear, persuasive, smart action and communication plan
  • Recognize the risks of CSR washing, as well as the opportunities related to a strong CSR communication strategy

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Prerequisite

  • No prior knowledge is required.
  • Students who are unfamiliar with business concepts and language might have more difficulty understanding certain notions.

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Syllabus

Becoming familiar with CSR
  • What is the purpose of a company?
  • What is CSR?
  • What are the differences between CSR and the concept of shared value creation?
  • Who are stakeholders?
  • How can we identify relevant stakeholders and their expectations?
  • What are some criticisms of CSR?
Implementing CSR
  • How should companies implement CSR?
  • What are some success factors and obstacles to CSR implementation?
  • What is the role of stakeholder dialogue?
  • What is the value of CSR for business?
Communicating CSR
  • Why, or why not, should companies communicate about their CSR?
  • Which channels of communication should they use?
  • When should they communicate?
  • What are some recommendations about the content of the CSR message?
  • What is CSR-washing?
  • Which recommendations exist for a credible CSR communication?
 Reporting CSR
  • What are the frameworks available in terms of CSR reporting?
  • What is the current state of legislation?
  • How can we assess the quality of a CSR report?
Impacting consumers
  • In what conditions does CSR affect consumers?
  • Who are the “responsible” consumers?
  • What are the barriers to responsible consumption?
  • What drives responsible consumption?
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Intructors

Valérie Swaen
Professor, Corporate Social Responsibility and Marketing
Université catholique de Louvain

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Content designer

The creation of Universities as an institution was one of the best things to come out of the Middle Ages. The institution's commitment to extending the boundaries of human knowledge, transmitting this knowledge, and thereby increasing the humanity of the human race has kept it at the forefront of civilization in the 21st century. The Université catholique de Louvain has played a part in this process with pride since 1425.

But above all, UCL's mission to be a great European university is directed towards the future. It takes in teachers, researchers and students from far and wide and the need for strict quality control has never been higher. The internationalization of tertiary education brings new challenges. Inspired by a long history of welcoming others, the university campuses are developing into living communities.

UCL is a microcosm of the world it serves. It is a centre of knowledge and innovation, a place of cultural celebration and invention, of achievement and extending the limits of human accomplishment.

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