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Students are required to complete three pieces of assessed work. Two are undertaken on an individual basis and the third in a small group of five to eight students. Supervisors are allocated to support these assignments, with scheduled supervisions at each workshop and virtual supervisor inputs throughout the programme.

Analysis Paper (3,000 words)

The Analysis Paper takes the form of a detailed, critical analysis of a sustainability challenge or opportunity, culminating in clear strategic recommendations for a specific organisation on what needs to be addressed. 

The sustainability challenge or opportunity should be relevant and material (important) for both the organisation and for key external stakeholders i.e. it should aim to contribute to positive change for sustainability beyond the organisation. There should be a ‘business case’ for responding, which could include direct benefit for the organisation (eg increased resilience of market access), as long as it is also expected to result in wider social and/or environmental benefits. 

The analysis makes use of relevant conceptual frameworks and theories, supported by current thinking in the field, benchmarking and practical examples.

During the interview stage of admissions, applicants will be asked to elaborate on their initial ideas for their sustainability challenge or opportunity. 

Strategic Action Plan (3,000 words)

The Strategic Action Plan is about developing a practical plan for student’s organisation’s and how to implement action in response to a particular sustainability challenge/opportunity. It starts with selecting one or more of the recommendations from the Analysis Paper and identifying a key strategic aim(s).

The plan may apply to the entire organisation or a component of the organisation (eg a business unit) and includes a level of supporting detail, including identification of key risks and mitigating factors.  It is supported by a sound written rationale based on understanding the organisational and wider context, and existing literature and cases.  


Group Project (7,000 words)

In parallel with the individual assignments, students work in groups to develop an original piece of research that draws upon the group’s collective experience on a sustainability topic of mutual interest.

The project must be based on primary/original research. This means that the project work should involve collecting and/or analysing quantitative or qualitative data, and not just reviewing existing knowledge and literature. With the help of a supervisor, each group decides how to approach the project and then develops the ideas and content. Students must be willing to work collaboratively, share ideas generously and contribute to the fullest extent.


Examples of Group Project Research


Collaboration for a closed-loop value chain is a study undertaken and authored by a group of employees from Jaguar Land Rover and Novelis working together on the PCSB Value Chains stream. Read more about this collaborative project from one of the authors.

Using Rewards to Achieve an Organization's Sustainability Objectives documents separate, but complementary, research projects conducted by PCSB Organisational stream students and Master’s students at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute.




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More information 

Certificate course overview

Who should apply?

Admission requirements

Funding opportunities

Learning approach and time commitment



Value chain stream

What is a value chain?

Value chain stream: Curriculum

Value chain Supervisors


Organisational stream

Organisational stream: Curriculum

Organisational stream Supervisors


Student blogs

Employer benefits and information

Frequently asked questions


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