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Assignments

Participants 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 people. Tutors are allocated to support these assignments, with face-to-face tutorials at each workshop and at least three virtual tutor inputs to support the completion of these assignments.

 

“Fantastic programme with a good mix of academic and practitioner presentations and workshops. The individual and group research studies really allow us to go deep into the subjects that we chose to develop in a structured manner.”

Helene Lanctuit, Nestlé Research Centre, PCSVC 2016

 

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 ie 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. It culminates in clear strategic recommendations for a specific organisation on what needs to be addressed.  

 

Strategic Action Plan (3,000 words)


The Strategic Action Plan is about developing a practical plan for your organisation about how to implement action in response to your 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, participants work in small groups of 5–8 to develop an original piece of research that draws upon the group’s collective experience on a sustainability topic of mutual interest. It can take the form of a research paper, or a proposed model/tool with recommendations for its use.

Whichever form the final report takes, the project must be based upon 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 an expert Tutor, each group decides how to approach the project and then develops the ideas and content.  Participants must be willing to work collaboratively, share ideas generously and contribute to the fullest extent.

 

Download examples of group project topic areas for PCSB (organisational focus)

Download examples of group project topic areas for PCSVC (value chains focus)

Download an overview of the timeline for assignment milestones over the course of the programme