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Online course

Make an Impact: Sustainability for Professionals

Find out how to integrate a sustainable development strategy into your company with this free online course.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Make an Impact: Sustainability for Professionals

Why join the course?

This free online course will cover the basic definitions and history of sustainable development and sustainability in business - from a niche interest to the present day.

We’ll find out how and why businesses now routinely incorporate sustainable development, via corporate social responsibility policies, product innovation and new business models.

Explore the key drivers to sustainability

We’ll explore the key drivers to sustainability: the use of standards; the importance of stakeholder engagement; governance (including the use of codes of conduct); innovation for sustainability; the use of metrics and indicators; and the application of management tools.

We’ll also touch on international perspectives towards sustainable development and how these impact on business activities around the world.

Influence sustainable development in your own company

The course will help you assess each topic in relation to your own business experiences, whatever sector interests you and wherever in the world you’re based. We’ll explore how you can use your personal interests to influence sustainable development in your company.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsWelcome to the University of Bath, one of Britain's leading universities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsOur campus brings together academic expertise, with a wide range of international, industrial, academic, and stakeholder partners to carry out world changing research in sustainable development.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsOur research is making a real difference to the way we live our lives. Our engineers are exploring new ways of fuelling our future, from hydrogen storage, to the development of more efficient engines.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 secondsOur architects are changing the way we live, creating low cost homes from innovative materials that look great, are healthy to live in, and use less energy to keep warm.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 secondsOur scientists are developing better solar panels, and creating bio diesel from algae grown in the city's famous Roman baths.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 secondsWe are also influencing sustainability policy, from contributing to national environmental politics, to broadening the understanding of corporate social responsibility.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsHaving a sustainability strategy is becoming more and more important for all businesses today. For some organisations, it's now part of their overall strategy to stay ahead and to improve their market share. Others are pushed into it through business requirements.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsMy name is Dr Emma Patterson, and I'm the lead tutor of this course. I hope you'll join us to discover more about sustainability, and how you can make a difference to your own organisation. We don't expect any previous experience, just a willingness to actively take part.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 secondsOver six weeks we'll explore topics such as key drivers for sustainability, the importance of stakeholder engagement, and innovation for sustainability.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 secondsYou'll be hearing ideas from University of Bath's sustainability researchers, and from industry professionals. We'll also be encouraging you to put forward your own ideas, and to be involved in group discussions with your fellow learners. Our researchers here at the University of Bath are setting a new path for the future, creating a more sustainable world. Join us. Develop your awareness of sustainability issues, and use your new knowledge to develop a sustainability strategy for your own organisation.

What topics will you cover?

  • What is sustainability and why is it important?
  • Key drivers for sustainability
  • Getting on and staying on track
  • Innovation for sustainability
  • How are we doing?
  • Be the change

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain where the concept of sustainability comes from and describe how humans are at the centre of sustainable development issues
  • Explain how individual attitudes influence drivers, the way policy motivates behaviour and be able to recognise key drivers in business for putting sustainability on the agenda
  • Describe stakeholder engagement strategies and identify appropriate strategies for managing sustainability
  • Describe patterns and scale of technology and business innovation
  • Identify key standards, define metrics and indicators and apply a range of environmental assessment tools
  • Explore how, as an individual, you can influence organisations and society

Who is the course for?

No previous subject knowledge is required. You will be asked to get involved throughout the course, giving you the opportunity to think deeply about the topics covered and relate the teaching to your own experiences.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Emma Emanuelsson

I am the Lead Tutor of the 'Make an Impact- Sustainability for professionals' course.

Who developed the course?

The University of Bath is one of the UK’s leading universities both in terms of research and our reputation for excellence in teaching, learning and graduate prospects.