ECON3323 Business and the Environment

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Natural Resource Management major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Management and Commerce
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
Why does industry pollute so much? Can it pollute less? Does it want to? Businesses vary greatly, from the model firm leading in sustainable business practices to the heavy polluter that seems to go only for the quick buck. How can you explain such diversity? Is it just because some are 'good guys' and others 'bad guys', or is there more to it? This unit addresses these questions and asks: (1) Under what conditions will a business want to improve its management of the environment? (2) How can government and society effectively encourage businesses to want to do better?

Accordingly, this unit has two parts. Part 1 examines how market forces, government and society interact with a business and influence its management of the environment, and introduces students to the tools allowing them to evaluate and compare a business's environmental management performance: environmental accounting and reporting; environmental investment and finance; environmental risk and insurance; environmental management systems; and life-cycle assessment. Students use these tools (in tutorials) to evaluate the performance of a specific industry of their choice, in any field of activity. Part 2 then focuses more specifically on two companies of choice within the chosen industry and studies how external and internal drivers can explain the companies' environmental management. Students can liaise with the Chief Environment Officer, and guest speakers from industry are invited to come and share their experience with the students. Students in this unit have various backgrounds: Science, Engineering, Business and also Arts (business ethics).
Students are able to (1) critically analyse environmental management practices of private businesses; (2) use and interpret a variety of environmental management decision tools; and (3) demonstrate understanding of key concepts and tools for analysing environmental management by business.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) project; (2) online quizzes; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Steven Schilizzi
Unit rules
ECON2224 Environmental Economics 2
ECON2105 Rise of the Global Economy
ECON2233 Microeconomics: Policy and Applications
ECON2234 Macroeconomics: Policy and Applications
ECON2245 Business Economics
PLNG2203 Environmental Policy and Planning
PLNG2201 Geographies of Economic Development
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week

Lesourd, J-B. and Schilizzi, S. The Environment in Corporate Management: New Directions and Economic Insights: Edward Elgar Publishing 2001, 2003*

An additional reference book is:

Brueckner, M. The Business with the Environment: a Different Reader, 2nd edn: Cengage Learning 2011

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.