Environmental transition and business ethics


The T3E course aims to provide the conceptual, regulatory and methodological foundations for an initial approach to the issues and implementation of the environmental and ethical transformation of companies.  Organised in the form of a week-long immersive seminar, the course brings in experts from different backgrounds (academia, consulting, business) specialising in the fields concerned and involves students in practical work and a final project.

Teaching and Learning Methods: 

The course is organised in the form of an immersive seminar that keeps students busy over the course of a week. Each session is organised around a specific theme tackled from a theoretical and empirical perspective with experts in the field (teacher-researchers, consultants/trainers, CSR managers). The sessions use a mixed teaching and learning format, based on alternating lectures and active methods (collaborative workshops, case studies, simulations, field surveys). A project applying knowledge to a concrete case must be carried out in groups and presented to a jury.
Course Policies: Attendance and punctuality at all course sessions are compulsory. The practical work associated with each session is also compulsory and will be marked. Laptops or tablets may be used for note-taking and practical work.

  • Draetta Laura (2006), " ‘On n'est pas des repris de justice !’ Pour une sociologie de l'environnementalisme industriel", in Rosé J.-J. (ed.), Responsabilité sociale de l'entreprise. Pour un nouveau contrat social, De Boeck pages 335-364.
  • Monnin A., Bonnet E. et Landivar D. (2019), ”What does the anthropocene to organizations ?”, Colloque EGOS, Edinburgh, 10 pages.
  • Savall H., Péron M., Zardet V. and Bonnet M. (2019), Socially Responsible Capitalism and Management, Routledge, 150 pages.
  • Voyant, O., Bonnet, M., Tabchoury, P. and Datry, F. (2017), "Contribution of the socio-economic management control to steering balanced and sustainable company overall performance", Society and Business Review, Vol. 12 No. 2, pages 216-234. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBR-11-2016-0067
  • Film The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw
  • Film The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6faXjs24Tos
  • Video on Digital Sobriety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dUUNXf4jPg


The climate mural.


The already brutal consequences of climate change and the financial scandals that have rocked the world of multinationals in recent decades have illustrated the importance for contemporary business of transforming its socio-economic model and renewing its culture and behaviour. In order to respond to the growing pressure exerted by a changing world and by an ever-increasing number of stakeholders (legislators, regulators, shareholders, suppliers and customers, but also employees, future recruits, consumers and civil society), it is no longer simply a question of decarbonising activities by reducing energy consumption, or producing speeches on ethics to (give the impression of) acting responsibly. A paradigm shift is needed: implementing new forms of socially responsible capitalism that integrate environmental protection, employee well-being, integrity and transparency with stakeholders as factors in value creation.

Environmental transformation and ethical transformation are emerging as new frameworks for action by contemporary companies. Integrating them into its management methods and production and work processes is a way for the company to improve its attractiveness, enhance its brand image and solidify the support and commitment of its employees, but above all it is a way for the company to evolve in harmony with the social world of which it is a part. There are also legal issues at stake, as the laws and regulations governing industrial environmentalism and business ethics are multiplying at both national and international level, becoming increasingly restrictive.

Aimed at first-year students, the T3E course aims to provide the conceptual, regulatory and methodological foundations needed for an initial approach to the environmental and ethical transformation of companies. These fundamentals cover both business management (e.g. CSR-RSO, sustainable development, environmental management, ecological redirection, business ethics) and the responsible design of products and services (e.g. eco-design, ethics-by-design).

To reinforce their skills, students will be given role-playing situations and case studies of companies that have taken exemplary action in terms of industrial environmentalism or business ethics. By analysing the leadership and management styles of these companies, as well as their practices, students will be able to approach the ways in which environmental protection and ethical commitment are practised by multinationals and SMEs (a space is devoted to testimonials from CSR managers from different organisations). A sustainable performance project, formalising and applying the knowledge acquired during the sessions, is carried out in groups and presented to a jury at the end of the course.

Programme: 2023/2024

Session 1: Is socially responsible capitalism possible?

  • The challenges of CSR and Business Ethics
  • CSR vs CSR in organisational theory
  • The socio-economic approach to management vs. performance indicators
  • Practical work: Implementation in the semester project

Session 2: What could companies in a low-carbon society look like in 2050?

  • Carbon footprint, current global trajectory, international, national and local targets.
  • Calculate your own carbon footprint
  • International strategies and the Paris climate agreements
  • What is being done at national level? The French case with the National Low Carbon Strategy
  • Application to businesses: Carbon footprints, transition plans and sector strategies

Session 3: Why transform society and business rather than just transition?

  • Current trajectory: the great acceleration. State of the Earth system, human ecological footprint, biocapacity, 9 planetary limits... 
  • An alternative trajectory? Why are current indicators failing?
  • An attempt to change the system: The donut theory. Regenerative and distributive economics
  • TP 1: identification and presentation of business cases; Your role in the transformation; theory of the social tipping point
  • Practical exercise 2: Projecting the future role of students as professionals, consumers and citizens

Session 4: Taking action (I)

  • CSR/RSO in practice: company case studies
  • Workshop 1 sustainable performance project

Session 5: Taking action (II)

  • Digital Fresco
  • CSR/RSO in practice: testimonial from an organisation
  • Workshop 2 Sustainable performance project II

Session 6: Taking action (III)

  • Project presentations to a panel of judges

Learning outcomes: The T3E course is part of a general objective to train responsible engineers who are in tune with the major issues facing companies today in a world that is undergoing a massive ecological transition. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the major issues involved in the ecological and ethical transformation of companies
  • Master the key concepts involved in thinking about the interactions between natural systems and socio-economic systems
  • Mobilise the conceptual, regulatory and methodological foundations of CSR-RSO
  • Develop a critical reading of contemporary capitalism
  • Draw up typologies of industrial environmentalism and business ethics, and assess their modalities in terms of strengths/weaknesses and opportunities/constraints for companies
  • Master the levers of responsible and sustainable change within companies
  • Develop their capacity for analysis, reflection, problematisation and argumentation
  • Develop an applied change or sustainable performance project

Nb hours: 24.00


  • Continuous assessment on MCQs, and problem sessions (50% of the final grade)
  • Project (50% of the final grade).