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University of Toronto Mississauga Department of Geography Fall 2015



 Instructor: Len Brooks


 Phone: (905) 828-3916



 Instructor: Pierre Desrochers  

 Phone: (905) 828-5206


 Office Hours: TBA


 Lecture room: L1240





Course Objectives
Learning Outcomes
> Course Material
Instructional Approach
Academic Misconduct
Course Drop Deadline
Course Schedule

Week 1 - Introduction - Len Brooks & Pierre Desrochers
> Week 2 - Worldviews: Environmental Ethics and Sustainability (EE) - Desrochers
> Week 3 - Profitability, Externalities and Sustainability - Desrochers
> Week 4 - (Social) License to Operate: Fossil Fuels - Desrochers
> Week 5 - Race to the Bottom and Environmental Justice: Corporate location decisions - Desrochers
> Week 6 - Evolution of Business Ethics (BE) - Brooks
> Week 7 - Practical Ethical Decision Making - Brooks
> Week 8 - Corporate Governance, Strategy & Risk Management - Brooks
> Week 9 - Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability Activities & Reporting - Brooks
> Week 10 - Creating an Organizational Culture Sensitive to Sustainability - Brooks
> Week 11 - Varia: Local Food - Desrochers



This course is designed to develop an understanding of: (1) the ethics of sustainability, (2) business ethics, (3) how business views sustainability, (4) how to influence corporate strategy and decision making through business ethics, and (5) important current and future topics and issues in sustainability ethics. The focus of the course will be practical, and will build upon a historical understanding of ethical developments to offer students a perspective on current practices as well as future prospects.


Upon completion of this course, course participants will be able to:

Recognize ethical dilemmas related to sustainability,
Appreciate the opportunities and risks inherent in sustainability problems,
Make practical, defensible decisions about them,
Influence corporate decision makers to take sustainability ethics into account effectively, and
Apply ethical reasoning to sustainability dilemmas encountered in the future.


Course Material

Required textbook
Extracts from: Business & Professional Ethics for Directors, Executives & Accountants, L.J. Brooks & P. Dunn, Cengage Learning, 7e, Stamford CT, 2015.

Weekly reading list
The weekly reading list is provided beginning on page 6 of the course outline. A few texts will require you to use the library website.

Instructional Approach

This course is taught primarily through the Socratic discussion of issues, and the use of readings, cases, and videos where appropriate. Class participation will be graded. Short exercises will also be used, and students will be required to demonstrate the application of business ethics to a sustainability issue or concern in an essay assignment. The course will end with an examination of all of the topics covered.



Learning in this course will be evaluated both on group as well an individual basis as specified. In group courseworks, group members will share the same grade adjusted by peer evaluation.

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

Components of Coursework and Weights
Written Analysis of Sustainability Issue

To be assigned (Group) | Due: October 19, 2005


Application of Business Ethics Analysis

See below for details (Individual) | Due: November 16, 2015


Class Participation

In-class Contribution (Individual)








Written Analysis of a Sustainability Issue (Group)
Each group will submit a written report on a pre-assigned case that will be given in the class. A detailed discussion on case discussion, presentation and report writing will be held in the first week. A rubric for assessment will also be discussed.

Application of Business Ethics (Individual)
Students will chose a sustainability-related issue that presents an ethical dilemma for a corporation, and prepare a report that will include their ethical analysis of the issue, and how they would attempt to influence the strategy, decision making and actions of the company to recognize the problem and implement your analysis and recommendations. The issue chose must be approved in advance by Prof. Brooks. The real name of the company involved cannot be used unless authorized by Prof. Brooks.

Class Participation
Class participation requires you be present in the class each week, pre-read the cases, participate actively in lecture discussions as well as in class exercises. Class participation grades are based on quality of contribution in discussions during case lectures, case presentations and in-class exercises.

Academic Misconduct

Students should note that copying, plagiarizing, or other forms of academic misconduct will not be tolerated. Any student caught engaging in such activities will be subject to academic discipline ranging from a mark of zero on the assignment, test or examination to dismissal from the university as outlined in the academic handbook. Any student abetting or otherwise assisting in such misconduct will also be subject to academic penalties.

Students are expected to familiarize themselves with the University's Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.

Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University's use of the service are described on the web site.

Turnitin course ID number: 10444819

Any modifications to the course will be announced and explained in class.

Course Drop Deadline

For information purposes, the School of Graduate Studies deadline to drop this course without academic penalty is November 2, 2015. Please note that MScSM Program students must have the written permission of the Program Director to drop a course. Please consult with the Program Registrar if you are considering dropping a course.

Course Schedule





Wednesday, September 16

Introduction - Len Brooks & Pierre Desrochers
Objectives of the course
Resources, Readings, Cases, Exercises
Assessment - group and individual work
Assessment - participation
Methodology for Case Analysis, Presentation and Writing
What does sustainability ethics really mean?
Class Exercise: Fossil Fuels Divestment Campaign


September 23

Worldviews: Environmental Ethics and Sustainability (EE) - Desrochers
Environmental ethics: Schools of thought - overview
Economic development, standards of living and sustainability
Topical issue: Population, Consumption and Resources


September 30

Profitability, Externalities and Sustainability - Desrochers
Market failures and sustainability
Government failures and externality
Topical issue: Industrial Waste Recovery


October 7

(Social) License to Operate: Fossil Fuels - Desrochers
Historical perspective
(Realistic) alternatives
Topical issue: Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (Epstein) and Ethical Oil


October 14

Race to the Bottom and Environmental Justice: Corporate location decisions - Desrochers
Correlation and Causation
Determinant of corporate location decisions
Topical issue: Location of landfills and refineries


October 21

Evolution of Business Ethics (BE) - Brooks
Ethics & business ethics - what is involved?
Why did it develop?
What were the important milestones?
What are the key topics at the moment?
What is an ethical dilemma?
Ethical reasoning
Philosopher's contributions to ethical reasoning and behavior
Cases: Harry Potter and the Green Brigade; President's Choice Diapers;
                Deciding Who Receives the Swine Flu Vaccine;
                Daimler Settles U.S. Bribery Case for $185 Million


October 28

Practical Ethical Decision Making - Brooks
Rules of Thumb
Stakeholder Theory & Stakeholder Decision Analysis
Practical ethical decision techniques
Comprehensive ethical decisions
Cases: BetaSeron Decision (A); Ford Pinto; Bribery in China


November 4

Corporate Governance, Strategy & Risk Management - Brooks
How are corporations governed?
Why and how do corporations create strategies?
How do corporations make strategic and operation decisions?
Why are corporations interested in risk management, and why are sustainability concerns relevant?
How can you argue successfully for ethical sustainability issue treatment?
Cases: Kardell Paper Co.; Brent Spar Decommissioning Disaster;
                The Exxon Valdez; Texaco: The Ecuador Issue


November 11

Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability Activities & Reporting - Brooks
CSR/Sustainability activities
Measurement & reporting formats - GRI, etc.
Measurement & reporting challenges
Speaker: TBA
Cases: CSR Report (TBA); GRI Report (TBA)


November 18

Creating an Organizational Culture Sensitive to Sustainability - Brooks
Why bother
Organizational culture - what it is, and how it works
Cultural sensitivity to sustainability - what it means
Control & monitoring mechanisms
Whistleblowing mechanisms
How to achieve
Cases: BP's Corporate Culture; BP's Gulf Oil Spill Risk Management
                Tylenol Recalls (2010): Its Still About Reputation


November 25

Varia: Local Food - Desrochers
Historical Perspective
Claims Vs Reality
Winners and losers
Topical issue: Soil Association and Ontario


December 2




Leonard J. Brooks is Professor of Business Ethics. He is the Executive Director of the Rotman School's Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics, and Director of the University's Professional Accounting Centre, Master of Management & Professional Accounting Program, and Diploma in Investigative and Forensic Accounting Program. He has authored many articles and authored or co-authored/edited several books including Business & Professional Ethics for Directors, Executives & Accountants, 7e (2015); Ethics & Governance: Developing and Maintaining an Ethical Corporate Culture, 4e (2012); and Principles of Stakeholder Management (1999). Professor Brooks is a former Director of the Canadian Centre for Ethics & Corporate Policy, and was a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal for Business Ethics for fourteen years. He is a Faculty Associate of the University's Centre for Ethics and member of its Centre for Bioethics. His research interests include governance, business and professional ethics, risk management, ethical decision making, conflicts of interest, and developing and maintaining an ethical corporate culture. He received the 2000 Ethics in Action Award - Ongoing Social Responsibility - Individual in recognition of his leadership in the field of corporate social responsibility.

Webpages: /

Pierre Desrochers is Associate Professor of Geography. He has written a number of academic articles, books and popular columns on environmental policy issues and debates and has won a few awards for some of these, most notably an Emerald Management Reviews' award for having written the top environmental management paper and one of top fifty management articles of 2002 (selected out of 20,000 articles). His primary research interests revolve around economic development and energy, food and environmental policy.


Reading List - Week 1

Mandatory video
1. Toronto 2014. Toronto350 Promotional Video.

Mandatory readings
-- Sustainability Ethics
1. Mandel, Kyla. 2014. "Sustainability Professionals: Coming into their Own." ENDS (Environmental Data Services) (June), special section, pp.10-11.
2. Prahalad, Coimbatore Krishnarao. 2010. "Responsible Manager." Harvard Business Review (January): 88.  
3. Globerman, Steven. 2011. "The Social Responsibility of Managers: Reassessing and Integrating Diverse Perspectives." Business & Society Review 116 (4): 509-532.
4. Unruh, Gregory C. 2008. "The Biosphere Rules." Harvard Business Review 86 (2): 111.

-- Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign
5. 2015. The Fossil Fuel Industry and the Case for Divestment: Update (Executive Summary).
6. Office of the President (Harvard University). 2013. "Fossil Fuel Divestment Statement" (October 3). 

Suggested readings
1. Friedman, Milton. 1970. "The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits." (September 13). 
2. Resources on the Fossil Fuel Divestment Controversy

Reading List - Week 2

Mandatory video
1. Marris, Emma. 2011. "Rambunctious Garden trailer." 

Mandatory readings
--Environmental Ethics
1. McShane, Katie. 2009. "Environmental Ethics: An Overview." Philosophy Compass 4 (3): 407-420. 
2. Bailey, Ronald. 2011. "The Myth of Pristine Nature (Review of Emma Marris' Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World)." Reason Foundation (August 16).

--Eco Skeptics
3. Boyd, James. 2013. "The Limits to Ingenuity. Innovation as a Response to Ecological Loss." Resources (182): 41-45. 
4. ----. 2015. "Stuff: When less is More." Harvard Business Review (March). 
5. Diamond, Jared. 2008. "What's your Consumption Factor?" New York Times (January 2). 
6. Bullard, Gabe. 2015. "Data Points: We've Consumed More Than the Earth Can Produce This Year." National Geographic (August 13). 

--Techno Optimists
7. Ecomodernism. 2015. An Eco-Modernist Manifesto
8. Ausubel, Jesse H. 2015. "The Return of Nature. How Technology Liberates the Environment." The Breakthrough Journal 5 (Summer). 
9. Graham, Chelsea. 2015. "Overshoot Day Underestimates Human Ingenuity." Cato at Liberty (August 19). 

Reading List - Week 3

Mandatory videos
1. Suzuki, David. 2013. "Externalities." Resource Base Economy
2. Meiners, Roger. 2014. "How Dirty Laws Trash the Environment." Learn Liberty

Mandatory readings
1. Young, Suzanne. 2013. "Externalities." In Samuel O. Idowu, Nicholas Capaldi, Liangrong Zu, Ananda Das Gupta (eds). Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer, pp. 1121-1123.
2. Lux, Kenneth. 2003. "The Failure of the Profit Motive." Ecological Economics 44 (1): 1-9. 
3. Boyd, James. 2014. "Business Motivations for Conservation." Resources (185): 20-25. 
4. Desrochers, P. 2013. "Greed Is Green: How the Profit Motive Helps the Environment." The American (April 19).
5. Desrochers, P. and H. Shimizu. 2012. "Innovation and the greening of Alberta's oil sands" (with Hiroko Shimizu), Montreal Economic Institute (read pp. 5-19).
6. Barnett, Andy, Bruce Yandle. 2009. "The End of the Externality Revolution." Social Philosophy and Policy 26 (2): 130-150 (or full text available via ResearchGate).

Suggested readings
1. Moffatt, Mike. 2012. "David Suzuki Needs an Economics Refresher Course." The Globe and Mail (October 12). 
2. Reed, Andrew and Pierre Desrochers. 2008. "The Invisible Green Hand." Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Primer #7.

Reading List - Week 4

Mandatory videos
1. 2015. "Naomi Klein: The Leap Manifesto Is A Call For Positive Change." 
2. Democracy Now. 2015 "Naomi Klein on The Leap Manifesto & What a System of Climate and Economic Justice Looks Like." (October 5, 2012). 
3. Epstein, Alex. 2015. "Why You Should Love Fossil Fuels." Praeger University (April 20). 
4. Ridley, Matt. 2013. "Matt Ridley on How Fossil Fuels are Greening the Planet." Reason TV.

Mandatory readings
--Critics of Fossil Fuels
1. ---. 2015. The Leap Manifesto.
2. Flattau, Edward. 2015. "Fossil Fuel Immorality." Huffington Post (February 16).
3. Kenyon, Duncan and Andrew Read. 2014. "The Costs of Losing Social License." Pembina Institute (June 6).

--Defenders of Fossil Fuels
4. Goklany, Indur. 2012. "Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity." Cato Policy Analysis No. 715.
5. O'Neill, Brendan. 2014. "Hands Off the Human Footprint." Spiked! (December 17).
6. De Souza, Raymond J. 2012. "Father Raymond J. de Souza on the Oil Sands: Even more Ethical than you Thought." National Post (June 28). 

--Reality is not Optional (for Now)
7. Koningstein, Ross and David Fork. 2014. "What It Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change." IEEE Spectrum (November 18).
8. Stavins, Robert N. 2014. "Divestment Is No Substitute for Real Action on Climate Change." Environment 360 (March 20). 

--Social Licenses and Fossil Fuels
9. Yates, Brian F. and Celesa L. Horvath. 2013. "Social License to Operate: How to Get It, and How to Keep It." Pacific Energy Summit 2013.  
10. Gerson, Jen. 2014. "Rise of 'Social Licence': Claiming they Speak for their Community, Protest Groups are Undermining the Law." National Post (October 17).
11. ---. 2014. "Do Pipeline Companies need Social License?" Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (October 28).

Reading List - Week 5

Mandatory readings
1. Been, Vicki. 1994. "Locally Undesirable Land Uses in Minority Neighborhoods: Disproportionate Siting or Market Dynamics?" Yale Law Journal 103: 1383-1422.
2. Banzhaf, H. Spencer. 2008. "Environmental Justice Opportunities through Markets." Property and Environment Research Center PS-42. 
3. Fleck, Robert H. and F. Andrew Hanssen. 2007. "Do Profits Promote Pollution? The Myth of the Environmental Race to the Bottom." Property and Environment Research Center Policy Study PS-41. 

Reading List - Week 6

1. Brooks & Dunn, Chapter 1

Reading List - Week 7

1. Brooks & Dunn, Chapter 4

Reading List - Week 8

1. Brooks & Dunn, Chapter 5

Reading List - Week 9

1. Brooks & Dunn, Chapter 7: 470-481.

Reading List - Week 10

1. Brooks & Dunn, Chapter 5

Reading List - Week 11

Mandatory readings
1. Quinn, Martin. 2013. "Locally Grown/Locally Raised." In Samuel O. Idowu, Nicholas Capaldi, Liangrong Zu, Ananda Das Gupta (eds) Encyclopedia of Corporate Social Responsibility, Springer, pp. 1598-1603.
2. McWilliams, James. 2014. "Food Miles." In Paul B. Thompson, David M. Kaplan (eds.), Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, Springer, pp. 904-909.
3. McCaffrey, Sara Jane and Nancy B. Kurland. Forthcoming. "Does "Local" Mean Ethical? The U.S. "Buy Local" Movement and CSR in SMEs." Organization & Environment
4. Sexton, Steven, 2009. "Does Local Production Improve Environment and Health Outcomes?" ARE Updates 13 (2): 5-8.
5. Lusk, Jayson. 2013 "Lunch with Pigou: Externalities and the 'Hidden' Cost of Food." Agricultural and Resource Economics 42 (3): 419-435.
6. Hartley, Aidan. 2007. "Kenyan Fury at Threat to Organic Trade." The Guardian (July 15). 
7. "Environment: Should we Stop Flying in Organic Food?" The Guardian (September 6, 2007). 
8. O'Neill, Brendan. 2007. "'Buy British'? A Badly Soiled Argument." Spiked! (October 25). 
9. OMAFRA. 2015. Ontario's Local Food Report 2014-15 Edition. (June). 

Reading List - Week 12


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