Academic Year 2022/2023

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Forli
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Economics and business (cod. 9202)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide students with understanding of the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) compliance standards elaborated by different organizations, the reasons for the “social responsibility” of business and the evolution of this idea. During the classes the system of binding and voluntary systems for ESG compliance will be explained, with the particular focus on the UN and OECD standards. Different systems of international certification will be considered. During practical classes the students will be engaged in a debate on the famous Milton Friedman’s article “The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits”. Working in groups the students will be asked to evaluate the success of ESG compliance of the key MNEs, analyze the impact of voluntary certification on a given business and on protection of labour rights (eg. Fair Wear, Better Work, Fairtrade, SA8000 etc.) At the end of the course students will be able to: understand the reasons of ESG reporting; be aware of hard and soft law instruments on this issue; deal with ESG compliance standards.

Course contents

Introduction. Determining the notions: CSR, due diligence and ESC compliance.

1. Why ESG?

1.1. The history of ILO standards and human rights.

1.2. The raise of public concern over responsible conduct of business: ILO MNE Declaration, OECD Guidelines, UN Business and Human rights principles and Sustainable development goals.

2. What is understood under Environmental, Social and Governance factors?

2.2. Climate change, waste management and pollution prevention

2.3. Forced labour

2.4. Labour standards and occupational health and safety

2.5. Internal controls, board governance and business ethics.

3. What does reporting mean, what are the types of reporting?

3.3 Compulsory and voluntary reporting. National laws on due diligence.

3.4. The EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive and a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

3.5. The engagement of international stock markets in the promotion of ESG compliance.

4. How to measure compliance? Who measures compliance?

4.1. The role of the Big Four accounting firms.

4.2. The EU Commission guidelines on non-financial reporting. The role of US Securities and Exchange Commission in ESG compliance.

4.3. Voluntary systems of certification and promotion of ESG compliance: ISO 26000, SA8000, Fair Wear, Better Work, Fairtrade.


Albitar, Khaldoon, et al. "ESG disclosure and firm performance before and after IR: The moderating role of governance mechanisms." International Journal of Accounting & Information Management (2020).

Alkaraan, Fadi, et al. "Corporate transformation toward Industry 4.0 and financial performance: The influence of environmental, social, and governance (ESG)." Technological Forecasting and Social Change 175 (2022): 121423.

Alston, Philip. "‘Core labour standards’ and the transformation of the international labour rights regime." European Journal of International Law 15.3 (2004): 457-521.

Baraibar-Diez, Elisa, and María D Odriozola. "CSR committees and their effect on ESG performance in UK, France, Germany, and Spain." Sustainability 11.18 (2019): 5077.

Bernd Waas, The “S” in ESG and international labour standards, International Journal of Disclosure and Governance (2021) 18:403–410

Folqué, Maria, Elena Escrig‐Olmedo, and Teresa Corzo Santamaría. "Sustainable development and financial system: Integrating ESG risks through sustainable investment strategies in a climate change context." Sustainable Development 29.5 (2021): 876-890.

Frey, Diane F. "Economic growth, full employment and decent work: The means and ends in SDG 8." The International Journal of Human Rights 21.8 (2017): 1164-1184.

Gillan, Stuart L., Andrew Koch, and Laura T. Starks. "Firms and social responsibility: A review of ESG and CSR research in corporate finance." Journal of Corporate Finance 66 (2021): 101889.

Liu, Tingting, et al. "Developing a Framework for Assessing the readiness of Entities in the construction Industry in Addressing Modern Slavery." Sustainable Production and Consumption (2022).

Pollman, Elizabeth. "Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG, and Compliance." Forthcoming, Cambridge Handbook of Compliance (D. Daniel Sokol & Benjamin van Rooij eds.), Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Legal Studies Research Paper 2019-35 (2019).

Servais, Jean-Michel. "International labour standards and corporate social responsibility." Confronting globalization (2005): 21-35.

Winegarden, Wayne. "Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing: An Evaluation of the Evidence." Pacific Research Institute (2019).

Yeoh, Peter. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Laws, Regulations and Practices in the Digital Era. Wolters Kluwer, 2022.

Teaching methods

The course comprises 26 hours of lectures and 14 hours of practical classes. The students are involved in the class discussion during the lectures, practical classes will consist of group project work, participation in the debate and preparing the reports. 

Assessment methods

The final grade will be calculated in the following way:

  • 70% on the result of the written test (maximum 70 points)
  • 30% on class presentations and preparation for the practical classes (maximum 30 points, each practical task is worth 10 points maximum). 

Teaching tools

PPT presentations, reading material,films and videos proposed in the watch list sent to the students before the lectures and practical classes.

Office hours

See the website of Elena Sychenko


No poverty Decent work and economic growth Responsible consumption and production Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.