The AGSM Graduate Certificate in Sustainable & Inclusive Business is a part-time program and can be completed in anywhere between 8 months to 2 years. There are 4 courses in the program, includes two core courses and two specialisation courses.

Compulsory core courses

  • This course will provide you with the foundational knowledge and skills to be a more sustainable leader, including understanding the economic, environmental and social challenges that we face and the options we need to solve them. It will help to make you a more valuable leader in your organisation and society. You’ll learn how to measure your organisation’s sustainability footprint, carry out materiality reviews and mapping to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, understand the risks of climate change and the opportunities that sustainability brings for innovation and value creation, develop a more sustainable business model and a clear vision for sustainable growth, and make more sustainable decisions. You will complete this course with a sustainable mindset and a sustainability toolkit that you can apply immediately in your organisation and your life.

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  • This course will help students understand the core concepts behind measuring and abating carbon emissions in order to achieve the science-based targets and Net Zero emissions by 2050.

    Clean energy will need to fully replace fossil fuels before 2050. McKinsey (2022) estimates this will cost an additional $3.5 trillion a year - the largest reallocation of capital in history - and will affect every country and every sector of the economy. The enormity and complexity of this challenge is creating strong and rapidly growing demand for leaders in every industry who understand the principles of decarbonisation and how an organisation can develop a realistic pathway to achieve Net Zero emissions. Regardless of the industry that students are working in, or their role in that industry, this course will help them to become more valuable leaders for their organisations and for society.

    This course incorporates a Net Positive approach to decarbonisation, identifying the unprecedented opportunities for organisations and professionals to create value in a just transition to a decarbonised economy. The scale of these opportunities is evident in New South Wales, where the formal announcement of a Renewable Energy Zone in the Hunter Valley and Central Coast Region in 2022 attracted more than $100 billion worth of proposed projects.

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Elective courses - choose two

  • This course begins with an introduction to sustainable policy and regulations, including current and emerging sustainability policy around the world, such as the USA Inflation Reduction Act (2022) and the European Union’s European Climate Law (2021), and Australia's Safeguard Mechanism and groundbreaking Modern Slavery Act, with consideration given to their potential impacts for organisations.

    Directors and Boards must understand their obligations to the long-term financial health of the organisations they govern, and therefore their requirements to manage for sustainable outcomes. In order to achieve this, organisations must understand global and national sustainability policies, and ensure that their governance structures and reporting frameworks support and enable their commitments to sustainability. This is critical to ensure that managers can operationalise and implement these sustainability commitments and for the organisation to avoid greenwashing and the risk of failing to deliver on commitments.

    The second half of this course introduces the Integrated Reporting (IR) Framework. Environment, social and governance (ESG) reporting is gaining momentum from the investment community, which is starting to expect businesses to invest in a sustainable future. While Integrated Reporting is a new way for organisations to report to the market, it will also assist organisations to apply integrated thinking to decision-making. IR results in business decisions that best utilise all available resources and relationships (not just financial capital, but also others such as human, intellectual, relationship and environmental capitals) and drive long-term enterprise value creation.

    This course also provides an overview of recent developments in business reporting (such as International Financial Reporting Standards – IFRS, International Sustainability Standards Board – ISSB, US Securities and Exchange Commission – SEC, European Financial Reporting Advisory Group – EFRAG).

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  • One of the most important ways for organisations to make progress towards their sustainability goals is to analyse their business model and their value chain. There are many options for building sustainable business models, including circular business models, shared value models and cooperative ownership models. This course will provide a framework for thinking about sustainable business models and provide examples and structures for some common approaches.

    Value chain analysis includes mapping and managing carbon emissions, but it must also include an analysis based on other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (for example Reduced Inequalities and Decent Work and Economic Growth).

    This course will provide:

    • an approach for undertaking a value chain sustainability analysis
    • examples of organisations that have created value through this type of analysis
    • a framework for thinking about sustainable business models
    • examples and structures for some other common approaches.

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  • Leading Change for Sustainability is a course designed for future leaders who are passionate about creating positive social and environmental change.

    Your ideas and passion for sustainability and resilience are just the first step. You need skills in leadership, creativity, systems thinking, communication and models for cultural change so that you can influence key decision-makers, build networks and make your idea a reality. You need an awareness of change processes and an understanding of ethics and human rights to lead sustainable change, locally and globally.

    How do you lead cultural change towards a sustainable future for all organisational types?

    How do you pursue social and environmental goals from within a multinational company or a start up?

    What are the ethical and human rights implications of cultural change?

    Sustainability has become a key driver in many organisations, from large foundations to social enterprises, not-for-profits working with government to provide services, and small to large businesses. This course explores how to create and implement sustainability strategies for different organisational types. We take a broad view of sustainability based on the Sustainable Development Goals, acknowledging the human, social, economic and environmental elements of positive cultural change. The course uses in-depth case studies and examines complex aspects of sustainability leadership faced by leaders from business, government and civil society. As a result of the learning strategies drawn upon throughout the course, you will complete the course with a broad understanding of sustainability leadership and you will be able to identify the keys to initiating and sustaining positive cultural change.

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  • COMM5701 Social Impact is the core course in the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and the MBAX (Social Impact) programs. It is highly recommended that students take COMM5701 either as their first Social Impact course (or one of the courses in their first study session that includes Social Impact courses).

    The course is an introduction to Social Impact covering fundamental concepts and key developments in what has become a complex social purpose eco-system. The course introduces an understanding of changes across what was formerly seen as a distinct social sector to examine the cross-sectoral social purpose developments that includes traditional organisational structures of Charities and Not For-Profits, Business and Government, but also new and emerging ‘hybrid’ structures and programs. The course will further explore how intractable social, economic and environmental problems embedded in society are being addressed through social innovation in business entrepreneurship, enterprises and cross-sector collaboration. It looks at why the traditional boundaries between government, business and the social sector have become blurred and fluid and what that means for the capacity to deliver new forms of social impact.

    Fundamental tools and concepts are introduced, starting with a foundation in systems thinking and the application of critical thinking tools and systems mapping. The course develops an understanding of systems thinking and the theory of how to address complex social issues or ‘wicked problems’ through application of these tools. Key concepts are further explored of measuring and funding impact, scaling, leadership and collaboration. The course examines the trends and drivers reshaping the dynamics of social impact and the changing role of government from provider to enabler. The course reviews changes in the social purpose ecosystem, including looking at business models for social change, the ‘hybridity’ of social enterprises and social businesses, social procurement, social value creation, new forms of philanthropy and social impact investment.

    Through a focus on innovation and case studies, the course examines the ways in which individuals and organisations can contribute to developing new ways of collaborating by government, business and the social sector. It explores how system change is possible through these changes driven social innovation and concludes with a review of global trends and organisations that effect social change and impact. There is an emphasis on communication and application of the course concepts.

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  • Major changes are reshaping the role of philanthropy both internationally and in the Australian context: global economic realignments, the privatisation of community services; new patterns of wealth distribution and of inter-generational wealth transfer; greater expectations of the role of corporate citizenship and of corporate philanthropy. These forces are also extending the meaning of philanthropy by encouraging the growth of new forms of 'social investment', in which commercial enterprise is being shaped by social as well as financial goals, to create innovative, and sometimes hybrid, models of sustainable community services, environmental protection and social development, as well as new business opportunities.

    This course will introduce the history, core concepts and current issues in the fields of philanthropy, fundraising and social investment. It will also examine patterns of fundraising and giving, ethical and philosophical perspectives and the management and legal aspects of social investment programs.

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  • Demonstrating Social Impact is an elective subject for the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and M Com, or AGSM MBAx programs. It provides an overview and introduction to evaluation and social impact assessment, the underpinning principles of evaluation and social impact assessment and examines some of the key social impact measurement approaches increasingly used by leading Third sector organisations in Australia and internationally, including Logic Models such as LogFrame; Social Return on Investment (SROI); and Social Accounting and Audit (SAA). Other frameworks used to measure the impact of corporate social initiatives will also be discussed. The course will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and apply social impact frameworks and methodologies at a project and organisational level.

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  • Social innovation can be developed in almost any context. It is often a response to an identified problem, issue or opportunity. One of the most challenging aspects of developing and delivering social innovation is identifying the essence of what needs to be addressed, as the problems can be wicked in nature. Design thinking and methods offer a broad set of tools that facilitate a multi-disciplined approach to solving problems and innovating, taking a whole systems (rather than a silo) approach to offer different perspectives to traditional business tools. Design for Social Innovation offers participants the opportunity to learn and apply design tools and methods to real projects.

    Design for Social Innovation is an elective subject for the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and an elective available for all postgraduate students. It provides an overview and introduction to the role and application of design methods in social innovation and social enterprise. This course will provide the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and apply design thinking principles at a project or organisational level.

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  • Corporate Responsibility and Accountability is a specialist course for the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and an elective for those undertaking the Master of Commerce or MBA or MBT Programs. It examines how business manages its social, environmental and economic impact on society. The course first reviews the historical evolution and development of the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Citizenship and why it is now a key part of managing the business enterprise. Second, the course examines what acting responsibly means for corporations in terms of the market, community, environment, workplace and government. Issues covered include business and human rights, business-community partnerships, corporate philanthropy, the human resource management implications of CSR, business and the environment and businesses' relationship with government. Third, the course examines how business accounts for its behaviour and impact in society through sustainability reporting and the role of external assurance and outlines debates on the appropriate role of government policy in either regulating and/or enabling responsible corporate behaviour.

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  • Creating Shared Value (CSV), a term introduced by Porter and Kramer (2011), is aimed at enhancing ‘the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates’.  CSV as an organisation and business ethos, therefore, seeks greater integration of organisational economic imperatives with the identification of social needs that can be addressed via the expansion of economic markets and business innovation. Complementing existing strategies of corporate philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and sustainability, CSV is aimed at creating shared value by reconceiving products and markets, increasing productivity in the value chain, and enabling development of clusters of stakeholders. This course will examine the fundamentals of CSV and how businesses might co-create sustainable financial and social value.

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  • This course examines key concepts and frameworks of cross-sector collaboration and develops your capacities to undertake effective collaboration with existing and emerging partners. Primary topic areas include: cross-sector adaptive leadership, building and sustaining strategic partnerships, creative collaborative practice, collaboration dilemmas and tensions and effective collaboration design and implementation for system change. The course is taught using experiential processes to learn about collaboration in real time at a personal and systemic level. This requires students to be willing to reflect on their own approaches and attitudes within a collaboration. In completing this course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and frameworks required to develop and sustain cross-sectoral collaborations to achieve social impact. You will also have the opportunity to develop a range of skills and competencies that can be applied to build collaborative partnerships with government, business, community and the third sector within your workplace.

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  • Leadership for Social Impact is designed for a new generation of leaders

    • Those who seek a leadership career in social enterprises, and those already in the sector who wish to enhance their professional capacity to create social and environmental value through leadership of third sector/not-for-profit organisations
    • Those who aspire to hold executive positions in companies which are committed to maximizing social benefit and meeting corporate responsibilities through their products and practices
    • Those who wish to become senior public administrators working with community groups, or public service executives with a responsibility for developing the public policy framework; and
    • Those individuals and foundations that seek to ensure that their social investment is applied to greatest social impact.

    The course provides students with an introduction to the challenges and opportunities of leading organisations with the purpose of improving social outcomes. The course will examine the following areas: current challenges in achieving social benefit; leadership in the social economy; challenges and opportunities of leadership during a time of inflexion; a model of leadership centred on identifying adaptive challenges for leaders; intervention of leaders and practices for more effective and positive social outcomes; new forms of organising designed to address breakdowns in the social economy; governance systems and demands; diagnosis of leadership challenges.

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