This course is discontinued

SUM4022 – The Role of Business in Global Governance for Sustainable Development

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Course content

This course still have available places for students who are registered at the UiO. Contact the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) in order to register.

There is growing recognition of the increasingly significant and influential role played by business in global governance. Private actors, including multinational corporations, industry NGOs and private foundations, increasingly contribute to the shaping of the sustainable development agenda, perform governance functions by establishing new norms and institutions, and mediate and influence regime formation and implementation. This course gives the student an introduction to the role of business in global governance for sustainable development. It will review and critically discuss how business influences the policies of international institutions and agreements, collaborates with states through public-private partnerships, and creates, develops and adopts commitments and policies that promote sustainable development through corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures and transnational standard-setting processes.

Learning outcome

The course introduces the student to the most common theoretical perspectives for understanding the role of business in global governance (mainly from the disciplines of international relations/political science) and examines the nature and impact of the growing influence of business in global governance. In discussing the evolving relationship between public and private actors in world politics, it will consider how the nature of power and authority in the international system is changing with globalization, and how new forms of public-private institutions across national boundaries are giving rise to new forms of global governance.


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The Masters study is directed at students with a background in humanities, social sciences or the natural sciences. The minimum requirement for admission is that the students must have a bachelor’s degree (equivalent at least to a good second class honours degree from a reputable university). Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies within the humantities or social sciences to prepare them for the interdisciplinary challenges this programme offers. Students must also have a good working knowledge of English, and should be able to read and follow lectures in this language as well as writing a term paper in English.

Recommended previous knowledge

This course is open to any Master degree student registered at the University of Oslo or other University Colleges. The course is open to students with any disciplinary background. However, most of the contributions are from the social sciences with an emphasis on political science/international relations. Some of the assigned readings are relatively advanced an may require some prior familiarity with these or related disciplines. Please contact us if you need further information about recommended pre-qualifications.



Benedicte Bull
Maria Gjølberg
Irja Vormedal
Christopher Wright


Home Exam

Language of examination



Course Coordinator: Christopher Wright
Student Consultant: Kristin Dypedokk

Facts about this course




It is unclear if the course will be offered again.

Teaching language