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Unit of study_

CLAW3209: The Environment, Law and Business

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Remote

The relationship between the natural environment and business practice is deep and complex, and a multiplicity of regulatory initiatives have been employed in an attempt to manage and influence their interaction. This unit of study aims to demystify environmental regulation as far as it is relevant to the running of a business. It begins with an analysis of the contemporary institutional framework surrounding the interaction between business and the environment with particular reference to the historical conditions which have given rise to it, before introducing major stakeholders in the development of environmental and business regulation (including nation states, international organisations and other non-state actors) and their respective roles. The unit then discusses international environmental regulation and situates Australian regulation within it in order to explain its impact on Australian businesses. The effectiveness of different regulatory styles in this area is assessed together with the argument that business can and should take ownership of problematic elements of their interactions with the natural environment. Different strategies developed to 'manage' a business' relationship with the environment and issues surrounding liability for environmental damage are also considered.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CLAW3209
Academic unit Accounting
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Cary Di Lernia,
Project supervisor(s) Cary Di Lernia,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Individual reflection
Individual reflection
5% Week 01
Due date: 23 May 2023 at 23:00

Closing date: 23 May 2023
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Major Assignment
Research paper
50% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 10:00

Closing date: 01 Jun 2023
1500-3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO3 LO2
Participation Leading Class Discussion and Weekly Participation
15% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation Major Presentation
Oral presentation
20% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small continuous assessment Critique
10% Weekly n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Assessment for this unit is comprised of two elements: i. Common Elements, and ii. Choice Elements. Students must have their Assessment Stream (A, B or C) choice confirmed by the coordinator via email by Week 4.


  • i: Common Elements:
  • Participation of 15% is comprised of Leading Class Discussion and Weekly Participation in Weeks 1-7: This component of the assessment will be assessed through the leading of class discussion. You will need to pick an article from a major Australian publication or academic journal focussing on a particular issue concerning the environment, law and business from the last three years, explain its relevance to what you have learnt in the unit with particular reference to the material to be covered in class that week and illustrate how the environment, law and business interact to influence the management and trajectory of organisations in the real world. Further detail in Canvas (see ‘Assessment Information and Resources’ in ‘Modules’ tab).
  • Individual Reflection 5%: Further detail regarding this item of assessment will be provided in class in Week 1, and is also available via Canvas (see ‘Assessment Information and Resources’ in ‘Modules’ tab).
  • Critique 10%: At the conclusion of each student’s major presentation (see below), students in the audience will be chosen to provide a critique, point of discussion, or ask questions of the presenter regarding their presentation. Pre-prepared generalised questions which do not seek to interact with material presented will receive low, if any, marks. Critique marks are awarded on the basis of consistently high-quality contributions to other students' presentations.


  • ii. Choice Elements:
  • Major Presentation 20%: A ~10 minute presentation on a topic of each student’s choice, depending on Assessment Stream (A, B or C) chosen, further detail in Canvas (see ‘Assessment Information and Resources’ in ‘Modules’ tab).
  • Major Assignment 50%: Individual or group, depending on Assessment Stream (A, B or C) chosen, further detail in Canvas (see ‘Assessment Information and Resources’ in ‘Modules’ tab).

All assessment items will be discussed in detail in the Week 1 Seminar.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined by grade descriptors or exemplars outlined by your faculty or school. 


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Standard Business School late penalties apply

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Special topic on environmental regulation: pollution Online class (1 hr)  
Week 01 Planetary boundaries and the rule of law for nature Online class (3 hr)  
Week 02 The environment, law and business Online class (3 hr)  
Week 03 Nature, science and the 'Anthropocene' Online class (3 hr)  
Week 04 International environmental law and sustainable development Online class (3 hr)  
Week 05 State and Commonwealth environmental law Online class (3 hr)  
Week 06 Regulatory strategies and litigation Online class (3 hr)  
Week 07 Corporate strategies and responses Online class (3 hr)  
Week 08 Reading Week / Consultation class Online class (3 hr)  
Week 09 Research paper workshop Online class (3 hr)  
Week 10 Special topic on environmental regulation: climate change Online class (3 hr)  
Week 11 Special topic on environmental regulation: corporate reporting and disclosure Online class (3 hr)  
Week 12 Special topic on environmental regulation: social licence and praxis Online class (3 hr)  
Week 13 Reflection and review Online class (2 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Lecture recordings: All lectures and seminars are recorded and will be available on Canvas for student use. Please note the business school does not own the system and cannot guarantee that the system will operate or that every class will be recorded. Students should ensure they attend and participate in all classes.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There is no prescribed text for this unit. Required readings will be made available in class or via Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate a detailed understanding of the framework of actors and regulation surrounding corporations in their interaction with nature
  • LO2. recognise and address environmental law issues in a commercial context and engage in a critical appraisal of the broader policies operating within the area
  • LO3. describe and evaluate the conceptual, political, and legal frameworks surrounding and structuring environmental and business issues
  • LO4. recognise and evaluate environmental, corporate and personal risk arising from the interaction between nature, the law and business
  • LO5. communicate, orally and in writing, to a professional standard
  • LO6. identify, explain and assess regulatory tools available in this area
  • LO7. describe and evaluate strategies available to businesses in their interaction with nature.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.