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Marketing and Sustainable Development

1. Introduction

MKTG3122 Marketing and Sustainable Development is a 3000-level elective unit of study in the Marketing major. This unit explores the role that marketing plays in the relationship between a for-profit firm and its stakeholders. The purpose and impact of for-profit companies is discussed, as well as the increasing importance of stakeholders like customers, employees, and broader society. This unit requires students to critically evaluate and apply marketing theory in practice, tackling the grand challenges highlighted by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include poverty, climate change, and gender inequality.


Prerequisites: MKTG1001 Marketing Principles

2. Difficulty

Difficulty: Medium

Students will get out what they put into this unit.  Doing well in this course requires a level of proactiveness and self-learning extending beyond the course material. This can include engaging in a few hours of individual research tasks or critical reflection on ideas discussed each week, in addition to the usual workload. Tutors like Ranjit often give their students the freedom to engage with the course content as much as they like. As a result of this further engagement, students will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of key themes and ideas.

3. Workload

On top of keeping up with weekly lecture content, the workload for this course leans heavier towards assignments in comparison to exams. Assessments include a group presentation, group report, individual essay, and a final assessment. Students can also engage in weekly discussions which are optional but contribute to their overall participation mark. It is encouraged that students participate in this to maximise their marks and further engage with the course content.

4. Textbooks/Readings

All readings for this unit are available on Canvas.

5. Assessment Breakdown
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  • Participation (10%): Active engagement with the content and activities in class tutorials, as well as discussions.

  • Individual Written Assignment (15%): Students are to write a 1000-word personal reflection on their insights and connection to the course content (weeks 1-6).

  • Group Presentation (15%): In groups of three, students are to select a brand or organisation and critically analyse its contribution to/engagement with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Group Written Report (20%): In groups of three, students are to select a brand or organisation and write a comprehensive report on how the selected organisation can improve and enhance their contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Final Exam (40%): A combination of short-answer and three extended response questions, probing students to critically reflect on course content and deeply analyse key themes and ideas. 

Please note that assessments may vary across semesters. This information was sourced from the Unit of Study Outline for Semester 1 of 2021, and is out of date. Based on feedback, the assessment structure for this unit going forward will be different – this will be finalised prior to Semester 1 of 2022.


For the most up-to-date information, refer to the Unit of Study Outline for the semester and year relevant to your studies.

6. Unit Highlights
  • Rewarding as it invites students to think critically and holistically about the overarching greater purpose of marketing and business.

  • Group assignments allow students the freedom to think creatively and critically, through exploring the sustainable drivers that they feel personally passionate about.

7. Skills Learnt
  • Understanding of the relationship between marketing and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • Understanding of how marketing contributes to business purpose

  • Critical thinking

  • Creative thinking

  • Ability to question assumptions about marketing

8. Lecturer Advice

This unit challenges you to question some of the assumptions of marketing that you would have learnt in year 1 and 2. For example, in the context of sustainability – is the fundamental assumption that marketers should understand the needs and wants of consumers and meet them, appropriate? Furthermore, we will be arguing that marketing plays a major role in alleviating the SDGs (alleviating poverty, increasing gender equality, decreasing climate risk), whilst trying to make profits – is this possible? (


A marketing student who understands the basics of marketing and also has the ability to question those basics, will do well in this unit. This requires diligent engagement with the unit on a weekly basis, especially reading the readings and going through the lecture slides (This unit is very new, therefore, there are no dedicated textbooks yet in the market). I will be using journal readings to supplement the lecture slides. It is also strongly encouraged that you participate in the class via discussions and if live lectures (in class).  


I would also suggest that you have a study buddy, where you can challenge each other on various issues that we engage with in class.  There is a growing demand for business graduates who understand the SDGs in the context of strategy and consumer behavior, and this trend is growing. I really look forward to engaging with you on these novel marketing topics, at the intersection of marketing and sustainability. 

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