Short courses

Executive Development

Postgraduate students and professionals working in government, corporate or civil society sectors can register for a number of short courses focused on topics such as sustainable development, systems thinking, food security and sustainable agriculture, governance and leadership.

The courses are designed to challenge conventional thinking and open minds to new ways of doing and approaching the known, while incorporating the entire space at the Institute as part of the learning experience. The courses are administered by USB-ED, and leading academics in the sustainability field present during all the courses. We also offer customised learning programmes.

The courses are administered by USB-ED, and leading academics in the sustainability field present during all the courses. We also offer customised learning programmes. Please find more information below on the short courses presented at the Institute.

Short Courses

04 Sep to 07 Sep, 2018

Imagine being able to look at the environmental disclosure of a company and gaining insight about the company’s strategy and pitfalls in the same sense that you would have gained when looking at the company’s financial statements. This is indeed possible. While many of the top 100 companies listed on JSE Limited already calculate their carbon footprints, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Before long, every company will need to calculate its carbon footprint and also strive to reduce it. Soon carbon (and water) footprinting will be implemented and actioned by all listed companies.


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20 Aug to 01 Sep, 2018

This course will deepen the understanding developed in Systems and Technologies by way of a course that gets delivered in India in partnership with an NGO called Dharmitra. Led by Professor Tarak Kate, this course will provide students with a direct and hands-on experience of sustainable agriculture practices in Maharashtra State, India.


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20 Aug to 25 Aug, 2018

This course investigates business responses to the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainability and the manifestations of social (sustainable) enterprise, with special emphasis on developing country contexts, particularly South Africa. An overarching question is what role, if any, can enterprise play in the transition toward a ‘new economy’. Is social enterprise a legitimate ‘new economy’ trend that imbues a genuine shift in attitudes and behaviour, or is it a veil for business as usual?


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13 Aug to 18 Aug, 2018

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the spectacular transformation of the world as it crosses the threshold of becoming a majority urban world for the first time in human history. The course delves into the differential dynamics of worldwide urbanisation, with particular reference to the global South. It demonstrates that these large scale shifts in human movement, economic development and expansion of the built environment hold deeply troubling implications for sustainability.


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30 Jul to 04 Aug, 2018

The aim of this course is to provide course participants with an understanding of South Africa’s political economy.


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23 Jul to 28 Jul, 2018

The focus of this course is on the nature of the global economy, how it is governed and the alternatives articulated by social movements and academic institutions.


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16 Jul to 21 Jul, 2018

Recognising the structural inequalities in the food system, and its large-scale negative impacts on the environment is key to exploring existing and proposed alternatives and responses. Such questions and explorations require engagements with theories of food systems, food and agriculture governance and policy, as well as food regimes, transitions and change. These are key themes that run through this course.


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18 Jun to 23 Jun, 2018

In the face of global change and natural resource depletion, it has become an imperative to understand the links between biodiversity and ecosystem services such as freshwater, crop production, grazing, and climate regulation, which underpin the economy and well-being of different groups in society. However, biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being are all multidimensional issues characterized by complex interactions.


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04 Jun to 09 Jun, 2018

A more sustainable world will mean changing our assumptions about design, and what should be designed. This course will focus on the role of design in all its disciplinary manifestations during the industrial era (last 250 years): design has affected the shape and experience of industrialisation, urbanisation, urbanism, political economics, power relationships, globalisation and the quest for a sustainable future. It has shaped ethics and leadership styles and processes.


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09 Apr to 14 Apr, 2018

In order to deal with issues of food security, it is important to understand the globalised nature of food systems and how this context challenges attempts to address hunger and food security. This course is particularly relevant in terms of the recent international and especially South African national initiatives around food security, which have seen high-level meetings of government departments, food processors, retailers, consumer groups, NGOs and farmers engaging around how to achieve food security in South Africa.


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12 Mar to 17 Mar, 2018

This course is about leading transitions to socioecologically responsible action, and aims to enable course participants to develop leadership capabilities that are premised on the capacity to recognise, describe, analyse and apply the different ethical models and value systems that underpin socioecologically responsible action.


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05 Mar to 10 Mar, 2018

Increasingly across the globe sustainability is being understood via complexity perspectives that seem most capable of handling the transdisciplinary nature of sustainability. This course provides the primary conceptual framework that students will require to fully understand sustainability in general and sustainable development in particular.


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26 Feb to 03 Mar, 2018

This course focuses on the rise to global prominence of the challenge of sustainability in general and sustainable development in particular.  Public policy debates at the global levels of governance are increasingly focussing on the challenges posed by natural resource limits to the ways production and consumption are currently structured and managed within a world that is sharply divided between the rich (located mainly in the global North) and poor (located mainly in the global South).


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