Excerpt from course description

Ethics, Sustainability and Responsibility for Auditors


Today’s society faces large social and environmental challenges in a sustainable development setting. In the business world employees are facing ethical dilemmas which are increasingly complex due to internationalization and different cultural settings. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) form the framework for how companies, authorities and individuals must work to achieve sustainable development. 

Knowledge of basic ethical and moral perspectives is crucial for auditors to analyze ethical situations and alternative possible actions. Good corporate governance is built on ethical awareness, implementation and follow-up, and ensures that the company fulfills its goals with regard to different stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers, managers, shareholders and boards of directors. Developing and implementing company codes of conduct, anti-corruption measures and environmental impact assessments are examples of good governance.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of enterprises for their impact on society, covering how companies deal with environmental and social issues internally and externally. Some of these issues are based on regulations, while others are based on norms and soft laws. Different tools for management of the challenges and opportunities are available, nationally and internationally. Auditors need to be aware of these tools, and know how to apply them, to ensure transparency and reporting in line with the company’s responsibilities.

The course will provide students with knowledge of decision support models that can be applied to developing and reporting on companies’ levels of governance, responsibility and sustainability from a practical perspective to fulfill auditors’ responsibilities.

The course will be interactive and based on literature, lectures, cases and group discussions.

Course content

Key topics addressed in each 3-hour sessions (the order of topics might be changed):

  • Ethics and moral – theory, analysis and practice. Historical perspectives and todays relevance and application.
  • Corporate social responsibility and sustainability, theory and different practical tools like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Global Compact (UNGC)
  • How to develop corporate social responsibility (CSR) / sustainability program in a company, step by step. UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • Extra financial reporting, CSR/sustainability reporting, Integrated reporting (IIRC) and Greenhouse gas accounting (GHG)
  • Application of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) Corporate governance: principles and policies, objectives and structure, Stakeholder theory and management, sustainability and shareholders, investors, customers, NGOs etc.
  • Ethical guidelines for accountants (Den norske Revisorforeningens regler om etikk) – ethical dilemmas
  • Code of conduct – how to develop and implement code of conduct
  • Corporate governance – theories, standards, regulations and practice. Eierstyring og Selskapsledelse (NUES), OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – introduction and application. How the national contact points follow up complaints 
  • Ethical investment - Social responsible investment (SRI) – what is responsible and what is irresponsible investment. Different approaches, including the Government Pension Fund Global – ethical guidelines, Social return on investment (SROI), how to account for social impact of activities.
  • Corruption – what is corruption and how to avoid and deal with it, whistleblowing schemes
  • Practical application of course content: Follow a company over several years in the application of sustainability process)
  • How to deal with media – including crisis management, principles and training


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.