Law and Sustainability: Tackling Global Environmental Challenges

Enrol your employees on this online short course to help your organisation address global environmental challenges head-on and use the law as a tool to facilitate the sustainability transition.

The law is both a driver of the contemporary environmental, natural resource, and sustainability challenges which humanity faces today, and a critical tool for addressing them. From climate change and biodiversity loss to water scarcity and energy efficiency, the law plays a critical role in society’s ability to mobilise an effective response. This course surveys the most pressing sustainability issues and the existing and emerging legal frameworks that may address them across a range of jurisdictions. 

Book a call with your dedicated Regional Development Manager to explore how our course can help address law and sustainability-related challenges and opportunities in your organisation.

  • Type:
    Online short course
  • Length:
    Eight weeks (4-5 hours of study per week recommended)
  • Upcoming Intakes:
    May 2023, August 2023, October 2023
  • Award:
    Certificate of completion

Learning outcomes

During this law and sustainability course, students will examine and develop an understanding of:  

  • the key sustainability challenges domestically and globally;  
  • legal principles and frameworks for environment and sustainability;  
  • the key international treaties developed to address sustainability issues like climate change and the loss of biodiversity;  
  • the relationships between science and the law;  
  • systemic lawyering for sustainability;  
  • the role of non-legal actors including NGOs, think tanks, and civil society; how corporate and securities law can address sustainability challenges. 

Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate demonstrating their new knowledge and skills that will have a positive impact on your organisation’s objectives.

Law and Sustainability: Tackling Global Environmental Challenges - For organisations


This course does not have any specific entry requirements. However, although a legal background for the course is not critical, it may be useful for your staff to have an understanding of legal systems and processes.   

A certain level of commitment will also be expected – we recommend that your employees dedicate four to five hours a week to their studies. All activities and tasks will take place online, so they will require a stable internet connection and suitable equipment to participate in group discussions.


This course will allow your staff to effectively engage with or bring legal challenges in current and future environmental and sustainability disputes. Legal frameworks will cover regulation and governance outside of the courtroom.   

Assessment tasks will vary week by week, but each module provides the opportunity for your employees to test their knowledge and ensure they are on track with your organisation’s learning objectives. They will be able to join discussions specific to their interests with peers and the Facilitator. In the final assignment, they will demonstrate their understanding of the various concepts that have been considered during this course and use them to develop a memorandum and video pitch to introduce sustainability challenges in relation to the law.

  • Module 0: Getting started
  • Module 1: Introduction to sustainability and the law
  • Module 2: Legal frameworks, regulatory guidance, and soft law
  • Module 3: Science and the law
  • Module 4: Systemic lawyering
  • Module 5: Sustainability challenges in corporate and securities law
  • Module 6: Sustainability challenges in health and food law
  • Module 7: Sustainability challenges in the global south
  • Module 8: Law and sustainability: The case of climate change

Teaching team

Dr Aisha Saad Lead academic, Law and Sustainability

Dr Aisha Saad

Lead academic, Law and Sustainability

Learning experience

This course, including all activities and assessments, will be delivered flexibly and entirely online without any need to come to our campus.  

In addition to learning from our expert world-leading academics, participants will also benefit from a course Facilitator who will provide academic guidance throughout their learning journey – from beginning to end.  

The Facilitator will comment on weekly discussions on specific topics relating to law and sustainability and provide feedback on all project tasks and activities throughout.

Find out more

Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes. 

About the course

Delivered over eight weeks, entirely online, our course will address sustainable development and the law, environmental protection and climate change, and opportunities for intervention within health and food law and corporate and securities law. 

Your employees will be introduced to a range of definitions, concepts and themes which provide foundational knowledge in sustainability, with both theoretical and practical applications for how law can be used to mediate, prevent, and redress sustainability challenges. 

They should leave the course empowered with confidence in their understanding of sustainability and equipped with tools and perspectives to deliver on your organisational objectives.


In this introductory module, your employees will:

  • introduce themselves to their fellow cohort and meet their Facilitator, who will be providing support to them throughout the duration of the course;
  • learn more about what the course offers and how to navigate through it; and
  • tell their fellow cohort more about themselves by answering questions and posting to the discussion board.

In this module, your employees will:

  • identify major sustainability challenges facing the world today;
  • illustrate what is unique about sustainability challenges and attempts to mediate them; and
  • analyse the interactions between science, law, and public policy as they play out in key sustainability challenges.

In this module, your employees will:

  • identify some of the key legal tools available to address sustainability challenges;
  • illustrate dynamics within and between jurisdictions; and
  • critique key international treaties governing global sustainability.

In this module, your employees will:

  • identify key scientific concepts pertinent to climate-related legal actions;
  • discuss leading climate change research, including attribution science, and sources of evidence; and
  • analyse the way that science informs law and legal claims, including use of scientific evidence and expert witnesses in litigation.

In this module, your employees will:

  • describe systems thinking and system dynamics;
  • illustrate systems thinking and the impact of legal intervention and implications for law and policy; and
  • analyse the effects of direct and indirect agents in systemic lawyering applications.

In this module, your employees will:

  • identify sustainability challenges for corporations and investors, including climate change and supply chain issues;
  • give examples of the key parties involved in corporate and securities law as it deals with sustainability – including corporate boards of directors, management, shareholders, regulators, proxy advisory services, and standards-setting agencies; and
  • analyse different opportunities for legal involvement with corporate sustainability, including regulatory guidance, preventative steps like sustainability clauses in commercial contracts, environmental social and governance disclosures, and litigation in the form of shareholder derivatives suits and tort claims.

In this module, your employees will:

  • recognise the relationship between sustainability, public health and human health;
  • illustrate the relationship between sustainability and food access and food security; and
  • advocate legal strategies for sustainability in the context of health and food law, focussing on farming and agriculture.

In this module, your employees will:

  • distinguish key challenges faced by jurisdictions in the global north versus the global south;
  • illustrate the priorities and perspectives of the global south; and
  • analyse climate litigation in the global south.

In this module, your employees will:

  • understand the relationships between climate change, corporate governance, and directors’ duties;
  • give examples of the aims of net zero and the tools available to achieve it; and
  • assess the notion of climate risk governance in light of climate risk management.

Academic expertise

Dr Aisha Saad Lead academic, Law and Sustainability

Dr Aisha Saad

Lead academic, Law and Sustainability

Dr Aisha Saad is a Fellow at the Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance, and was previously the inaugural Bartlett Fellow at Yale Law School. Her current research focuses on ownership and its attendant rights and liabilities in the context of the modern corporation, and on the role of the corporation as a public actor. Aisha’s work has been published in the Berkeley Business Law Journal, the Boston College Law Review, the New England Law Review, and the Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law.

She holds a JD from Yale Law School and a DPhil and MPhil from Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Aisha’s doctoral dissertation focused on public challenges to the modern corporation and the development of contemporary corporate responsibility regimes. Aisha was an extern for Judge William Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Edward Chen on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She is a member of the New York and California Bars.

Frequently asked questions

This course is for you if you have a basic familiarity with the law and a real interest in using it as a tool to address the sustainability challenges of today and the future. This course is suitable for you if you’re a paralegal, a lawyer or an NGO advocate, or if you work in government or a business that may deal with legal procedures or contracts.

The course takes eight weeks to complete, with 4-5 hours of study required per week.

There are no specific entry requirements for this course. However, an understanding of legal systems and processes may be useful. In addition, a certain level of commitment will be expected – we recommend dedicating 4-5 hours a week to your studies. All activities and tasks will take place online, so you will need a stable internet connection and suitable equipment to participate.

**Applies to countries in Africa, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar