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Social Responsibility and Certification

6 ECTS Padua Year 2 Semester 3 Compulsory Humanities


The aim of the course is to introduce Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and societal marketing concepts and provide students with an operational focus on tools for their implementation. Particular attention will be paid to standard and certification issues, with special reference to forest standards/certification both at the forest stage and along the forest-product supply-chain.

After introducing some general concepts related to societal marketing (rationale, origins, main tools and recent developments) the course addresses standards and certification as specific tools for implementing societal marketing strategies in the forestry sector.

The course is structured into 7 main modules:

  1. Marketing development path, concepts and definition of CSR and government ethics in forestry
    – Private, public and partnership SR tools.
  2. Introduction to standards and certification with focus on forest certification standards.
  3. Forest certification standards: forest management.
  4. Forest certification standards: chain of custody and trademark use.
  5. Forest certification standards: special issues (smallholders, non-timber forest products, biomass, etc.)
  6. Auditing and reporting.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will have intellectual and professional skills related to:

– Marketing development path and societal marketing foundations

– Rationale and key-concepts for CSR policies and tools

– Different types of SR tools (private, public and partnership tools)

– Standard goals, structure, contents and approaches, and certification procedures

– Main forest certification schemes/systems at international level and their specific features in terms of (i) general organization, governance and standard setting, (ii) forest management requirements, (iii) chain of custody, and (iv) additional/special requirements (e.g. for small forest-holders)
– Auditing and reporting techniques, procedures and tools.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include:

– frontal lectures to present and discuss key-concepts and theoretical issues;

– classroom exercises (case studies, group-work, plenary discussions, etc.);

– home assignments;

– seminars given by external experts;

– field visits to relevant forest areas/forest companies to see and discuss implementation of theoretical concepts addressed during classes.

Teaching materials used in class and additional readings and media will be made available through the e-learning Moodle platform of the School.

Type of assessment

  • Individual
  • Written exam, Oral presentation
  • Written and oral exams.

    The written exam is based on a series of open questions (normally 10 questions in total). The oral part is a 20-minute discussion on the contents of the course, normally starting from issues emerging from the written exam (gaps, further information, examples, etc.). The oral exam can be passed in the same day of the written test. The validity of the written test is of one year.

    The final mark is the weighted sum of the following 3 criteria:

    – active participation to the lessons and the marks of exercises done during classes (20%)

    – written test (40%)

    – oral exam (40%).


  • Location : Padua
  • ECTS granting : University of Padua
  • Organisation : University of Padua



Mauro Masiero, Davide Pettenella