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Online courses for corporate social responsibility

Looking to enhance your social impact and corporate social responsibility (CSR) knowledge skill set without leaving the comfort of your own home or desk? Want to show employers that you care about staying up to date and learning? Then you may want to consider signing up for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) or other online courses for corporate social responsibility.   

MOOCs are interactive online courses offered by institutions around the world, from universities to international organizations. There is a MOOC for almost anything you want to learn, from computer programming to languages to philosophy. Courses are available on a variety of online platforms and are open for anyone with access to internet to enroll. Courses vary in length and can be either self-paced or scheduled weekly lessons.

MOOCs are useful for people looking to learn new things or for those who want to better understand a certain topic. They can be especially helpful for job seekers looking to showcase their understanding or interest in a specific field and can demonstrate a dedication to continued growth and learning.

You should start thinking about what area of CSR you are interested in to determine what MOOC might highlight that interest and how you can use MOOCs to show employers you know your stuff.

Below is a list of online learning option for a career in CSR that can contribute to your continued learning and demonstrate your interest in CSR topics.

Social Issues & Human Rights:

Business & Human Rights

Platform: independent e-learning

Institution: The Danish Institute for Human Rights

Next Offered: On demand

Length: Self-paced

Course Description: The course provides an introduction to business & human rights, with a strong focus on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Participants will learn about business & human rights and the role of national institutions. This course is for anyone looking to learning about business and human rights, and in particular the UN Guiding Principles.

Decent Work in Supply Chains

Platform: iversity

Institution: Global Labour University, Penn State

Next Offered: Early 2017

Length: Self-paced

Course Description: The course introduces supply chains, the challenges in supply chains and strategies that can lead to the creation of ethical supply chains.  Students will learn about labour relations in supply chains, regulatory frameworks and gaps in governance. This course is for anyone looking to learn more about supply chains and labour rights.

*For more general human rights courses check out this program on edX


The Age of Sustainable Development

Platform: SDG academy

Institution: Course authored by Jeffrey Sachs

Next Offered: On demand

Length: Self-paced

Course Description: The course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to sustainable development and explores the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants will learn about economic development and the environmental challenges presented by ecological and social interaction. This course is for anyone interested in learning about sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Strategy and Sustainability

Platform: Coursera

Institution: IESE Business School – University of Navarra

Next Offered: The course starts on July 3, 2017

Length: 6 weeks

Course Description: This course ties together business and sustainability by helping students understand the strategic issues and options, different industry perspectives, and how to develop their own sustainability strategy. This course is for anyone looking to understand the interaction between business and sustainability.

*For a more general sustainability course check out this course on Coursera

Corporate Communication & Reporting:

Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility

Platform: edX

Institution: Universite catholique de Louvain

Next Offered: The course starts on July 3, 2017

Length: 6 weeks

Course Description: The course covers the basics of CSR, communication strategies and CSR reporting. Participants will learn about the importance of effectively CSR communication strategies as it relates to internal and external stakeholders. This course is for anyone interested in CSR and improving business communication as it relates to CSR.

Other helpful resources:

Webinar – Reporting that Matters: Global Trends, Best Practices and Advice from the Experts

Platform: Youtube

Institution: CBSR

Next Offered: Available anytime

Length: 57:10 minutes

Description: This webinar sees CBSR partner with The Works Design Communications Ltd. to review CSR reporting practices and trends from various different industries. Viewers will gain a better appreciation for the CSR reporting landscape in Canada and practices they should consider adopting.

*For more general communication/marketing courses check out this program on Coursera

Corporate Social Responsibility:

Unfortunately, there aren’t any free MOOCs that provide an overview of CSR, but you can check out this video, which provides a strong introduction to CSR.

Business & CSR:

Social Enterprise Program

Platform: Future Learn

Institution: Middlesex University Business School

Next Offered: The first course starts June 5, 2017

Length: 3 weeks

Course Description: This is a program consisting of 3 courses: Business Doing Good, Turning Ideas Into Action, and Growing A Sustainable Business. You can take each course independently or all three to complete the Social Enterprise program. The courses are geared towards those looking to understand the foundations of social enterprises and they provide guidance for those looking to build their own social enterprise.

Managing Responsibility: Practicing Sustainability, Responsibility and Ethics

Platform: Coursera

Institution: University of Manchester

Next Offered: The course starts on June 12, 2017

Length: 6 weeks

Course Description: The course provides an introduction to sustainability, responsibility and ethics. In this course, students gain an understanding of issues in these areas and how to facilitate change. This course is designed for executives or business students who are looking to build responsible business practices.

*For foundational business courses check out this program on Coursera

If you didn’t find a course you are interested in here, you can always scan through the course selections of the above mentioned learning platforms. Courses regularly repeat so make sure you sign up on the waitlist to be notified the next time the course you are interested in is being offered.

If you think I missed any or you know of other online CSR resources and MOOCs tweet me @OnTheRoadWithA

Written By Ashley McIntyre

Ashley is a CSR professional who has previously published CSR related content on Canadian B Corporations and ethical supply chains for the NATO Association of Canada. Ashley has a M.Sc. in Human Rights & International Politics from The University of Glasgow and an Honours B.A. in Global Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. You can connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn, or by email at
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