The World’s First Online Course in
Corporate Taxation and Sustainability
Next course: May 8th - 1 July 2023
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for business success. Rarely, however, are the implications of corporate taxation recognised – or even understood – as being an integral part of the global sustainability conversation.
A company’s approach to tax is no longer just a question of compliance. In the context of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) imperative, it is becoming a powerful indicator of how a business views its role in society and its commitment to its purpose. It’s a critical element of a business’s social contribution—part of the “S” in ESG.
Knowledge about this crucial link needs to be integrated into both the Tax and the Sustainability functions and processes of an enterprise in efficient and cost-effective ways. Online training modules combined with practical and applied assignments supports this type of effective integration. Based on this, we have designed the course Responsible Tax Behaviour.
Course Structure & Outline
The six hours of core material consist of digital lessons and practical assignments organised into three modules, to be completed over the seven weeks of the course. The course is self-paced, i.e., participants are free to complete the lessons and assignments according to their own schedule, although participants are encouraged to set aside one hour each week.
Lessons are typically 10–20 minutes in length and feature one or more expert practitioners and/or scholars interspersed with learning checkpoints, engaging interactions and quizzes. In addition to the core material, the course offers six hours of optional extended material for further exploration and deeper dives.
Participants who successfully complete the required lessons and assignments by the end of the seven weeks on July 1, 2023 will receive a course certificate. Both core and extended material will be accessible to all participants for one month after the course completion date.
The outline of the course is as follows:
Getting Started Course Introduction
The Course Introduction welcomes course participants and frames corporate taxation as a sustainability question. The course objectives and structure are laid out, along with a recommended approach for engaging in the course content. The broad mix of contributing experts is presented, with each providing a backstory shaping their interest in responsible taxation.
Module 1 Urgency and Agency
The first module establishes the historical context shaping today’s predominant challenges and issues related to multinational corporate taxation, and explores critical concepts of tax dodging, evasion and avoidance and their impacts. As well, the legal context for managers’ responsibility toward shareholders, and their degree of discretion, is examined. Participants are asked to explore their enterprises’ own history, context and interpretations regarding the role of tax and begin assembling a SWOT analysis.
Module 2 Navigating the Landscape
The lessons in Module 2 broaden the perspective and tee up a range of critical factors defining the landscape for responsible tax, not the least of which regards the health of the planet and well-being of its citizens. Various views and aspects of tax havens are examined, and the challenges of tax transparency are explored. The role of the OECD and its BEPS framework, as well as the roles of tax advisory services and tax justice advocates are described as key components influencing the global tax system. Participants are asked to consider the degree of alignment between sustainability and tax strategies, and further consider these in a SWOT context.
Module 3 Guidance & Inspiration
The final module equips course participants with practical insights and tools for shaping a responsible tax platform in their own organisations. An ESG perspective is explored through the lens of the UN supported PRI - Principles of Responsible Investment - and an orientation to a number of leading frameworks, including GRI, Fair Tax Mark and the B Team Responsible Tax Principles, is provided. As well, frontrunner companies Unilever and Vattenfall describe their responsible tax journeys. With the frameworks and cases in mind as a benchmark, participants are asked to finalise their SWOT assessment and draft an action plan.
Benefits of the Course
Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
Holistically regard the implications of corporate taxation to the
UN Sustainable Development Goals, CSR and to planetary boundaries.
Frame critical developments and forces shaping the tax system landscape stemming from international initiatives, tax advisory, civil society, taxpayer and hybrid networks.
Understand the investment community’s growing prioritisation of responsible tax behaviour as a component of ESG and recognise emerging expectations on tax policy, governance and transparency.
Critically and constructively reflect on a company’s current alignment of CSR with its approach to taxation.
Identify promising tools and frameworks to effectively support a responsible tax platform and journey.
Consider options and opportunities in their organization’s role for promoting responsible taxation and contributing to overall sustainable performance of the organization.
The course assets are the result of international collaboration among experts from different sectors and disciplines. The contributing experts (in alphabetical order) include:
Amanda Sonnerfeldt, Lund University
Anders Tegelberg, Vattenfall
Annette Alstadsaeter, School of Economics and Business
Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU)
Axel Hilling, Lund University
Beate Sjåfjell, University of Oslo
Dan Ostas, University of Oklahoma
Daniel Mensch, CSR Sweden
George Turner, TaxWatch
Grace Perez-Navarro, OECD
Graham Drummond, Fair Tax Mark
Grant Wardell-Johnson, KPMG
Hans Gribnau, Tilburg Law School
Jamie Boswell, Fair Tax Mark
Janine Juggins, Unilever
John Christensen, Tax Justice Network
Lorena Sorrentino, CSR Europe
Lotta Björklund Larsen, University of Exeter
Penny Davies, Diakonia
Reuven Avi-Yonah, University of Michigan
Robert Costanza, Australian National University
Tove Ryding, European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad)
Vaishnavi Ravishankar, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
Reflections and reviews about the course
“I have seen how the role of corporate tax has changed over several decades and how this is at odds with aspirations of corporate social responsibility. I am really encouraged to see the launch of this much needed education, and am happy to have contributed.”
Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, Professor of Law, University of Michigan
“The OECD has been spearheading efforts to promote responsible business conduct in all areas, including taxation. It’s more important now than ever. We applaud private sector efforts to embrace responsible tax behaviour at the corporate level. It’s a pleasure for me to provide participants in this unique course with insights from the OECD perspective.”
Grace Perez-Navarro, Deputy Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD
“As the leader of a global tax justice advocacy network, I keep my finger on the pulse of trends and developments in tax systems and behaviours around the world. I’m delighted to offer my perspectives to this important course and look forward to constructive outcomes!”
John Christensen, Director and Chair of the Board, Tax Justice Network
“Taxes are one of the ways in which business contributes to society. Increasing the coherence between tax behaviour and the wider sustainable business strategy also has the potential to better show a company’s total contribution to society, manage its reputation and increase its social credentials. This is why this e-course is a great tool to help those companies who want to embark on the journey of becoming more responsible and transparent in their tax behaviour.”
Lorena Sorrentino, Senior Project Manager, CSR Europe
€990 per seat
As a National Partner Organisation of CSR Europe, and a Global Network Partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), CSR Sweden is happy to offer a 20% fee reduction to member companies of:
CSR Europe's National Partner Organisations (NPO)
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
WBCSD's Global Network Partners
Is your company a member of one of these? Check the links below!
For registration and practical information, contact:
Marianne Bogle, email@example.com
CSR Europe is the leading European business network for Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility. With our corporate members, National Partner Organisations (NPOs), and Associated Partners we unite, inspire, and support over 10,000 enterprises at local, European, and global level. We support businesses and industry sectors in their transformation and collaboration towards practical solutions and sustainable growth.
CSR Europe's corporate membership brings together 34 multinational companies across sectors and regions.
CSR Europe's network of 36 national partner organisations reaches out to more than 10,000 companies in Europe.
WBCSD is the premier global, CEO-led community of over 200 of the world’s leading sustainable businesses working collectively to accelerate the system transformations needed for a net zero, nature positive, and more equitable future.
The WBCSD’s Global Network is an alliance of more than 60 CEO-led business organizations worldwide. The Network, encompassing some 5,000 companies, is united by a shared commitment to provide business leadership for sustainable development in their respective countries and regions.
Is your organisation interested in exploring opportunities to co-create further developments of the Responsible Tax Behaviour course, or tailor it to new target audiences? See below!
We are passionate about corporate taxation and sustainability! Our mission is to disseminate knowledge on taxation and sustainability. By working together we want to create, manage and develop digital educations to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable approach to tax within international enterprises. We hope you share our mission, and welcome a dialogue with you to explore potential collaborations, and how we can include you as a key contributor or co-creator of our digital knowledge hub.
The course is very flexible. The original idea has been to provide a self-paced course to be completed over a six week period with weekly milestones, each milestone requiring a completion of tasks addressing core material. The course can however be easily repackaged in other ways. It can for example be given as an intensive one-week course where core material and the optional component are interspersed.
To the optional component can be added face-to-face seminars, peer discussion groups or working with assignments in groups.
Examples of how the course can be modified to suit your preferences follows:
Course Assets and Packaging
The existing course consists of a series of building blocks including:
Digital lessons: 17 lessons, typically 10 to 20 minutes in length, featuring one or more expert practitioners and/or scholars interwoven with -Learning Checkpoints, interactions and quizzes.
Practical assignments: three structured assignments crafted to lead participants in applying and reflecting on the learnings from the digital lessons.
Face-to-Face sessions: suggested agendas and supporting materials for virtual, facilitator-led discussions with course participants.
Resource database: literature/reading lists, presentation materials, and relevant website links.
Cloud-based delivery platform: a Learning Management System for participant registration and course content access and tracking.
Course certificate: endorsed by CSR Sweden, CSR Europe and Lund University.
“Off-the-shelf”: The course can be offered from CSR Sweden’s existing delivery platform (Learning Management System (LMS)) with no or minor changes.
For example: the introductory/welcome messages from the partner organisation to participants can be added, the organisation name and logo can be included, or a modified or new course certificate can be offered.
Hosting & facilitation: The partner organisation can be positioned as the host or co-host of the course, and can as well take a role as instructor or co-instructor for guiding participants, reviewing assignments and facilitating face-to-face sessions. Recorded course instructor content at the beginning and end of each digital lesson can be revised to include/profile the partner organisation.
Graphic profile: The colour palette and fonts can be adapted throughout the course material, and selected images and illustrations can be included to mirror the graphic profile of the partner organisation.
Course content: Digital lessons and assignments can be resequenced within the existing or a revised module structure, or a selection of lessons and assignments can be reassembled into a new structure to either stand on its own or to be interwoven with the partner organisation’s own course material.
Individual lessons and assignments can also be shortened or expanded, in which case various degrees of collaboration / co-creation with the partner organisation can be explored. Similarly, entirely new lessons and assignments can be developed to fit the needs of the target audience. We are open for suggestions!
Delivery method: The course length, that is, the allotted time for the course, is completely flexible, as are the start and stop dates. The course can as well be offered as an “on demand” self-driven course. The course content is easily transportable to other Learning Management Systems, as it is built using the industry standard SCORM protocol.
The effort and associated investment for tailoring the course can be estimated based on any identified scenario(s), and a relevant pricing structure for delivering the course to the target audience can be suggested.
Are you interested in making the world a better place by pushing for corporate tax as an important area within sustainability? Are you among them who consider tax as the 18th SDG? If so, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how you can contribute to our mission to accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable approach to tax within international organizations.