Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours of lectures and tutorials per week for 12 weeks as the on-campus load during the semester or equivalent. Online students are expected to spend a minimum of 8 hours per week on study, readings and assessment preparation.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The way human societies interact with, and have an impact on, the environment is of increasing concern to individuals, organisational stakeholders and governments who care about protecting and conserving the environment. Those working in OHSE advisory and general management roles in organisations recognise their responsibility to the environment and society. A key requirement of any role in OHSE is an understanding of the basic principles of environmental management and the associated legal duties. This is a synoptic unit that provides an introduction to organisational environmental management, and is divided into two halves - (i) environmental science; and (ii) environmental management. Environmental science concepts include ecosystems, biodiversity, ecologically sustainable development, the precautionary principle, ozone depletion, climate change and greenhouse gases. Environmental management concepts include environmentally sound development, international conventions for the environment, environmental legislation, environmental management standards, environmental risk assessment and environmental auditing. As a result, students will have the opportunity to explore and discuss a range of environmental management issues, and develop skills in applying basic environmental management practice in organisational contexts. In doing so, this unit aims to provide students with the foundation knowledge, and skills on which to base further development in environmental management practice and/or to have informed discourse about environmental management issues with national and international organisational stakeholders.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - demonstrate understanding of environmental management concepts and language sufficiently to be able to communicate effectively with environmental management professionals and other key stakeholders (GA5, GA9).  

LO2 - explain and assimilate concepts of environmental management with reference to environmental information and data and in a legislative context (GA5, GA8). 

LO3 - assess impacts of adverse environment management effects on health of individuals, communities and environment with reference to organisational contexts  (GA2, GA5).

LO4 - evaluate and recommend interventions to control risks to health or environment in an organisational context (GA4, GA5).

LO5 - compare various approaches to environmental management from national perspectives and analyse their impact on addressing environmental issues (GA5, GA6)

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics covered: 

  • Introduction to environmental management: Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Air and Water Pollution
  • Ozone Depletion and Climate Change
  • The Precautionary Principle and Sustainable Development – responsibility of present generations to meet their own needs without comprising the needs of future generations
  • Valuing Natural Capital
  • Reflecting on Environmental Hazards to Human Health
  • Environmental Risk Assessment – analyzing and evaluating available information to ascertain the level of risk to apply to a particular activity as it relates to human and environmental health
  • Environmental Management Systems – how to deal with the problem of environmental risk taking into consideration both local and international impacts
  • Environmental Auditing – locating and organising information related to environmental aspects and impacts of a particular activity
  • Environmental Legislation
  • International conventions for the environment
  • Effective communication in the environmental science context

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Online 

Pattern of attendance and duration: 12 week-semester or equivalent. 

Students should anticipate undertaking 150 hours of study for this unit, including weekly learning activities, readings and assignment preparation. 

This unit employs a learning and teaching strategy that combines active learning (online lecture videos, reading, writing, and problem solving) and peer learning methods (discussion forums with lecturer input). Live online classrooms will be offered at regular intervals throughout the teaching period in order to allow students synchronous access to their lecturer and peers at defined times. Use of applied case studies and scenarios with reference to legislation and standards as well as national and international contexts are used to facilitate applied action learning. The provision of timely student feedback is also a key aspect of the learning and teaching strategy as this allows students to direct future learning behaviours and performance in a meaningful way. The online learning environment can be challenging in terms of encouraging student interaction and participation, and the unit’s teaching methods have been chosen on the grounds that they are most likely to support the achievement of learning outcomes and participation by a geographically diverse cohort of students. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Three assessment items are required in this unit. The first, based around online discussion, requires students to combine their own views and experiences with research from the academic literature while considering and responding to views expressed or questions posed by other students. The second item is an academic report on an environmental science topic that requires students to draw on the content and models covered in this unit, as well as relevant academic and industry-based literature and legislative requirements. The third assessment item is an open book online examination which aims to assess content knowledge and application of that knowledge to environmental management problems. 

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall mark of at least 50% and must make an attempt at all three assessment items. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Discussion Forum

This assessment task consists of a 1000-word Discussion Forum activity requiring students to provide six of their discussion forum posts (including three responses to other students posts). This task requires students to  locate and interpret information relevant to environmental science concepts   and demonstrate their ability to communicate their ideas effectively with organisational stakeholders.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Discussion Forum activity

Artefact: Written discussion forum posts


LO1, LO2 

GA5, GA8, GA9 

Assessment Task 2: Critical literature review of Issue in Environmental Science

This assessment task consists of a 1750-word critical essay / literature review. This task requires students to  select a topic of environmental concern within an organisational context, identify and assess the risk of potential adverse impacts to  human and environmental health in a scholarly and evidence informed manner.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Essay

Artefact: Written essay


LO3, LO4  

GA2, GA4, GA5 

Assessment Task 3: Online Open Book Examination

This assessment task consists of a 60 minute online exam. This task requires students to explain and assimilate concepts and practice in environmental management and demonstrate their ability to determine the appropriate actions organisations can  take to control the risk of adverse impacts to human and environmental health within a legislative framework.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Exam

Artefact: Online responses to exam questions


LO3, LO4 , LO5

GA2, GA4, GA6

Representative texts and references

Akhtar, R., & Palagiano, C. 2018, Climate Change and Air Pollution The Impact on Human Health in

Developed and Developing Countries, Springer Climate.

AS/NZS ISO 14001 2015, Environmental management systems - requirements with guidance for use, Standards Australia, Sydney.

AS/NZS ISO 31000 2009, Risk management, Standards Australia, Sydney.

Brundtland, HG 1987, Our common future, World Commission on Environment and Development, Geneva.

Dalezios, Nicolas R. 2017, Environmental hazards: methodologies for risk assessment and management,

IWA Publishing, London, England

enHealth 2004, Environmental health risk assessment: guidelines for assessing human health risks from environmental hazards, Department of Health and Ageing/enHealth Council, Canberra.

Haider, SI 2010, Environmental management system ISO 14001, CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Miller, G. T. and S. E. Spoolman. 2018. Living in the Environment: Concepts, Connections and Solutions

(International Edition) Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning

Sarkar, D., Datta, R., Mukherjee, A., & Hannigan, R. 2015, An integrated approach to environmental

management, John Wiley & Sons Inc, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Theodore, MK, Theodore, L 2009, Introduction to environmental management, Taylor and Francis, London. 

United Nations 1992, Rio declaration on environment and development, 13 June 1992. United Nations, Doc./CONF.151/5/Rev.1, Rio de Janeiro. 

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