Recent Question/Assignment

Summary:
Title: Critical analysis of an aspect of sustainable development topic
Due Date: 29 May 8.00am
Format: Report
Weighting Value: 30%
Length: 1500 words (max)
Students are required to present a critical and comprehensive analysis of a sustainable development topic/issue and identify future strategic actions. This assignment provides students with an opportunity to explore an area of interest in sustainable development in greater depth, and aims to help you clarify and develop your understanding of that area of sustainable development. It is a good opportunity to research an area that you would like to know more about. You can choose a topic and relate it to your own country or organisation.
This assessment task also offers an opportunity to engage in different forms of written communication of value in the workplace such as:
a) a policy brief, which is used to help make decisions based on evidence; or
b) evaluation of a sustainability report;
All formats demand a critical analysis of an issue.
You may choose A (policy brief) OR B (report)
A: Policy brief. This is to be prepared as advice to a government, business or other organisation on a sustainable development issue to assist in decision making. The advice can be for an actual organisation (or you can specify for what type of organisation). The report MUST follow the headings and structure below, will be succinct and can use footnotes for references rather than in text citations. Note your policy brief will recommend certain actions based on the evidence presented.
For example, you may prepare your policy brief to a local council focusing on SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy within which you are recommending a carbon neutrality policy that would satisfy all the council’s energy needs.
The briefing report:
1. MUST use the template structure provided (no deviations).
2. Can assume the reader is familiar with the topic areas but not the intricate details or implications (thus this should be your focus) – i.e. there is no need to go back to basics explain foundational concepts (e.g. what is climate change and its relationship to sea level rise).
Title: A good title is able to quickly communicate the contents of the brief to the reader that is relevant to their institution and role.
Executive Summary: This section is to be more than three paragraphs long (less than 1 page); it includes an overview of the problem and the proposed policy action.
Context or Scope of Problem: This section outlines the importance of the problem (for example to the organisation not just the broader global concerns) and aims to convince the reader of the necessity of policy action.
Policy Status and Alternatives: This section should first discuss the current policy approach (if there is one), and then explain alternatives. It should be fair and accurate while convincing the reader why the policy action proposed in the brief is the most desirable. Your analysis should address the financial concerns (implementing or not the action/s) and how it may impact on broader considerations such as the organisation’s priorities, profile and commitment (such as to corporate social responsibility).
Policy Recommendations: This section provides a summary of the recommendations that are justified based on your policy status and analysis. There should also be an explanation of the tangible steps the organisation needs to take to address the policy issue.
(for further information on policy writing you may like to review:
Young, Eoin, and Lisa Quinn, “The Policy Brief,” http://blog.lrei.org/tmurphy/files/2009/11/PolicyBrief-described.pdf
Part B: Report. This option requires you to (critically) evaluate a sustainability report of either a private company, NGO or government agency/department/council. Your evaluation is be structured as a workplace report based on the headings below. You are to describe the main areas of sustainability material to your chosen organisation (context relevant); assess whether the report forms part of an integrated strategy for your organisation or simply sits as a separate sustainability report; and evaluate the areas where the organisation is strong and where actions need to be prioritised. You could also choose to evaluate a national voluntary report of a country on its progress to the SDGs. Your evaluation report will include recommendations based on the conclusions from the evidence presented.
For example, you may be providing a report to the executive of the Coles Group on their 2019 Sustainability Report (https://www.colesgroup.com.au/sustainability/?page=sustainability) and how this may inform their ethical sourcing of goods then relate this to their corporate strategy and supporting governance frameworks.
The report MUST follow the headings and structure below, will be succinct and can use footnotes for references rather than in text citations. Note your evaluation report will recommend certain actions based on the evidence presented.
The report:
1. MUST use the template structure provided (no deviations).
2. Can assume the reader is familiar with the topic areas but not the intricate details or implications (thus this should be your focus) – i.e. there is no need to go back to basics explain foundational concepts (e.g. what is climate change and its relationship to sea level rise).
Title - A good title is able to quickly communicate the contents of the brief to the reader that is relevant to their institution and role
Executive Summary - is a shortened version of the full report and must be less than 1 page. It highlights the purpose of the evaluation, key questions, research methodology, evaluation findings, conclusions and recommendations. It should contain enough detail to be a stand-alone document
Background – This will form the basis of the introduction to your report. It is a brief summary that contextualises the issues relevant to your organisation. It will state what the project’s aims and how this will be undertaken. You may also like to include what are the impacts of the evaluation, relevance to the organisation and how it may contribute to the organisation’s longer-term sustainability.
Purpose/Objective - It is a statement of why the assessment is needed, how it may impact or benefit the organisation. It must clearly state the project’s aims and objectives.
Methodology – This should be brief and clearly define what methods of research (Quantitative / qualitative) were used, what documents/reports were referenced, how was the sampling undertaken and analysed.
Key Findings – This should consider: the relevance of your work to the organisation; whether your analysis has been effective with respect to the aims and objectives; what is or would be the impact of your analysis (time scales - short to long term, institutional scales - inter and intra organisation).
Conclusions – your key findings
Recommendations - be specific and directional (that is what should the organisation do and when)
? Check the paper has a title and your name on it
? The doc is saved with _Topic_part(A,B or C) Make sure you specify which part
? Check you have covered the elements in the marking criteria
? Check you have done an English spell check and grammar check
? A reference list with a range of at least 15 different references including from the UN, academic literature and peak organisations. You need to demonstrate wide and critical reading and a range of sources.
? Footnotes used instead of citations. Check you have acknowledged sources correctly
Assignments with less than 15 relevant references will most likely be not be graded with more than a ‘Pass’. Your assignment needs to be well edited and structured.
Note you are free to suggest a topic so that you can research areas a where you would like to develop more understanding. You will find it more concrete to focus on a country or region or even an organisation or a specific topic.
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA (30%)
Criterion
Allocated Mark
Evidence that you can identify the key scientific and value positions on an issue in relation to sustainable development and can contextualise this for your chosen organisation/area
10
Evidence of international, and critical reading informing a comprehensive treatment of the issue
5
Evidence that you are reflecting upon the issues associated with progressing Sustainable Development
5
Able to summarise the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and obstacles to sustainable development in the area chosen
10
Ability to use other evidence and examples to support arguments
5
Evidence based recommendations that are realistic given your organisation/context
5
Well-structured assignment in the format chosen and follows the heading structures with clear writing and expression
10
Evidence of original and creative thought
5
Correct citation and adequate acknowledgement of source
5
Total
60

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