Write a formal report to an organisation about the implications of a major sustainability issues for them
and their stakeholders. This report is somewhat inspired by the adage “think globally, act locally”. The fact
is that everyone will be affected by major sustainability issues in the coming decades. Every business,
council and community group will need to consider the implications for their organisation and how they
should respond. But unfortunately many organisations have limited knowledge of these issues and so the
first purpose of the report is to inform the organisation about the issue – globally, nationally and locally.
The second purpose is to identify implications for the organisation and possible responses.
You should first choose an organisation for which you are writing the report. This must be a real
organisation, even though the request for the report is hypothetical. Possible types of organisations
include community based organisations, local councils, government departments, businesses,
corporations and industry lobby groups. You may choose an organisation with which you are currently
associated, perhaps your employer. To some extent the choice of organisation is not critical since every
organisation will be impacted in some way, but you should choose an organisation with which you either
have some familiarity or for which there is adequate information available regarding their activities. You
do not need to contact or visit the organisation provided that you have sufficient information about their
You must then choose one major sustainability issue from the following list:
Population, carrying capacity and food
Climate change
Peak oil (or peak fossil fuels)
Limits to growth (focusing on economic disruption)
Sustainability Concepts and Issues
USQ TIME 6:32 pm Tue, 15 Sep 2015
If you wish to consider a different sustainability issue or a variation from those listed above, please
contact the course leader.
You must provide a description and discussion of the chosen issue including the underlying driving
factors. You should discuss the likely impacts and societal responses, with a minimum time horizon of 20
years. Your discussions should provide perspectives from the global, national and local levels. Remember
that your target audience is the chosen organisation and so this section must be written in appropriate
(largely non-technical) language but supported by credible references.
You must then focus on the local implications of this issue, in order to identify risks and opportunities for
the chosen organisation over a similar time-frame. For example, a business may not be able to continue
some activities or products, but on the other hand, there may be opportunities for different approaches.
Similarly, a community organisation may need to adapt its programs to meet different kinds of local
needs in the future.
Your report must make at least seven clear recommendations for action by the organisation, with at least
two in each of three time frames (short term – 1 to 5 years, medium term – 5 to 10 years, and long term –
beyond 10 years). Recommendations might concern changes to the organisation’s activities, including
particular projects or campaigns that it should undertake, changes to operations etc. Short term
recommendations are likely to be fairly specific whereas long term recommendations are likely to be
quite general.
The aims of this report include testing your knowledge and skills in the following areas:
Collecting information by independent observation and research
Using evidence to support your descriptions and analysis
Understanding and identifying the relationships between theory, reading and practice
Relating individual circumstances to themes and objectives of the course as a whole
Organising diverse data and analysis into a coherent report.
Prerequisite study
All modules should be studied prior to completing this assessment. In particular, modules 3 and 4 provide
important theoretical material, modules 8 and 11 provide material regarding potential responses,
and module 12 provides some perspectives on the future. Note also the following regarding specific
Population, carrying capacity and food begins in module 2, with Australian perspectives covered
in module 5 and global issues in module 7
Climate change is primarily covered in module 6
Peak oil (or peak fossil fuels) is primarily covered in module 7, with some relevant material in module
Limits to growth begins in module 2, has some coverage in modules 7 and 9 and more in module 10.
In each case you should carefully examine the Recommended and Additional Resources sections of the
relevant modules in order to identify potentially useful sources for your report. Remember that you must
not reference the module eBooks but you may find the references very useful.
Take note of the general format requirements here. This is a formal report which must follow a very
specific format as follows (in order):
A title page that includes an appropriate title, the name of the author, the name of the person and/or
organisation for whom the report is prepared, and the date of the report.
An Executive Summary, which should appear on a page of its own, be no longer than 500 words and
which briefly summarises the key findings of the report, including the key recommendations (it is
recommended that you write the Executive Summary last). The Executive Summary is normally
written in the past tense, e.g. “This report has examined …”.
A Table of Contents that will include the Executive Summary (even though it appears before the table)
and all other sections and sub-sections, including the List of References and any Appendices (it is
strongly recommended that you use the automatic Table of Contents facility of your word processor).
The Executive Summary and Table of Contents appear on pages numbered using small Roman
numeral, i.e. i, ii. The main part of the report begins on a new page with numbering starting from page
1 and comprises numbered sections and sub-sections.
Section 1 is an Introduction section comprising at least three subsections: Authorisation, Limitations,
Authorisation (normally numbered sub-section 1.1) indicates who has commissioned the report and
why (this could be a person or a group, such as a board or committee of management).
Limitations (normally numbered sub-section 1.2) identifies any limitations or hindrances that have
affected the production of the report, such as limited access to information that may be private and
confidential, or that may be out of date etc.
Scope (normally numbered sub-section 1.3) indicates the breadth of the report’s considerations and
may state certain aspects that the report does not cover.
You may include an additional sub-section in the Introduction that discusses your methodology.
The body of the report will include various numbered sections and sub-sections that present your
research findings and analysis (it is suggested that you break this into at least two major sections, the
first providing details of the chosen issue and the second examining the implications for the
A Conclusion section (also numbered) will briefly summarise the report’s findings and conclusion(s)
leading into the recommendations on how to use your word processor effectively, which
describes how to use Microsoft Word to format the report.