Course overview

Sustainability is one of the most important topics in the current agrifood sector and has become a subject of debate for governments, major companies, and the general public. That is why the ‘What is Sustainability?’ course introduces participants to the latest research in Sustainability and the relevance of this topic across the food industries. Through online lectures and seminars, you will explore the different frameworks of sustainability, including economic, ethical and environmental measures, and a practical sense of when and how these frameworks should be applied.

The course is aimed at professionals in the agriculture, food and environmental related industries (including feed, veterinary pharmaceutical and breeding companies). This may also be suitable for those with careers in research and development, as well as in the advisory or extension sector. International and national corporations will both be able to use the knowledge provided in the course as well as research and higher education institutions in the governmental sector. 

Assessments are designed to advance participants careers by developing and assessing the analytical and communication skills required by food or environmental industries. Projects are designed to be relevant to the participant's current employment. To ensures relevant research and questions are addressed, participants are encouraged to discuss particular projects with their employer.

This module is availabe for CPD (£450) or for credit (£700).. Modules taken as CPD can later be converted to credit for a fee of £250.  

Learning outcomes

By completing this course participants should be able to :

  • Critically evaluate the various definitions of the term ‘sustainability’ 
  • Select appropriate frameworks for the assessment of sustainability
  • Critically evaluate the sustainability of particular systems.
  • Use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on sustainability related to food and environmental industries
  • Communicate research findings clearly
  • Demonstrate good academic practice in the use, citation and referencing of source material
Additional Course Information

The ‘What is Sustainability?’ course covers:

  • Definitions of sustainability and frameworks of assessment
  • Issues and scoping
  • Case study based on the participant's own food related business
  • Ethical measures of sustainability
  • Economic measures of sustainability
  • Environmental measures of sustainability
Course structure and assessments

Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials that will be available to the participant permanently. There will be a series of online discussion fora and exercises. Feedback and contributions from the module convenor or deliverer will be the main source of formative assessment.
A report on the case study of the participant`s own business/farm will constitute 70% of the marks awarded for this module. A screencast will be produced that explores the concepts of economic, environmental and ethical sustainability will also be produced and uploaded, and this will constitute the other 30% of the module marks.
Online exercises and quizzes, and feedback and contributions from others in the online discussion fora will provide the basis for formative assessment.



Key facts

Course Dates
07 Oct 2019
8 Weeks online
Entry Requirements
Graduate level or relevant experience
Fee info
Discounts available for multiple bookings
IFST Membership
Your course enrolment also entitles you to one year of free membership to the IFST (Institute of Food, Science and Technology).
CQFW Level
Course Provider
University Of Reading
Provider Reference Number
Course Arrangements
Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location
Online, University of Reading
AFTP Cohort
Course Logistics
Delivered entirely online through the University of Reading's Virtual Learning Environment over an eight week period, it is suggested that material is reviewed on a weekly basis, however, participants may vary their speed of learning to suit their own requirements. The course is available to be completed for Continued Professional Development, or with the award of 10 academic credits where participants successfully complete the formative assessment requirements during and within four weeks of completing the online content.
My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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