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Environmental management 1

Environmental management can be understood as managing our relationship with the environment. For all of us, this relationship is under increasing pressure. Why is environmental management vital for our sustainability? What kind of environmental management do we need now? This online module explores the answers to questions like these by introducing ideas, approaches and techniques for environmental management at individual, organisational and community levels. Recognising that our understanding of human-environment relations is changing, this module combines conventional with innovative systems approaches to environmental management, including an approach to community participation which is taught through a series of group activities.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
2 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

Student Reviews

This was my least favourite module out of nearly 5 years of OU study. I found it extremely monotonous and...
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T219 teaches an approach to environmental management which recognises that many environmental challenges are complex, unpredictable and change over time....
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Sadly, I did not enjoy this course. This is the first module in my degree that I have disliked. To...
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We are pleased that you found the teaching materials and pace appropriate, and that you liked the range of online...
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What you will study

This online module will provide an introduction to ways in which human-environmental systems are perceived, understood and managed by looking at them from a variety of perspectives, in order to develop awareness of more sustainable practices. The module uses systems concepts and techniques to introduce you to ideas and practices of conventional and innovative approaches to environmental management. The module introduces a non-prescriptive framework for environmental management with the following linked ‘learning cycle’ stages:

  • Reflecting – on a variety of environmental management situations
  • Connecting – our perspectives and ideas regarding different aspects of situations
  • Modelling – situations using a variety of conventional and innovative tools and techniques
  • Action – taking action to improve the situation.

These stages are explored in relation to a number of different environmental management situations with a particular focus on energy use in the home; the life cycle of information technologies in organisations; and in use of indicators to manage a natural resource such as water by communities. The module provides an introduction to aspects of some conventional techniques and approaches (e.g. sustainability indicators; life cycle analysis; sustainability assessments). Some core, innovative systems thinking and practice skills, including systems diagramming, will be introduced and used to expand your understanding of environmental management concepts and approaches.

The module is presented online in three blocks.

Block 1 – Environmental management in domestic contexts
The module begins by introducing key aims and presenting an overview of the concepts and practices of environmental management to be explored at the level of the individual. You will learn about environmental management in the context of your home, focusing on energy use. You will be introduced to systems tools to enable you to understand environmental situations and explore interactions between different parts of a system.

Block 2 – Environmental management in organisations
This block introduces environmental management within organisational contexts. You will explore how organisations manage their environmental impacts by concentrating on the life cycle of computing equipment and transport planning. You will learn about and use some systems ideas to expand your analysis and understanding of conventional practices for environmental management.

Block 3 – Environmental management for groups and communities
In the third block you will explore environmental management issues and approaches at the level of the group or community. The block focuses on water management in order to explore the range of stakeholders and diversity of perspectives within groups and communities. You will engage with other students in group work to review and make sense of a challenging case study. This will include assessing the role of environmental indicators, using systems techniques to develop scenarios and reviewing stakeholder engagement processes.

For the module as a whole, there are associated readings, activities and audio and video resources. The module draws on a range of international examples to explore approaches to environmental management in different contexts and situations.

You will learn

By the end of this module you will be able to understand and describe:

  • the relationship between environmental management and sustainable development
  • the ways in which environmental management is framed and its implications for environmental management at domestic, organisational and community levels
  • a range of conventional concepts, approaches and techniques for environmental management
  • a range of systems concepts and techniques for use with complex environmental situations.

You will also be able to demonstrate the:

  • ability to engage with and analyse a range of complex environmental management situations
  • application of appropriate tools and techniques including use of systems diagramming and modelling
  • analysis of multiple perspectives of different stakeholders
  • ability to report on an environmental situation and make initial recommendations
  • ability to work collaboratively as part of a group
  • critical awareness of conventional and systems approaches to environmental management.

Vocational relevance

You will find the module useful if you are, or want to be, engaged in environmental management within an organisation, consultancy or a local community. Studying this module can also benefit you in your home, work, or community as it will help you understand and use some conventional ideas and practices for environmental management in a range of situations. In addition, the module will extend your knowledge and practical skills by introducing innovative systems approaches to environmental management.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part. If you want to participate, you’ll likely need a headset with a microphone.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and end-of-module assessment (EMA).

Future availability

Environmental management 1 (T219) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2021.

We expect it to start for the last time in October 2021. We plan to replace it with a new module, Environmental management: systems and sustainability (T220), starting in October 2022.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school

    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 2 module and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, obtained either through OU level 1, or by doing equivalent work at another university.

    Our key introductory OU level 1 module Environment: journeys through a changing world (U116) would be ideal preparation.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End Fee Register
    02 Oct 2021 Jun 2022 Not yet available

    Registration opens on 18/03/21

    October 2021 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    If your income is not more than £25,000 or you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2021. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 05/03/2021.

    What's included

    The majority of the study materials for this module are delivered online.

    You'll have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • audio and video content
    • assignment details and submission section
    • online tutorial access.

    A printed resource book will also be provided.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T219 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.