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Challenges for integrating sustainability in risk management-current state of research
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7382-1825
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED, The Design Society, 2017, no DS87-2, p. 327-336, article id DS87-2Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Numerous examples have shown how environmental and social issues can affect companies to an existential level. In fact, today's most urgent business risks, e.g. brand value, legislative change, litigation, and supply chain disruptions, are directly linked to sustainability issues. These risks need to be systematically identified and strategically managed on both strategic company-and operational product development level in order for a company to be long-term competitive. Based on literature review and interviews at case companies, this paper investigates the current state for integrating a strategic sustainability perspective in risk management processes and related support tools. Results show that sustainability risks are not consciously identified and managed at the companies. Research is at an early stage and few frameworks and tools exist. Based on the findings, the study identifies and provides a comprehensive analysis of challenges for sustainability integration, which work as a foundation for future research. Finally, key steps to advance understanding and methods in sustainability risk management are suggested.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The Design Society, 2017. no DS87-2, p. 327-336, article id DS87-2
Keywords [en]
Ecodesign, Risk management, Strategic sustainable development, Sustainability, Sustainable product development
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-15308Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85029742256OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-15308DiVA, id: diva2:1147585
Conference
21st International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED, Vancouver
Available from: 2017-10-06 Created: 2017-10-06 Last updated: 2019-02-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sustainability Risk Management in Product Development Companies - Motivating Change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability Risk Management in Product Development Companies - Motivating Change
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Both the ecological and social system are systematically degrading, resulting in decreasing capacities to support human civilization. Product development and manufacturing companies play a key role in driving society’s transition towards a sustainable path. Besides moral arguments, the motivation for companies can be expressed as a matter of smart risk management, i.e. avoiding threats and exploiting opportunities. Such sustainability risks can be related to, for example, brand and reputation, legislative change, or attracting top-talented employees. But, more importantly, it is about understanding changes that are inevitable on markets to come. Based on Maxwell’s interactive qualitative research approach and following the structure of the Design Research Methodology, this thesis aims to contribute (i) to knowledge by increasing the conceptual understanding of what sustainability risks are; and (ii) to practice by researching decision-support for how sustainability risks can be managed in a product development company context. The first study reviewed existing literature and identified characteristics of sustainability risks, which make them particularly difficult to manage. A following exploratory and descriptive study investigated companies’ current risk management practices and preconditions for sustainability integration. It showed that the effects of uncertainty from the sustainability transition need to be identified, assessed, and managed in relation to how they can affect objectives anchored in both internal and external stakeholder value creation. In parallel, the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development was applied as a lens to understand the implications of the sustainability transition for company risk management. This resulted in a new definition, stating that sustainability risks are threats and opportunities that are due to an organization’s contribution or counteraction to society’s transition towards strategic sustainable development. A questionnaire study then investigated some case companies’ challenges and preconditions to build sustainability capabilities. Finally, a workshop method is proposed that aims to support design teams in early sustainable product development. Future research will leverage on the findings to develop and test decision support for how product development companies can manage sustainability risks on different organizational levels in practice to increase competitiveness, while taking leadership in the transition towards a sustainable society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2019
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 5
Keywords
corporate sustainability, product innovation process, sustainability transition, sustainable design, sustainable product development
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-17631 (URN)978-91-7295-371-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2019-03-27, J1650, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Valhallavägen, Karlskrona, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge FoundationVinnovaKnowledge Foundation
Available from: 2019-02-22 Created: 2019-02-21 Last updated: 2019-03-20Bibliographically approved

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Schulte, JeskoHallstedt, Sophie

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