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Systematic Guidance for How to Integrate a Strategic Sustainability Perspective in Core Business Decision Systems
(Blekinge Institute of Technology)
(Blekinge Institute of Technology)
(Blekinge Institute of Technology)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7382-1825
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, 2009, 385-396 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Sustainability integration in core business and product development has been a challenge, even if many supporting methods, tools and concepts are available today. However, these are mainly focusing on specific environmental aspects and are often failing to serve companies in integrating sustainability thinking into their strategic decision processes, and consequently into their core business and product development. In this study a previous proposal for an approach to assessing the current state of sustainability integration in company decision systems was used at two case companies, ABB High Voltage Cables and Hammarplast AB. The purpose was to develop this approach further so that it can better assist decision makers (when initial assessment points to such gaps) to integrate sustainability thinking into the strategic decision processes, i.e. align vision, management system and tools to help prioritize actions in a backcasting plan for a sustainable company within a sustainable society. The developed approach includes a SWOT analysis supported strategic capability assessment, and genericguidelines for how to identify appropriate targets, which can also serve as a basis for development of indicators – all informed by a framework for strategic sustainable development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. 385-396 p.
Keyword [en]
sustainability principles, backcasting, framework for strategic sustainable development, strategic decision processes, goal-oriented indicators.
National Category
Natural Sciences Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-13566OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-13566DiVA: diva2:1054967
Conference
International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED), Stanford University, USA
Available from: 2016-12-09 Created: 2016-12-09 Last updated: 2016-12-29
In thesis
1. Business Model Design for Strategic Sustainable Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business Model Design for Strategic Sustainable Development
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humanity confronts an existential threat without historic precedent. Environmental pressures have reached such intensity and pace of change that the earth system may be irreversibly tipped into a new and unpredictable state. The emerging global reality is, in turn, redefining overall conditions for business success. Addressing these challenges both demands and brings great opportunities for innovation. An important and sometimes neglected aspect of innovation is the design or redesign of business models, which has been identified as a greater source of lasting competitive advantage than new products and services per se. The business model has also been suggested as a new unit of analysis when discussing sustainability. However, this is still a relatively underexplored area. The aim of this work was therefore to develop an approach to business model design that supports strategic sustainable development, i.e., supports organizations to contribute to society’s transition towards sustainability in a way that strengthens the organization.    

 

To be able to design a business model that supports strategic sustainable development, it is necessary to know what sustainability is and how to develop sustainability-promoting, economically viable strategies. Therefore, the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, which includes, e.g., an operational definition of sustainability and strategic guidelines for how to approach it, was used as an overarching framework. Specific research methods and techniques included, e.g., literature reviews, questionnaires, interviews, work with focus groups, participatory action research with partner organizations, creative problem solving techniques, modeling, and simulation.

 

The literature reviews revealed potential sustainability benefits of developing business models in conjunction with product-service systems (PSS). However, a knowledge gap exists regarding how to effectively connect these fields. Arguably, PSS strategies can best contribute to sustainability when business models support their implementation and when both the business models and the PSS strategies are guided by an understanding of strategic sustainable development. Therefore, an integrated approach to Business Model Design for Strategic Sustainable Development was co-developed and tested in PSS innovation work with partners, e.g., companies within the energy and lighting sectors. The tests indicated that the new approach helped to clarify strengths and weaknesses of current business models from a strategic sustainability perspective; to transform an organization’s vision and strategy into a sustainability-framed vision and a sustainability-promoting strategy; and to communicate the new vision and strategy to the value network as a basis for engaging important stakeholders in the change. For example, the approach supported one of the partner companies in its transformation towards providing sustainable PSS solutions in the form of light as a service.

Examples of business benefits of the new approach include improved scalability and risk avoidance, which provide a foundation for better investment strategies. Benefits also include improved differentiability and a broadened view on, and a more solid foundation for, collaboration with stakeholders that are increasingly important to sustainable business success.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona, Sweden: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2017. 204 p.
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 01
Keyword
Business Model Innovation and Design, Strategic Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Product-Service Systems, Value Network.
National Category
Natural Sciences Social Sciences Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-13674 (URN)978-91-7295-334-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-01-27, J1650, Campus Gräsvik, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-12-30 Created: 2016-12-29 Last updated: 2017-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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