Research Questions & Methodology

Currently, leaders and organizations which wish to embark on a journey towards sustainability face two major challenges:

a) they don’t understand the required paradigm shift, and
b) they do not know how to go about it.

BCG[1] reports that almost all executives think that sustainability would have an impact on their business, although the majority of them say that their companies are not acting decisively in exploiting opportunities and mitigating associated risks. 70% of these executives stated that their company does not have a clear business case for sustainability.

The research project complements the 50+20 visionary work by providing insights on what we consider the key three organizational challenges of the coming decade:

  • How to move from business-as-usual to business sustainability (based on existing research)
  • How to embrace and adapt to the new paradigm (based on emerging best practices)
  • How to make the great leap of becoming a truly sustainable organization (based input from pioneers)

Research Approach & Methodology

The collaborative activities include:

1)  Analysis of the current situation:

  • Literature review
  • Analysis of current major trends and issues
  • Clinical work with companies

2)  Conceptual research to determine the vision and establish the gap between the current and required future paradigm:

  • Archival work (of initiatives and projects)
  • Comparative analysis
  • Whole system meetings

3)  Collaborative in-company field experiments:

  • Case study of best practices
  • Experimental work to try out innovative practices through deep change interventions around enabling / hindering factors based on action research and engaged scholarship methodologies

Research Questions

In our research, we aim to explore questions such as:

Question 1: What does business sustainability mean in the context of the coming decades?
Objective: The creation of models of organizations embodying business sustainability

Question 2: What do such organizations look like?
Objective: The creation of organizational sustainability frameworks for business transformation

Question 3: How do we rate organizations in this process of transformation?
Objective: The creation of a global sustainability index

Question 4: What are the challenges for industries /organizations / leaders during this transformation?
Objective: The creation of implementation strategies by industry/region and stage of transformation

 [1] BCG (2009): The business of sustainability, September 2009, The Boston Consulting Group, Boston