The Future of Research on Sustainability in Management

On November 4, 2016, I was invited to speak at the 2016 Ivey Sustainability Conference. This one-day event was organized by Diane-Laure Arjalies, Oana Branzei, and Tima Bansal (all from Ivey Business School). Other invited faculty included Fabrizio Ferraro (IESE Business School) and Donal Crilly (London Business School). Several students, post doctoral research fellows, and faculty from Ivey Business School also made presentations.

The day concluded with a plenary session: “The Future of Research on Sustainability in Management.” Donal, Fabrizio, and I were each asked to submit a picture that captured our answers to five questions. The slides I prepared to accompany my remarks are available in a previous post. Today, Ivey Business School posted some video clips from the session to YouTube.

1. What do you think is the current position of sustainability in the management research landscape?

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Connecting Innovation with Sustainability

Professors Tima Bansal (Ivey Business School), Joel Gehman (University of Alberta), and Marie-France Turcotte (Université du Québec à Montréal) have been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to help companies connect innovation with sustainability. In this Q&A, the researchers discuss why this work is so important, what it will accomplish, and how businesses can get involved.

Q1. Why do innovation and sustainability need to go together? How hard is it to accomplish this in business?

Answer: Sustainability is about creating shared value—value for the business and for society simultaneously. It means business activities benefit a range of stakeholders—shareholders, employees, the community, society, the ecosystem—today and over time.

But if sustainability was easy, everyone would be doing it well. It’s not easy. It’s complex and it’s uncertain. In an effort to simplify, firms often think about sustainability as an ‘add on’ to what they’re already doing. This approach results in a vastly distorted picture of a firm’s long-term sustainability potential.

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2016 Ivey Sustainability Conference Plenary Talk

Today, I participated in the 2016 Ivey Sustainability Conference. This one-day event was organized by Diane-Laure Arjalies, Oana Branzei, and Tima Bansal (all from Ivey Business School). Other invited faculty included Fabrizio Ferraro (IESE Business School) and Donal Crilly (London Business School). The day concluded with a plenary session: “The Future of Research on Sustainability in Management.” Donal, Fabrizio, and I were each asked to submit a picture that captured our answers to five questions:

  1. What do you think is the current position of sustainability in the management research landscape?
  2. What do you believe are the current trends in research on sustainability?
  3. Which areas/methods/topics do you think will be topical in the coming decade?
  4. What would you personally like to see in 10 years?
  5. Where do you see yourself as an academic in 15 years?

Below are the slides I prepared.