Department of Management Studies

Innovation for sustainability

Innovating new sustainable products, services, business models and forms of consumption can help tackle global challenges.
A girl and a man selling items in Brazil

Pressing global problems like climate change, natural resource depletion, or poverty and inequality cannot be solved by tinkering around with business as usual. We study innovative solutions to material and energy challenges and to social issues like marginalization, exclusion, and inequality.

Our focus is on the innovation of new sustainable products, services, business models and forms of consumption. From circular economy and material efficiency to the sharing economy and collaborative consumption, we look at how new models can transform businesses and economies to increase the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants.  

Due to the systemic nature of ecological and social challenges, sustainability-oriented innovating is increasingly collaborative. Our recent work therefore zooms into collaborative sustainability innovating of business firms and their stakeholders. As the world of business is not a vacuum, we also investigate transitions in institutional contexts that nurture or impede transitions to sustainable business models.

Innovation for poverty alleviation

Poverty is a dire social problem globally. Innovative solutions for poverty alleviation are needed at many levels. Frugal innovations by businesses in resource-scarce environments are one promising approach.

Frugal water, energy, food or shelter innovations can improve the lives of underserved communities. But developing sustainable, system-level solutions requires co-creation and an inclusive approach. When partners from poor communities, NGOs, academia and governments co-create innovations, they are more likely to stick and provide higher benefits for all. We study and participate in such co-creative endeavours, seeking to tackle poverty and increase wellbeing.

Ongoing projects

Past projects


Research areas

Solar panels in front of mountains

Sustainability transitions

Our research looks at several dimensions of the transition toward sustainability societies.

Department of Management Studies
Recycling bins

Circular economy

Circular economy keeps materials in use longer using strategies like reuse, remanufacture, recycling, and replacing ownership with rentals.

Department of Management Studies
CSR news articles

Corporate responsibility

Cross-national governance of businesses make ethical issues urgent.

Department of Management Studies
Sustainability in Business (SUB)
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