Department of Management Studies

Sustainability in Business (SUB)

Our mission is to provide knowledge about innovative business models and transition paths that enhance sustainable development. As complex sustainability challenges call for multi-disciplinary knowledge and societally impactful research, we co-create solution proposals together with partners from different sectors of society.
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Research areas

Energy transitions

Renewable energy production and storage technologies change the way we produce and use energy, do business with it, and innovate.

Solar panels in front of mountains

Innovation for poverty alleviation

Frugal innovations by businesses in resource-scarce environments are one promising approach to poverty alleviation.

Two people hauling bags in Brazil

Innovation for sustainability

The innovation of new sustainable products, services, business models and forms of consumption can help tackle big problems like climate change and resource depletion.

Car parked at electric charging station

Circular economy

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

Recycling bins

Corporate responsibility

Ethical issues are urgent in our globalized world where the public and civil governance of businesses is often underdeveloped and firms are located in different national regulatory systems.

CSR news articles

New economy

Broader descriptions of economy, work and money are being developed that can help our economy function better.

Palms with sustainability pictures drawn on them

Publications

The latest publications from SUB researchers

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Sustainability teaching

Sustainability course offerings in the School of Business

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SUB seminar series

The SUB lunchtime seminar series provides a monthly forum for all interested to discuss topical research in social and environmental issues in management.

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Seminar schedule 2019-2020

Spring 2020

Wednesday 26.2, 12.30-13.30
Aalto Business School (Ekonominaukio 1), room U213

Simone Carmine, University of Padua
Being the Turtle: A Paradox Approach to Foster Sustainability

Nowadays many companies are implementing sustainability strategies, driven by stakeholder pressure, regulations or intrinsic motivations. However, in doing so, they may face challenges in balancing environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability (e.g. environmental and social performance VS economic performance) and this can weaken their sustainability performance. Usually, in addressing sustainability tensions organizations adopt a business case perspective, which emphasizes the economic element over the other two. However, in recent years a new perspective is emerging in the literature: a paradox perspective on corporate sustainability. Scholars are investigating how individuals and companies are able to live with these tensions and purse competing sustainability goals simultaneously. So, first, the project aims to understand how scholars are adopting this perspective to study sustainability tensions. Through a systematic review of existing literature, we have highlighted three main uses of paradox perspective: a detective approach, a sensemaking approach and a managerial one. Secondly, as we know from the literature, approaching tensions in a paradoxically way can lead to creative and innovative solutions. For these reasons we have investigated empirically how a paradox perspective can help companies to cope with tensions in sustainability, achieving sustainability innovative outcomes and better sustainability performance. A quantitative analysis has been performed on original survey data - from Italian companies in textile, chemicals and basic metals sectors - on paradox perspective, innovation and performance in sustainability. Our analysis revels a positive effect of the paradoxical approach to sustainability tensions on sustainability performance. Finally, through a qualitative study we want to deepen these results and investigate how companies with a high paradox perspective are able to achieve better innovative solutions to sustainability tensions.

Awards and highlights

Minna Halme

HSE Support Foundation Societal Impact Award, 2019

Elizabeth Miller

Thesis "Trash to Treasure: A Multiple Case Study of Finnish Companies That Create Economic Value from Waste Materials" received award for top university master's thesis, Association for Environmental Management (Ymparistöjohtamisen yhdistys ry), 2018

Samuli Patala and Minna Halme

Article "Polycentric Governance of Privately Owned Resources in Circular Economy Systems" received Carolyn Dexter Award for international papers, Academy of Management 2018

Jouni Juntunen, Minna Halme, Angelina Korsunova and Risto Rajala

Article "Powering sustainable innovations: Strategies for collaborating with deviant partners" won Best Academic Paper at R&D Management Conference 2016, University of Cambridge

Minna Halme, Sara Lindeman and Paula Linna

Article "Innovation for Inclusive Business: Intrapreneurial Bricolage in Multinational Corporations", Journal of Management Studies, 2012 received the Emerald Citations of Excellence for 2015

The latest from SUB

Dive deeper into SUB's work through our blog posts and news articles.

Creative Sustainability included in Financial Times’ list of best practices for sustainability in business schools

School of Business was included among the best practices for sustainability in teaching and student projects.

Creative sustainability students brainstorming

Kicking off the "Better Business - Better Society" series

Researchers and partners from the Finix sustainable textile system project, co-led by SUB scholars, kicked off the Aalto Business School "Better Business - Better Society" seminar series.

Cellulose-based fabric from the Ioncell process

SUB researchers to present at the Academy of Management conference in Boston

From August 9-13, several members of the SUB research group will participate in the 79th annual meeting of the Academy of Management in Boston, USA. They will join scholars from across the world to share and discuss the latest research on the conference theme Understanding the Inclusive Organization, examining how organizations impact communities on many different dimensions, from the psychological to the ecological.

Academy of Management 2019 logo

SUB researchers lead new sustainable textiles consortium

Researchers from the Sustainability in Business (SUB) research group are leading one of Aalto’s three consortia funded in the latest round of grants from the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council.

Rolls of fabric in warehouse

Many Shades of Cocreation: Research Designs for Collaboration

When academics and practitioners work together on research, there’s no standard template to follow. Aalto researchers provide a model.

Nanomaji water filters in East Africa

'The solutions for circular economy are not achieved alone'

A circular economy workshop series develops new collaborations between engineers and business researchers.

Circular economy workshop Dilemmas of disassembly Photo: Outi Puukko

How to accelerate the circular economy

It sounds simple — one business’s waste becomes another’s input. But the reality is challenging. Three case studies provide best practices.

Bales of paper and cardboard waste

Aalto sustainability news

a microscopic view of the bonding process when water is mixed with select plant-based particles
Research & Art, University Published:

The combination of plant-based particles and water forms an “eco” super-glue

In a collaboration between Aalto and other research institutions, a new, ecological adhesive has been developed that rivals superglue in strength
Sähköauto Zoe
Campus, University Published:

Pricing principle for charging electric cars to change

The pricing principle for the charging of electric cars on campus will change on Friday, February 28 at 16.00 (4:00 pm). Instead of the previously used time-based charge, you will be charged based on how much energy you use.
Group of students jumping in the air
Studies Published:

Join Aalto Ventures Program Summer Course - Creating Multidimensional Experiences!

Aalto Ventures Program Summer Course Creating Multidimensional Experiences will be running again in August 2020 – signup is now open!
Kiertotalouslaboratorio, Ted Nuorivaara
Press releases Published:

A joint laboratory of circular economy was opened in Otaniemi

The Geological Survey of Finland, VTT and Aalto University work together with industry to develop solutions for the needs of a carbon-neutral and resource-efficient society.

Events

Banner for AVP Masterclass: Planet Centric Design
Conferences and workshops

AVP Masterclass: From User Centric to Planet Centric Design

Join to learn more about the PCD philosophy and grab yourself new additions to your design toolbox!
Climate University goes Otaniemi banner
Conferences and workshops

Innovations and Creativity in Climate Education

The two-day seminar displays Aalto University’s current experience in climate education, especially highlighting innovations, entrepreneurship and arts.
Sustainability Science Days 2020
Conferences and workshops

Sustainability Science Days 2020: Destruction & creativity

The Sustainability Science Days is a two-day conference organised jointly by Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science and Aalto Sustainability Hub. The conference will concentrate on radical changes that are indispensable for creative solutions to the present sustainability crisis.
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Lectures and seminars

Aalto Ventures Program Summer Course - Creating Multidimensional Experiences

Learn to create immersive experiences in a multidisciplinary team of international students, working together towards a sustainable future.

Get in touch

Address

Väre, Otaniementie 14
02150 Espoo

Contact

Elizabeth Miller
[email protected]

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