Lost in Transitions: Sustainability Strategies and Social Contexts

University dissertation from IIIEE, Lund university

Abstract: Corporations are increasingly asked to provide innovative solutions to address environmental and social concerns, such as persistent poverty, pollution and climate change. The paradox in this call is that within the current economic logic, most companies will continue to find working at these interfaces problematic. Some sort of tension is inevitable because of the conflicting and competing demands on corporations. Using the construct of sustainability strategies, this thesis goes behind the tension. From cases in emerging economies to cases of radical sustainability innovations, the thesis explores the variety of motives, the role of culture, national institutions and industry structures in modulating organisational strategies at the interfaces with the natural environment and the wider public good. It, further, questions the degree to which business strategy can play a role in system innovation for sustainability. The practical implications of this thesis concern how the role of corporations can be made more effective given the competitive market conditions, the heterogeneity of contexts in which corporations operate and the changing nature of demands and expectations on corporations across industries, geographies and time.

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