Innovating sustainability at centre of NBS report

By Communications Staff
December 18, 2012

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A new report released by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), a research group based at the Richard Ivey School of Business, reveals the 39 practices businesses can use to foster innovation.

Based on a review of more than 127 studies from the last 20 years, Innovating Sustainability provides tangible, real-world practices to reduce costs and drive revenues while improving impacts on people and the environment. It also includes a three-stage framework for business leaders to assess their progress.

“The majority of the companies we reviewed fell in Stage 1, which emphasizes using technological fixes to reduce harm. Examples of ‘techno-fixes’ include incremental innovations like waste diversion and energy efficient lighting,” said Richard Adams, University of Exeter (UK), lead author of the report. “But the 39 practices in this report can help companies maximize innovation at any stage.”

Examples of more radical innovations include replacing your products with services, selling your garbage to other companies and collaborating with competitors, lobbyists and environmental groups – the same organizations normally seen as antagonists.

“This report shows all companies – large or small, private or public – can take steps to innovate,” said Ivey Management professor Tima Bansal, NBS executive director, who commissioned the report. “Companies are always looking to grow, and this research offers insights into the next area of growth.”

This report addressed one of the 2012 Top 10 Canadian business sustainability challenges identified by NBS’s Leadership Council, an exclusive group of 18 Canadian organizations recognized for their leadership and commitment to sustainable business.


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