How to Incorporate Long-Term Impacts into Today's Decisions

How can firms advance sustainable business by incorporating long-term impacts into today’s decisions?
Rick Bunch September 24, 2017
How can firms advance sustainable business by incorporating long-term impacts into today’s decisions? In some ways this question is the holy grail of sustainable business, highlighting the tension between numerous financial, competitive, cultural and other drivers that focus managerial attention on short-term results, against the firm’s long-term prosperity served by meeting the needs of society and the natural environment.

Abundant academic research, some of it focused specifically on sustainability topics, has gone into how firms make decisions for the long term. NBS recently launched an ambitious project to compile, analyze and summarize the best relevant research and provide frameworks for business decision makers to implement that knowledge. Several sub-questions have been defined to frame the effort: 
Results of this “systematic review” will be published in the fall of 2014, initially as research report and executive summary companion pieces, with targeted communications to follow over time.

NBS's lead investigator for this project is Dr. David Souder, of the University of Connecticut School of Business. Dr. Souder is an expert on how firms balance conflicting priorities for achieving short-term results against making the long-term investments necessary to develop for the future. He and his team are currently reviewing research identified through keyword searches of academic and other databases, and will begin to assess and synthesize the best-quality work starting in April.

Related Resources

Executive Report

This report provides a three-step process to balance short and long-term actions, cases, common obstacles to long-term action, and ways to overcome them.

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Systematic Review

This NBS research outlines factors affecting short and long-term thinking in business, respective impacts, and remaining research needs. 

NBS
Primer

Use this primer to introduce your colleagues and industry peers to the topic of long-term thinking or simply familiarize yourself with long-termism basics.

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