Voices of the Network: What Issues Do You Care About?
Network for Business Sustainability members identified their top challenges, from effective individual action to systems change.
Last summer, Network for Business Sustainability staff consulted you, the managers and researchers in our network. Why? To learn which issues you see as important for business.
The result: You shared more than 20 topics, ranging from individual action to systemic change. We’re providing the list of topics to show what your peers are thinking about. We also encourage researchers to use this list to focus their work on areas useful to practice.
Over the coming months, NBS staff will look for ways to cover these issues with frontier knowledge. If you are a manager or researcher already doing work in these areas, please contact us
. We’d love to consider ways that your insights can be shared.
We wanted input from managers leading front-line sustainability work, so, we surveyed 100 of our most engaged newsletter subscribers for their top three sustainability challenges. We received responses from 20 individuals, spanning eight countries and eight sectors.
We also reached out to researchers who collaborate with managers. This kind of “co-creation” produces evidence-based knowledge on challenges that matter to business. We surveyed researchers at 150 sustainability research centres
around the world about their co-creation projects. We heard about 24 projects, spanning more than 15 countries.
NBS exists to bring together managers and researchers, so, we invited all survey respondents to discuss these topics in virtual focus groups. Participants connected with like-minded peers, in some cases sharing contact information for future collaboration. And NBS staff got an in-depth look at what our members need.
Some of the challenges discussed are ones that managers have been grappling with for years, but whose solutions remain difficult to implement. In many cases, NBS has already produced comprehensive research on these, but we will keep seeking opportunities to share frontier knowledge. Here are some examples:
Other challenges raised reflect recent changes in the business landscape. For example, NBS members are seeking strategic responses to emerging technologies (think blockchain) and business models (think circular economy). They’re also seeking a better understanding of how to advance particular systemic changes (think transition to a low-carbon economy).
NBS staff often map sustainability challenges into three categories – those that are addressed within an organization
, between organizations
and with society
. We put members’ challenges in these groups. (Some members also asked what they can do as individuals
leading sustainability efforts. We included a category for that too.)
Without further ado, here are the questions we heard.
- Al Thibeault, Amistra Consulting Ltd., Canada
- Ans Kolk, University of Amsterdam Business School, Netherlands
- Bob Willard, Sustainability Advantage, Canada
- Chaminda Wijethilake, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka
- Christopher Thomas, Occidental Petroleum, United States
- Daniela Ortiz, FHWien der WKW University of Applied Sciences for Management & Communication, Austria
- David Milia, Haskayne School of Business, Canada
- Fabio Carnelli, Independent Consultant, Italy
- Farzana Chowdhury, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, United States
- Ferdinand Revellio, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany
- Jenny Lieu, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
- Jessica Yinka Thomas, North Carolina State University, United States
- Joanne Norris, Social Value Canada and Futurpreneur Canada, Canada
- Joerg Hofstetter, KEDGE Business School, France
- Lori DiVito, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
- Lyn Brown, Alberta Innovates, Canada
- Markus Strangmüeller, Siemens AG, Germany
- Martina Linnenluecke, Macquarie University, Australia
- Melissa Zaksek, Erb Institute, University of Michigan, United States
- Nathan Maycher, Suncor Energy, Canada
- P.S. Narayan, Wipro Ltd, India
- Paul Bubelis, Sustainability Network, Canada
- Peter Smalley, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada
- Pilar Acosta, Universidad ICESI, Colombia
- Ralph Hamann, University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Rod Lohin, Rotman School of Management, Canada
- Stephanie Bertels, Simon Fraser University, Canada
- Subhasis Ray, Xavier University, India
- Terry Nelidov, Erb Institute, University of Michigan, United States
We also appreciate the contributions of 16 other individuals whose names are not included above.