A new dissertation has been made at the University of Vaasa, Finland that shows how sustainable development can efficiently be combined into company businesses. The dissertation gives company leaders practical tools for guiding and managing the processes.
Combining sustainability into business is often felt as a challenge, if not even impossible. Environmental aspects and social responsibility are seen as opposite requirements compared to financial targets of a company. The ever more stringent environmental legislation and the development of perception of morale are forcing business leaders to think about how they should develop their leadership.
Juha Kytölä is defending his PhD thesis from the department of Industrial Management. He has analysed shipyards located in Asia and made research on how to combine sustainable development into management of innovations in ship building. The research shows that the strongest driver towards sustainability is top management followed by company strategies and legislation. Additionally, competitiveness of the product offering in the eyes of the customers has an important role.
The research identified 13 drivers that shall be taken into account when developing operations towards sustainability. The perspective of time is different for various drivers. Some drivers like management decisions or strategy can be impacted immediately whilst some may take a long time to be effected. Some drivers – like legislation – are such which the management has hardly any possibilities to impact.
The research of Kytölä is defining the ways by which a company can combine environmental efficiency, social responsibility and financial targets. Kytölä has created a practical to do –list which guides the managers to lead their companies towards sustainability. The list contains activities in priority order and is pointing out such actions which require long-lasting efforts to bring results.