In an economy that needs three globes to satisfy our needs, the necessity to change is obvious. Sustainability is a newly developing field in management science that focusses on the question how the economic system can transform into a more durable system. While in the early Promethean view, capitalism and the industrialization dominated the economic system, it is now running obsolete as: economic growth no longer captures welfare, natural resources are exhausting, waste and pollution press the environment and poverty and human inequality grow. In a call to sustain humanity and preserve nature, the topic of sustainability emerged.

In organizations, sustainability becomes an important topic as well. Primarily this phenomenon emerged in the chemical industry where companies sought to improve their image. Nowadays reporting on the sustainable practices is crucial to gain legitimacy as a firm (see this article). The increased transparency in the economy, thanks to digitalization, forces organizations to disclose information and act responsibly.

This area draws on trends in the economy that enhance durability such as:

  • Self-production (see this article)
  • Functionality
  • Circularity
  • Digitalization – automatization – robotization
  • Internet of Things – M2M communication
  • Sharing resources
  • Bio-mass
  • Utilities: energy – waste – water