The Research Unit on "Sustainable Enterprise" initially has the following basic lines of research, which guide its projects and activities:
Balanced scorecard for sustainable enterprise governance
The bodies responsible for corporate governance and management are beginning to acknowledge the need to expand and rebalance the set of indicators used to monitor company performance. Alongside the classic indicators, they are starting to include others that provide more information about the company’s future. The goal of this research project is to see how sustainability can be taken into account in this more comprehensive set of indicators.
One of the unmistakable characteristics of sustainable enterprise is its greater openness to the environment and its firmer commitment to the wider system to which business belongs. In this connection, maintaining an open, honest and fluid dialogue with stakeholders is becoming increasingly important. Equally vital is the need to manage this dialogue and see to it that the results are taken into account in companies’ strategy formulation and innovation processes. One of the goals of this line of research is to develop a model that will help companies to manage their stakeholder dialogue effectively and the impact it has on their strategy development and innovation processes.
Governance of sustainable enterprise
In recent years various initiatives have been undertaken to improve corporate governance. Along similar lines, we aim to contribute to the debate on why and how sustainability should be taken on board by companies' senior governance bodies.
Impact of environmental and social issues on companies' value creation processes
From a social and ethical point of view there can be little doubt that companies need to adopt a broader understanding of their role in society. But what impact will this broader understanding have on companies' ability to generate economic value? This line of research sets out to answer this question.
Impact of government on sustainability in companies
As many studies have shown, government is the environmental factor with the greatest influence on companies’ contribution to sustainable development. We aim to develop a simulation model to determine what kind of government action is most likely to have a favorable impact on that contribution.
Social entrepreneurship (SE) understood as initiatives aimed at both social and economic wealth creation is not a new phenomenon but only recently have researchers started investigating this topic more systematically. Our objective is to apply scientific rigor to studying the phenomenon of SE such that we create fundamental learning and understanding that can be transferred to businesses in profit/nonprofit organizations, local entrepreneurs, large multinationals and academia. We believe that significant learning can be generated for large established firms to diversify their value creation potential and to discover opportunities with respect to multiple dimensions of performance.
Socially responsible investment
The creation of investment indexes such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Family Indexes or the FTSE4Good, together with the growth in socially responsible investment funds, has attracted a lot of attention in companies. The goal of this line of research is to monitor this issue and its influence on companies.
The role that companies now play as the basic building blocks of the economic and social fabric makes them probably the most important players in the drive towards sustainable development. Yet it remains unclear in what way companies have changed, nor in what ways they still need to change, in order to assist the transition to a more sustainable model of development.
The base of the pyramid (BOP) as a source of business opportunities
The 4 billion people who make up the base of the social pyramid have traditionally been ignored by business. Still, a few pioneering companies have shown that it is possible to create businesses at the BOP and have even come to realize that the BOP represents their best option for profitable growth. This new attitude may be one of the factors that will contribute most effectively to the much needed social development of the BOP.