This paper explores the co-evolution between societal sustainability transitions and fundamental shifts within individuals businesses.We argue that there is an emergent trend of businesses and industries that move beyond optimizing the organization's individual performance by mitigating negative environmental and social impacts, to fundamentally restructuring and rethinking existing businesses in light of broader societal changes. Arguably, the frontrunner businesses that orient themselves towards sustainable market transitions develop a competitive advantage by co-creating these sustainable markets and on the short term develop renewed ambition and enthusiasm. By means of the transition framework, we argue that the fundamental societal changes emerging lead to a new phase in corporate responsibility, implying fundamental transitions within businesses. Based on this perspective and the transition management approach we explore how businesses might proactively engage with sustainability transitions in their direct context and link these to internal business transitions. We illustrate this framework of business transition management in a number of interlinked activities based on an experimental participatory case study of the transition in the Dutch roof sector.

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Journal of Cleaner Production
Erasmus School of Economics

Loorbach, D., & Wijsman, K. (2013). Business transition management: Exploring a new role for business in sustainability transitions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 45, 20–28. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2012.11.002