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2012/2013  KAN-CM_V91  Sustainable Business Strategy and Innovation

English Title
Sustainable Business Strategy and Innovation

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Changes in course schedule may occur
Tuesday 08.00-10.35, week 36-41,43-47
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Christian Erik Kampmann - Department of Innovation and Organizational Economics
Administration: Shi Hua Chen Kold - shc.ino@cbs.dk
Main Category of the Course
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 19-03-2013
Learning objectives
Upon completing the course, the student should be able to
1. describe, classify and critically discuss the concept of sustainability for products, services, technologies, and business practices,
2. explain the systemic nature of sustainability and the sources of uncertainty and controversy this gives rise to,
3. account for the basic principles of assessing sustainability, such as environmental impact assessment, such as life cycle analysis, cradle-to-crade, carbon accounting, and the triple bottom line,
4. account for the variety of “greentech” innovations and industries and the various ways in which the systemic nature of sustainability manifests in these industries,
5. describe, classify and critically discuss the theories, methods, and models of company strategy and innovation strategy selected for the course (henceforth “theories” for short), both as they apply in general to the “greentech” area and, when prompted, as they would apply to a specific example,
6. apply the theories to a detailed real-world greentech innovation case in the mini-project by presenting relevant facts and context of the case and identifying the key problems, justifying the choice of theories and relevant data, using the theories to analyze the chosen problem, providing tentative managerial implications, and critically reflecting upon the theories used and provide suggestions for extending or combining theories to better fit the problem at hand.
The course is open to students in the CBS cand.merc./M.Sc. program or equivalent. Some prior exposure to business strategy and innovation is an advantage but not strictly required.
Sustainable Business Strategy and Innovation:
Type of test Oral with Written Assignment
Marking scale 7-step scale
Second examiner Second internal examiner
Exam period December/January and February, Prefer late December or early January. Key requirement: must not clash with exams of other two minor courses B112 and Ø64.
Aids Open Book, Written Aid is permitted
Duration 20 Minutes
Course content

The urgent need for new technologies, products and processes that are environmentally sustainable (“greentech” for short) will fundamentally alter competitive positions in existing industries and at the same time create new commercial opportunities and entirely new markets and industries.  When considering appropriate strategies for innovation and the theoretical frameworks one might apply to develop them, the question naturally arises: What is special about greentech innovations?  How do they differ from other types of innovations?  What theoretical frameworks can point to appropriate innovation strategies?  This course is about the special challenges and opportunities in developing business strategies and creating innovations where sustainability is the key driver.   
We approach the issue in three different ways: 1) By characterizing and categorizing greentech innovations and comparing them to other types of innovations; 2) by applying selected theories, concepts, models, and methods from the general strategy literature to greentech innovation cases; and 3) by presenting additional approaches specifically designed to address greentech innovations and sustainability strategies. 
The first theme includes alternative concepts of sustainability and tools for measuring environmental impact, the significant role of government regulation, public attitudes, the “green consumer” and other stakeholder influences, barriers and drivers of the green payoffs, underlying causes of current controversies, and the implications of the highly systemic nature of sustainability for implementing green technologies.  Thus, some greentech innovations require complex societal changes in order to succeed in the market place. Electric-drivetrain vehicles (EV’s, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen cars), for example, need a new refueling or recharging infrastructure.  And renewable energy sources require a redesign of the entire system of electricity production, distribution, and consumption to accommodate the intermittent decentralized electricity production. 
The second theme is based on selected theories from the strategy and innovation literature, such as industrial-organization economics (Porter), the resource-based view of the firm, strategic alliances, first- and second-mover advantage, platform strategy, and open innovation, all applied to greentech innovation. 
The third theme presents frameworks specifically addressing sustainable innovation such as the “natural resource based view”, systems thinking and system dynamics, environmental management, and alternative classifications of archetypical greentech strategies. 
Having moved through these three perspectives, we will discuss the current frontier of thinking in greentech innovation strategy and where it is moving.

Teaching methods
The course will combine lectures, in-class discussions, project work, and guest lectures. The first part of the course is primarily focused on theoretical frameworks while the second part focuses on applications and includes guest speakers from companies involved in greentech innovations. Active class participation is expected of you: it will greatly enhance your own learning as well of that of your fellow students. The course includes a mini project focused on a particular greentech innovation case where you will apply the frameworks learned.
Student workload
Class attendance and oral exam 30 hours
Miniproject 80 hours
Reading and preparation 115 hours
Further Information
This course is part of the group of electives qualifying you for the “CBS cand.merc./M.Sc. Minor in Sustainable Business”.  For further information, see the description at [insert link to minor description here]
Expected literature
Literature will be based on electronic downloads rather than a printed compendium (to save paper and retain flexibility).

  • Ambec, S; Lanoie, P (2008): Does It Pay to Be Green? A Systematic Overview Academy of Management Perspectives, 22 (4): 45-62. (18 p). --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 35590353)
  • Braungart, M; McDonough, W; Bollinger A, 2007, Cradle-to-cradle design: creating healthy emissions – a strategy for eco-effective product and system design. Journal of Cleaner Production 15: 1337-1348. --- Source: ScienceDirect (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2006.08.003)
  • Chesbrough, H.W. and M.M Appleyard (2007): Open Innovation and Strategy, California Management Review, 50: 57-76. (21 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 27340265)
  • Christensen, Clayton M., Heiner Baumann, Rudy Ruggles, and Thomas M. Sadtler. 2006. Disruptive Innovation for Social Change. Harvard Business Review 84, no. 12: 94-101. --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 23081431)
  • Dattee, B; Weil, H. (2007) Dynamics of Social Factors in Technological Substitutions, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 74: 579-607. --- Source: ScienceDirect (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2007.03.003)
  • Day, G.S.; Schoemaker, P.J.H. (2011)  Innovating in uncertain markets: 10 lessons for green technologies, MIT Sloan Management Review 52(4).
  • Dyer, J. H. and H. Singh (1998): The Relational View: Cooperative Strategy and Sources of Inter organizational competitive advantage, Academy of Management Review, 23 (17 p.)  --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 1255632)
  • Ehrenfeld, John R (2005) The Roots of Sustainability. MIT Sloan Management Review 46, no. 2: 23-25 (3 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 15903124) or download (http://sloanreview.mit.edu.esc-web.lib.cbs.dk/the-magazine/files/pdfs/46207SxW.pdf)
  • Esty, D.C., Winston, A.S. (2009) Why Environmental Initiatives Fail, Ch. 10 in Green to gold: How smart companies use environmental strategy to innovate, create value, and build competitive advantage, paperback edition, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, p. 235-259. --- Source: Sitescape (PDF file)
  • Foxon, T.J., R. Gross, A. Chase, J. Howes, A. Arnall, and D. Anderson. 2005. UK innovation systems for new and renewable energy technologies: drivers, barriers and systems failures. Energy Policy 33, no. 16: 2123-2137. --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 19981178)
  • Gawer, Annabelle, and Michael A. Cusumano. 2008. How Companies Become Platform Leaders. (cover story). MIT Sloan Management Review 49, no. 2: 28-35. --- Source: Download (PDF file)
  • Hall, J. and H. Vredenburg (2003): The Challenge of Innovation for Sustainable Development, MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall: 61-68. (8 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 11162971)
  • Hart, S.L. (1997): Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World, Harvard Business Review, January-February: 66-76. (11 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 9706130739)
  • Kates, R., Parris, T. & Leiserowitz, A. (2005). What is Sustainable Development? Environment 47(3): 8–21 --- Source: Download (http://www.hks.harvard.edu/sustsci/ists/docs/whatisSD_env_kates_0504.pdf)
  • Kolk, A. and J. Pinkse (2005): Business Responses to Climate Change: Identifying Emergent Strategies, California Management Review, 47 (3): 6-20. (15 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 17070057)
  • Markides, Costas and Geroski, Paul A. (2004) Racing to be 2nd, Business Strategy Review, Winter, pp. 25-31 --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 15073317)
  • McKinsey & Co. (2011) The business of sustainability.  McKinsey quarterly, Oct. 2011.  ( http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Energy_Resources_Materials/Environment/The_business_of_sustainability_McKinsey_Global_Survey_results_2867)
  • McKinsey & Co (2011) Oil’s uncertain future: What you need to know.  McKinsey quarterly, Nov. 2011.
  • McKinsey & Co (2011) Resource Revolution: Meeting the world’s energy, material, food and other needs.  Executive summary.  (http://www.mckinsey.com/Features/Resource_revolution.aspx)
  • Miller, Norm, Jay Spivey, and Andrew Florance (2008) Does Green Pay Off?. Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management 14, no. 4: 385-399 --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 35980207)
  • Nidumolu, Ram, C. K. Prahalad, and M. R. Rangaswami (2009), WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS NOW THE KEY DRIVER OF INNOVATION. (cover story), Harvard Business Review 87, no. 9: 56-64 --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 43831035)
  • Orsato, R. (2009) Chapter 7: Sustainable Value Innovation, in Orsato, R. (2009), Sustainability strategies: When does it pay to be green? Palgrave and MacMillan, INSEAD Business Press: 153-192. --- Source: Sitescape (PDF file)
  • Porter M.E. and M.R. Kramer (2006): Strategy & Society - The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility, Harvard Business Review, December: 78-92. --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 23081414)
  • Porter, Michael E., and Claas van der Linde. 1995. Green and Competitive: Ending the Stalemate. Harvard Business Review 73, no. 5: 120-134. --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 9510041980)
  • Reinhardt, F.L. (1999): Bringing the Environment Down to Earth, Harvard Business Review, July-August: 149-157. (8 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 1980088)
  • Rothenberg, Sandra (2007) Sustainability Through Servicizing. MIT Sloan Management Review 48, no. 2: 83-89 --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 23701517) or download (http://sloanreview.mit.edu/the-magazine/articles/2007/winter/48216/sustainability-through-servicizing/)
  • Rugman, AM; Verbeke, A (1998): Corporate strategies and environmental regulations: An organizing framework. Strategic Management Journal, 19 (4): 363-375 April. (13 p.) --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 522068)
  • Suarez, Fernando, and Gianvito Lanzolla. 2005. The Half-Truth of First-Mover Advantage. Harvard Business Review 83, no. 4: 121-127.  --- Source: EBSCO Host (AN 16572727)
  • Svoboda, Susan (1995) Note on Life Cycle Analysis. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. --- Source: Download (http://www.umich.edu/~nppcpub/resources/compendia/CORPpdfs/CORPlca.pdf)
  • Thøgersen, J. (2011), Green Shopping : For Selfish Reasons or the Common Good? American Behavioral Scientist 55(8): 1052-1076.
  • Walther, G.; Wansart, J.; Kieckhäfer, K.; Schnieder, E.; Spengler, T. (2010) Impact assessment in the automotive industry: Mandatory market introduction of alternative powertrain technologies, System Dynamics Review, 26(3): 239-261. --- Source: Wiley Online Library (doi: 10.1002/sdr.453)
Last updated on 19-03-2013