Challenges for integrating sustainability in risk management – current state of research

DS 87-2 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 2: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Schulte, Jesko; Hallstedt, Sophie
Series: ICED
Institution: Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden
Section: Design Processes, Design Organisation and Management
Page(s): 327-336
ISBN: 978-1-904670-90-2
ISSN: 2220-4342


Numerous examples have shown how environmental and social issues can affect companies to an existential level. In fact, today’s most urgent business risks, e.g. brand value, legislative change, litigation, and supply chain disruptions, are directly linked to sustainability issues. These risks need to be systematically identified and strategically managed on both strategic company- and operational product development level in order for a company to be long-term competitive. Based on literature review and interviews at case companies, this paper investigates the current state for integrating a strategic sustainability perspective in risk management processes and related support tools. Results show that sustainability risks are not consciously identified and managed at the companies. Research is at an early stage and few frameworks and tools exist. Based on the findings, the study identifies and provides a comprehensive analysis of challenges for sustainability integration, which work as a foundation for future research. Finally, key steps to advance understanding and methods in sustainability risk management are suggested.

Keywords: Risk management, Sustainability, Ecodesign, Sustainable product development, Strategic sustainable development


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