“This book offers innovative ideas and frameworks for sustainable strategizing to advance business by scaling-up its positive impact, which is so urgently needed at this time in the 21st century. It shows practitioners how to effectively deal with socio-ecological systems’ disruptions to their operating environments and play an active role in transforming markets toward a sustainable future.

In short, the book demonstrates how to make business sense of sustainability, highlighting new approaches and examples that translate sustainability into strategy and action. The ultimate goal is to provide a path toward a thriving future for both business and society.”

Cham, CH: Springer Nature 2019.

“This book shows how sustainability can be integrated into business strategies and executed successfully. It reveals the relevance of socioecological requirements for the competition advantages of tomorrow. Sustainable strategizing strives for a symbiosis between economic, ecological and social value creation. It is less about moral or ethical aspects, but about identifying and seizing entrepreneurial opportunities. Whether it is shared value, social innovation or sustainable business models – in essence all new business management concepts have a key message: A company can improve its competitiveness and be economically successful in the long run by systematically doing good for society with its core business.”

Sustainability management has been established in many companies of all industries for years. (“commoditization”).

Despite all the efforts, the conditions of our ecological and social systems are not significantly improving. We live in the age of the Anthropocene.

For companies, the subsequent related developments in politics, economy and society increase the pressure and urgency to act strategically.

In the future economic success will only be possible with an effective management of the ecological and social impacts (“externalities”).

The upcoming sustainability transformation creates a variety of business opportunities for companies that provide real solutions (“positive impact”).

Approaches to the integration of strategy and sustainability as well as technological solutions exist.

The next level of sustainability requires strategic leadership with an authentic commitment

to positive impact and an integration of sustainability into the management systems.


The two key drivers of transformation, digitalization and sustainability, evolve rapidly, emerge simultaneously, and are potentially disruptive. Companies can integrate and control them in sustainable data-based business ecosystems. Thus, they create economic, ecological and social value as a basis for future competitive advantages, according to Prof. Dr. Thomas Wunder in this video.


The 4th International Conference on New Business Models hosted by Florian Lüdeke-Freund and his Chair for Corporate Sustainability at ESCP Europe Berlin brought together 186 business model and sustainability experts from 30+ countries. See the ABC Panel Discussion on „Rethinking Strategic Management: Can business lead the way to a sustainable future?“ led by Thomas Wunder.


Why sustainable strategizing is so important today – and who is already successful with it. Abstract of a presentation at the 19th Annual Conference on Strategic Management of Horváth & Partners, May 16, 2019. Published online by Haufe Controllerpraxis.

All PDFs of publications are password-protected.

All publications are in German if not stated otherwise.


You will get access to selected publications upon request via publications@sustainup.com

Strategic transformation to sustilience: learning from COVID-19

Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 14 (2021), No. 3, pp. 331-351

The authors adapt the “wedding cake” model of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and their relationships to the concept of “dynamic materiality” in both an organizational as well as a macro perspective. In addition, the authors introduce the word sustilience to describe an organization’s combined ability to achieve “sustainability” through relatively stable conditions as well as the “resilience” to rebound after major external shocks.

Assessment of the future viability of business models. Evaluating and designing business models for a sustainable future

Zeitschrift Fuehrung + Organisation (zfo), vol. 90 (2021), no. 3, pp. 178-182

Sustainability has become a social and political trend with pull effect that companies cannot ignore any longer. This is confirmed by the regulatory requirements for a sustainable development on an international and national level as well as by changing stakeholder expectations. Established business models are under high scrutiny and must be evaluated systematically for their future viability by companies, investors and banks.

The leap to the next level of sustainability. How “Purpose” effectively supports the strategic sustainability transformation

Controlling, vol. 33, special issue spring 2021, pp. 66–73

Disruptive socioecological developments put established business models to the test. Much that was previously non-transparent and for free becomes comprehensible and expensive in future. Purpose could be an emotional driver for the necessary transformation process. Embedded in the company in a way that is relevant to decision-making, purpose helps to overcome structural and cultural inertia.

Integrated Strategy Map. How to effectively integrate and describe strategy and sustainability

Zeitschrift Fuehrung + Organisation (zfo), vol. 89 (2020), no. 6, pp. 403406
The speed of change and the extent of global sustainability problems raise the pressure on companies to act. Apart from generating profits, innovative solutions for ecological and social problems of our times are increasingly expected. An Integrated Strategy Map combines these issues with economic aspects to a masterplan for the strategic sustainability transformation of the company.

Data-based business ecosystems and sustainability. Approaches for an integrated design and control

Controlling, vol. 32, special issue fall 2021, pp. 92–97

The two key transformation drivers digitalization and sustainability evolve rapidly, emerge simultaneously and are potentially disruptive. Companies can integrate and control them in sustainable data-based business ecosystems. Thus, they create economic, ecological and social value as a basis for future competitive advantages, as presented in this article.

Sustainable Strategizing 2.0. Designing and managing the strategic transformation

Zeitschrift Fuehrung + Organisation (zfo), vol. 89 (2020), no. 2, pp. 110–113

Digitalization and sustainability are the key transformation drivers today.

Both have to be integrated into the business strategies in order to prepare for and actively shape fundamental changes in economy and society. A strategic transformation program ensures that companies remain successful in a digital and sustainable world.

Future Fit Business Benchmark. Evaluating and improving the viability of the company

Zeitschrift Fuehrung + Organisation (zfo), vol. 88 (2019), no. 4, pp. 251–255
Companies have to prepare their businesses for a sustainable future. The Future Fit Business Benchmark reveals through ecological and social “future fit” objectives how far you are from a truly sustainable company. Combined with economic objectives and selected strategy tools it supports future-oriented corporate development.

Future symbiosis

Business Intelligence Magazine, 2/2019, pp. 36–39
Companies have to prepare for a digital world and a sustainable future. To master both at the same time requires new strategic thinking and management approaches. Their objective has to be a sustainable symbiosis of economic and societal value creation.

Sustainable business models. Combining economic with societal value creation

Zeitschrift Fuehrung + Organisation (zfo), vol. 86 (2017), no. 6, pp. 389–393

Intelligently interlinking economic, ecological and social value creation is a strategic opportunity for ensuring the viability of a company – as well as of society.

With sustainable business models the symbiosis of economic and societal value creation can be shaped systematically.

Strategy relevance and execution of ecological sustainability in the food industry

Oekologisches Wirtschaften, vol. 29 (2014), no. 4, pp. 44–50 (together with J. Bausch)
Economically successful food manufacturers often practice an intensive sustainability management. However, ecological sustainability is rarely integrated in business strategies. A research study on strategy processes and success factors provides leverage points for corporate management.

For further publications click here.