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Acciona: a process of transformation towards sustainability

Daniel Arenas (Institute for Social Innovation, ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain)
Jeremie Fosse (Institute for Social Innovation, ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain)
Matthew Murphy (Institute for Social Innovation, ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 25 October 2011




This teaching case seeks to explain the main aspects of Acciona's sustainability strategy and the process of transformation of the company after the new CEO took office in 2004. It also aims to present some possible difficulties of maintaining such strategies in the new economic and political environment. The purpose of the case is to show how three aspects play a relevant role in a company's transformation towards sustainability: cultural change; collaboration with external stakeholders; and the innovations introduced.


The paper presents a case study that narrates the process of six years of transformation towards sustainability of a company. The case was constructed through the analysis of company documents and several interviews with key actors in the company as well as external stakeholders.


The paper shows how cultural change, collaboration with external stakeholders and innovation form a vital combination in the transformation process towards sustainability. It also reveals that acquisitions and internationalization can help accelerate or consolidate this process.

Practical implications

The paper is presented as a teaching case with discussion questions at the end. The aim is to engage readers and participants in educational and training programmes in discussions about the factors that may contribute to start and maintain a transformation towards sustainability. The practical implication of the paper is to show how cultural factors, collaboration and innovation form a vital combination for changing the way businesses do things.


The value of the case lies in showing how business efforts of embedding sustainability into business practice can be more effective by combining cultural factors, collaboration and innovation.



Arenas, D., Fosse, J. and Murphy, M. (2011), "Acciona: a process of transformation towards sustainability", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 30 No. 10, pp. 1027-1048.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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