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Transformative business sustainability: Multi‐layer model and network of e‐footprint sources

Göran Svensson (Oslo School of Management, Oslo, Norway)
Beverly Wagner (University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to describe the concept of “transformative business sustainability”. “Business sustainability” refers the total effort of a company – including its demand and supply chain network – to reduce the impact on the Earth's life‐ and eco‐systems –, i.e. the total e‐footprint. “Transformative” highlights the need for an open minded, dynamic and flexible approach to “business sustainability” not governed by blinkers.


This paper discusses a conceptual development of transformative business sustainability, derived from a frame of reference. The essence is the introduction of a multi‐layer model of units (i.e. different businesses or other stakeholders), a network of e‐footprint sources and a “recovery pool and redistribution buffer” at the interface.


Transformative business sustainability is both a theoretical and managerial concept. It could also be seen as a roadmap to plan, implement and evaluate business sustainability.

Research limitations/implications

Transformative business sustainability provides opportunities for development. Suggestions for further research are presented.

Practical implications

E‐footprint sources in business, applying an Earth‐to‐Earth approach, are described. The concept of transformative business sustainability contributes by achieving genuine and continuous business sustainability and awareness at strategic, tactical and operative levels of business, avoiding use of buzzwords and window dressing.


Well‐being of the planet Earth has to be at the core of business sustainability. The authors contend that the “recovery pool and redistribution buffer” is crucial in the planning, implementation and evaluation of transformative business sustainability.



Svensson, G. and Wagner, B. (2011), "Transformative business sustainability: Multi‐layer model and network of e‐footprint sources", European Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 334-352.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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