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Road-mapping the business potential of sustainability within the European manufacturing industry

Katri Valkokari (Senior Scientist, based at VTT, Tampere, Finland)
Pasi Valkokari (VTT, Tampere, Finland)
Katariina Palomäki (VTT, Tampere, Finland)
Teuvo Uusitalo (VTT, Tampere, Finland)
Markku Reunanen (VTT, Tampere, Finland)
Marco Macchi (Engineer, based at Politecnico di Milano)
Padmakshi Rana (Researh Associate, based at University of Cambridge, UK)
Jayantha Prasanna Liyanage (University of Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 5 August 2014




The purpose of this study is to explore the required changes, outline business potential and envisage the key steps that a networked manufacturing industry needs to take to reach more sustainably performing manufacturing in the future.


The paper utilises a visionary road-mapping approach to study the required changes and the business potential related to sustainable development in the manufacturing industry.


The results were summarised in three sub-roadmaps empowerment of stakeholders, increase efficiency and creation of new performance criteria. On the basis of the summary of the sub-roadmaps, the framework was configured to describe the opportunities and challenges of sustainable business development in the European manufacturing industry.

Research limitations/implications

A clear implication of this study is that a more system-oriented approach, new models for collaboration between network actors and transparently shared network-level KPIs are required before further steps towards a sustainable manufacturing industry can be taken. In addition, sustainability-driven business models are required to specify these changes concretely.

Practical implications

The presented sub-roadmaps and framework summarising them could provide new insights to business practitioners exploring business potential of sustainability.

Social implications

Understanding about the road-mapping process as tool that enables interaction and envisioning between different stakeholders could also have social implications supporting shared industry-level learning processes.


Studies of sustainability within the manufacturing industry have focused mainly on green issues in supply-chain management or corporation-level governance models and reporting practices. The paper presents a broader view of sustainable development and recognises networked business as part of the solution.



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement 262931. The authors would like to thank the expert group – for example, the workshop participants – for their willingness to engage in the open but challenging discussions that formed a prerequisite for the research. The research and development partners of the SustainValue project consortium were University of Cambridge, University of Stavanger, Politecnico di Milano, RWTH Aachen University and VTT. Last, but not least, the authors want to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments that helped to clear the focus of study and to understand more broadly the different approaches of future studies.


Valkokari, K., Valkokari, P., Palomäki, K., Uusitalo, T., Reunanen, M., Macchi, M., Rana, P. and Prasanna Liyanage, J. (2014), "Road-mapping the business potential of sustainability within the European manufacturing industry", Foresight, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 360-384.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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