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Multinational Corporations in Sustainable Cities: The Case of a Sustainable Headquarters Building

Tiina Ritvala (Aalto University School of Business, Finland)
Ella Ahmas (Aalto University, Finland)
Rebecca Piekkari (Aalto University School of Business, Finland)

International Business and Sustainable Development Goals

ISBN: 978-1-83753-505-7, eISBN: 978-1-83753-504-0

Publication date: 31 July 2023


This empirical chapter contributes to international business (IB) research on the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) by opening a new research trajectory on sustainable headquarters (HQ) buildings. This multidisciplinary study conceptualizes the notion of a sustainable HQ based on a case study and three streams of literature – research on HQs, sustainable office design and the SDGs in IB. It offers a novel angle to prior research on HQs that has largely focused on their functional roles. While IB scholars are increasingly embracing the SDGs, limited attention has been devoted to SDG 11, “sustainable cities and communities.” This chapter draws on a real-time, longitudinal, single case study of a Nordic multinational in renewable products. The authors adopt a future-facing, phenomenon-based approach to envision and reimagine the modern wooden corporate HQ building on a culturally sensitive site in the heart of Helsinki, Finland. The findings emphasize the environmental, social, economic and cultural considerations of HQ buildings. By combining HQ premises with commercial spaces, and by opening the building to citizens, sustainable HQ buildings create a lively city space and increase urban social cohesion. The use of wood as a construction material and the application of design principles that promote human–nature relationships, have a positive impact on climate and human health. By focusing on the physical building, the authors aim to change the way IB scholars understand and study the role of HQ as a part of sustainable cities.



Ritvala, T., Ahmas, E. and Piekkari, R. (2023), "Multinational Corporations in Sustainable Cities: The Case of a Sustainable Headquarters Building", van Tulder, R., Giuliani, E. and Álvarez, I. (Ed.) International Business and Sustainable Development Goals (Progress in International Business Research, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 241-261.



Emerald Publishing Limited

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