“ABC” (Academic, Business, Consulting) Discussion Panel

Rethinking Strategic Management: Can business lead the way to a sustainable future?

In the last thirty years, the link of strategy and sustainability has come a long way both in business practice and academia. However, in spite of many technical advances, some political progress, and the efforts by thousands of corporate and NGO organizations during recent decades, sustainable conduct is not reflected in the current state of our socio-ecological systems. Natural scientists and global risk assessments continue to express great urgency for cross-sectoral and transformative collaborative action toward positive systems impact. But who will take the lead for this vital journey? Major investment firms call on “business to lead, not just live, with purpose”. This hands-on “ABC” (Academic, Business, Consulting) panel seeks to answer the question, “CAN business lead the way to a sustainable future?” Does the corporate sector have sufficient comprehension and concern of the magnitude and pace of disruptive socio-ecological developments in its operating environment? Does it have sufficient actionable knowledge about how to make business sense of sustainability at this time in the 21st century? What else might be required to take the lead? Management researchers, business representatives and consultants with extensive experience will try to answer these questions from the perspective of their professional and institutional contexts. Impetus and foundation for this panel has been our collaboration in development of the book ‘Rethinking Strategic Management. Sustainable Strategizing for Positive Impact’ (in-press, 2019) from Springer. Additional perspectives and details from a dozen other authors are also included in this publication. With this panel we want to build on and continue this discussion.

Panel Chair:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Wunder, Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

Petra Kuenkel, Club of Rome & Collective Leadership Institute
Alexander Meyer zum Felde, The Boston Consulting Group
Ruediger Roehrig, The Natural Step & Sustainable Growth Associates
Geanne van Arkel, Interface EMEA
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Stefan Schaltegger, Leuphana University, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM)

Thomas Wunder spent the early part of his career as a strategy consultant and strategy practitioner for Horváth & Partners Management Consultants in both the EU and USA. He was associated with the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative (BSCol) in Boston and an affiliate of the North Highland Company in Atlanta, where he helped to build Cordence Worldwide, a large-scale global alliance of local consulting firms with over 2.800 experts in more than 65 offices today. In all these years, Thomas supported executive leadership teams of MNCs at various organizational levels. In 2010, Thomas transitioned to academia as a full professor of Strategic Management at the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences in Bavaria, Germany, where he is leading the Master of Advanced Management program. Since then he has dedicated his research, writing and teaching to the integration of corporate strategy with sustainability, which is summarized in Essentials of Strategic Management. Effective Formulation and Execution of Strategy in 2016. He also edited a practitioner-oriented German book on CSR und Strategic Management (2017) as well as Rethinking Strategic Management. Sustainable Strategizing for Positive Impact (2019) for Springer.

Petra Kuenkel is a full Member of the International Club of Rome and the Executive Director of the Collective Leadership Institute, a Germany and South Africa based social enterprise building collaboration competency for transformative change. As a seasoned systems scientist, visionary author and expert in complex multi-stakeholder settings she promotes systems transformations by scaling-up collective stewardship skills for decision-makers from corporations, public sector and civil society. With her educational background in change management, organizational psychology and political science she has profound international experiences in corporate change, development cooperation and policy implementation. She is a leading strategic advisor to pioneering international initiatives that tackle sustainability challenges. Based on successful transformation processes, she developed the dialogic change methodology and the Collective Leadership Compass, a guiding tool for navigating change in complex multi-actor settings. Kuenkel’s ground-breaking publication The Art of Leading Collectively received international attention; her writings have appeared in numerous professional journals as well as the Guardian and Huffington Post. For more information, please visit www.collectiveleadership.com or www.clubofrome.org.

Alexander Meyer zum Felde is a principal in the Hamburg office of The Boston Consulting Group. He is BCG’s expert principal on sustainability. His fields of expertise include sustainability strategy, circular economy, sustainable investing and climate change. He has supported clients across the world and in every major industry concerning sustainability opportunities. Moreover, he is responsible to manage BCG’s external relations with Sustainability Partners and Academia concerning sustainability topics.

Ruediger A. Roehrig is Managing Partner of SGA, leads The Natural Step Germany and is international council member. SGA, a certified B Corp and European network organization, advocates context-driven, purposeful innovation leadership in business, by practicing holistic approaches to people, operations and strategy development. As the representative of the non-profit The Natural Step in Germany, SGA collaborates with 10 other offices around the world, to advocate The Natural Step Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD). Ruediger looks back at 30 years of professional experience in industries such as aeronautics, automotive, machine and plant manufacturing, and renewable energies, in almost all strategic and operative functions, working at, amongst others, Siemens Automotive and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. Engaging with SGA clients as entrepreneur, interim manager, consultant, trainer and coach, he combines strategic thinking with hands-on operational experience and sound leadership experience. Ruediger has a degree in aerospace engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) of the University of the German Armed Forces, Munich.

Geanne van Arkel is Head of Sustainable Development for Interface in Europe and holds a master’s degree in Biomimicry from the Arizona State University. She focuses on sustainable development within and outside the company Interface. She links individuals and companies to assist each other on the path toward sustainable innovation. The approach she takes is developing regenerative, inclusive, circular new business models and partnerships by learning from natures. Design with purpose, passion, full product transparency and open communication are the fundamentals of inspiring others in discovering the opportunities of sustainability. According to Geanne, creativity, collaboration and sharing knowledge are crucial for accelerating the required system change towards an inclusive circular bio-based low carbon economy in which the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved by 2030.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Stefan Schaltegger is professor for sustainability management, head of the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) and the MBA programme at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. The focus of his more than 450 publications is on sustainable entrepreneurship, practices and methods of corporate sustainability, including business models, stakeholder theory, and sustainability performance measurement, accounting and management.