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39 Ways to Drive Innovation: New Guide for Sustainability Leaders

Published 12-18-12

Submitted by Network for Business Sustainability

A new report released by the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), a research group based at the Ivey Business School, reveals the 39 practices businesses can use to foster innovation. Based on a review of more than 127 studies from the last 20 years, this guide for executives provides tangible, real-world practices to reduce costs and drive revenues while improving impacts on people and the environment.  It also includes a 3-stage framework for business leaders to assess their progress.  

“The majority of the companies we reviewed fell in Stage 1, which emphasizes using technological fixes to reduce harm. Examples of “techno-fixes” include incremental innovations like waste diversion and energy efficient lighting,” said Dr. Richard Adams, University of Exeter, UK and lead author of the report. “But the 39 practices in this report can help companies maximize innovation at any stage.

Examples of more radical innovations include replacing your products with services, selling your garbage to other companies, and collaborating with competitors, lobbyists and environmental groups - the same organizations normally seen as antagonists.

“This report shows all companies – large or small, private or public – can take steps to innovate,” said Tima Bansal, Executive Director of NBS, management professor at the Ivey Business School, and the person who commissioned the report. “Companies are always looking to grow, and this research offers insights into the next area of growth.”

This report addressed one of the 2012 Top 10 Canadian business sustainability challenges identified by NBS’s Leadership Council – an exclusive group of 18 Canadian organizations recognized for their leadership and commitment to sustainable business.


Innovating for Sustainability: A Guide for Executives

Innovating for Sustainability: A Systematic Review on the Body of Knowledge

To arrange media interviews please contact Ivan Langrish, Senior Manager, Media Strategy at 416-203-0664 or   

About the Network for Business Sustainability
The Network for Business Sustainability is a Canadian not-for-profit organization that connects thousands of researchers and business leaders worldwide, with the goal of creating new, sustainable business models for the 21st century. NBS receives funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario, École des Sciences de la Gestion at the Université du Québec à Montréal and industry partners.

NBS Leadership Council Members
BC Hydro, Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, Environment Canada, Home Depot of Canada Inc., Holcim (Canada) Inc., Industry Canada, LANXESS Inc., LoyaltyOne, Inc., Pembina Institute, Research In Motion, SAP Canada Inc., Suncor Energy Inc., TD Bank Group, Teck Resources Limited, TELUS Corporation, Tembec Inc., Tim Hortons Inc., Unilever Canada Inc.

About the Ivey Business School, Western University
The Ivey Business School ( at Western University is Canada’s leading provider of relevant, innovative and comprehensive business education. Drawing on extensive research and business experience, Ivey faculty provide the best classroom experience, equipping graduates with the skills and capabilities they need to tackle the leadership challenges in today’s complex business world. Ivey offers world-renowned undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as Executive Development at campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto and Hong Kong.

Network for Business Sustainability logo

Network for Business Sustainability

Network for Business Sustainability

A Canadian non-profit, the Network for Business Sustainability produces authoritative resources on important sustainability issues - with the goal of changing management practice. We unite thousands of researchers and business leaders worldwide to develop sustainable business models for the 21st century.

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