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Corporate Management and Consumption


Companies and consumers largely determine how sustainable the economy and society are – companies do so through their business practices and consumers do so through their everyday actions. The combined power of millions of individual decisions means that managers, company directors and management boards – as well as every single consumer – are central agents of socio-ecological change. Corporate practices do not only influence the range of products and services on offer. They also influence and create consumer needs and affect political framework conditions.

An increasing number of companies are assuming environmental and social responsibility nowadays and they have become protagonists in a ‘green economy’ thanks to their innovative business models. However, consumers can also do their bit: by switching over to eco-friendly and more socially acceptable consumption and lifestyle patterns they can help to make the economy and society more sustainable – provided that they are able to take the necessary action and possess the required consumer competences.

What kinds of business models and lifestyles can lead to sustainable development? And what framework conditions are required for this to happen? The IÖW’s Corporate Management and Consumption team investigates these issues through application-oriented projects. We develop and test innovative methods and instruments for sustainable corporate management, strategies for promoting sustainable consumption patterns and practical concepts at the interface of production and consumption – e.g. in the areas of CSR communication or sustainable innovation management.

Within this research field we focus on the following subjects:

Sustainable Business

  • Corporate social responsibility, including evaluation of sustainability performance and reporting
  • Corporate post-growth strategies, social entrepreneurship

Innovation for Sustainability

  • Sustainable business models
  • Sustainable innovation management, including user-integration in product development
  • Social innovation for sustainable consumption
  • Perception and acceptance of new technologies

Sustainable Lifestyles

  • Environmental awareness and behaviour
  • Collaborative consumption
  • Sufficiency strategies

Communication and Dialogue

  • Stakeholder processes
  • Sustainability reporting
  • Sustainability marketing

Sustainability Governance

  • Sustainable consumption policy
  • CSR policy
  • Policy evaluation

Learning and Change

  • Organizational learning
  • Environmental education

In our projects in the above-mentioned subject areas we employ a wide range of methods. They include empirical methods from qualitative and quantitative social research (e. g. surveys, interviews, and focus groups), innovative methods for designing participatory processes (e.g. stakeholder dialogues) and methods from the area of criteria-based evaluation.




Dr. Christian Lautermann

Head of the research field Corporate Management and Consumption
IÖW main office
Phone: +49 30-884 594-31