The Innovation Bottom Line

Findings from the 2012 Sustainability & Innovation Global Executive Study and Research Report.

Read the Report

Introduction: Sustainability, Innovation and Profits

  • A Clear Trajectory
  • The Sustainability Bull’s-Eye

Section I: The Hallmarks of Sustainability-Driven Innovators

  • Sidebar: A Framework for Analyzing Business Models

Section II: The Crux of Sustainability-Driven Profit: Business Model Innovation

  • The Potent Combination
  • Doing Things Differently, Doing Different Things
  • Making Sustainability Efforts Happen
  • Integrating Sustainability into the Company

Section III: The Business Case Effect

  • The Hard-Nosed Numbers

Section IV: Customer and Stakeholder Effects

  • Sidebar: Portrait of a Sustainability-Driven Innovator: Greif

Section V: Hitting the Sustainability Bull’s-Eye

  • Five Practices

About the Research

  • The Survey: Questions and Responses



David Kiron is executive editor of MIT Sloan Management Review’s Big Ideas initiatives. He can be reached at

Nina Kruschwitz is MIT Sloan Management Review’s managing editor and special projects manager. She can be reached at

Knut Haanaes is a partner and managing director in the Boston Consulting Group’s Geneva office, as well as head of BCG’s Strategy Practice Area. He can be contacted at

Martin Reeves is a senior partner and managing director in the Boston Consulting Group’s New York office and leads the BCG Strategy Institute worldwide. He can be contacted at

Eugene Goh is a principal in the Boston Consulting Group’s Oslo office and a core member of BCG’s sustainability team. He can be contacted at


Carola Diepenhorst, marketing manager, BCG

Stian Glendrange, associate, BCG

Olivier Jaeggi, managing partner, ECOFACT

Jason Jay, director, MIT Sloan Initiative for Sustainable Business and Society, MIT Sloan School of Management

Martha E. Mangelsdorf, editorial director, MIT Sloan Management Review

Edward Ruehle, writer

Diederik Vismans, project leader, BCG

Douglas Woods, partner and managing director, BCG


Portions of this article previously appeared in “The Benefits of Sustainability-Driven Innovation,” MIT Sloan Management Review 54, no. 2 (winter 2013): 69-73.

6 Comments On: The Innovation Bottom Line

  • Justino Manuel de Oliveira Marques | October 18, 2013

    This MITSloan Management Review innitiative is and will be very important in the future for business sustainability, not only to achieve more and more higher profits levels but to allocate them to support financial sustainability, as well.
    Financial sustainability is a fundamental key component of a whole concept of business sustainability, distributed by:
    (1) Restricted financial sustainability
    (2) Dividend policy sustainability
    (3) Overall financial sustainability
    These kinds of financial sustainability are essential to guarantee the financial conditions related with the diversified fields of sustainability (in terms of environment actions, raw materials recycling, biological diversity, etc.) without putting in question the companies’ value creation.
    This value creation is a strong dterminant to allow a balanced dividend payout to shareholders.

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    […] de Estados Unidos) de la Sloan School of Management del MIT y Boston Consulting Group, concluye que las empresas usan el Desarrollo Sostenible para reducir costes. Reducir residuos y gastar los menores recursos posibles para lograr el producto o servicio deseado […]

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