Mapping Sustainable Development Activity; Its Evolution and Impact in Science, Technology, Innovation and Businesses

Project: Business Finland project

Project Details


This project aims to identify the driving forces of sustainability and low carbon economy for the innovation ecosystem, create knowledge of the public policies impact, and provide guidelines for businesses. Exploring the driving forces of sustainable development requires a conceptual understanding of the sustainable development activities within science, technology, innovation and businesses. This important identification and classification task will be carried out with an advance Systematic Literature Review (SLR) process involving experts of the field. The SLR process will incorporate all documented science, technology and innovation artefacts, public policy documents and reports in order to generate a global and national “Concept Map” of sustainable development. This taxonomy informs the project on the measurement practices, guidelines and main indicators for measuring the spectrums of sustainable development activities.

An empirical methodological practice will utilize the identified data points regarding sustainable development activities and accordingly the criteria regarding their sustainability aspects to an AI model. The compiled AI model is capable of identifying sustainability-oriented aspects and the spectrum of it on any documented artefact. Coupling the AI model with the prior art “Net Impact” calculated measure of (sustainability) impacts on a company level; we can scale to recognize sustainability-oriented activities on business/sector level with the capability to put regions, nations and sectors into comparison.

Comprehending the sustainable-oriented activity on macro scales, we proceed to individual company cases with the purpose of identifying the sustainable development driving forces and obstacles. This investigation will happen with close interaction with company cases at three levels: organizational (business model), sectoral (ecosystem), externalities (global practices, policy and regulations). The close interaction with business requires a tested approach for identifying the sustainable development activity, impact and goals. We will acquire methods such as “Carbon Handprint Calculation” and “Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA)” with the purpose of encapsulating aspects such as material use, energy use, lifetime and performance of product/services, waste and ways of carbon capture and storage. Based on the processing of individual company case interviews and comprehensive data collection via surveys, we can provide an integrative model for sustainable development indicating the driving forces and challenges ahead.

Layman's description

Innovation policy is quickly moving to extend the measurement of innovation outcomes beyond economic gains (e.g. productivity). In this, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are quickly emerging as the de facto framework to measure the broader impacts of innovation, but measuring them is extremely challenging. This proposal aims to capture the sustainable development activities by an empirical Artificial Intelligence (AI) based model which enables measuring wide spectrum actions against the SDG framework, would these result out of R&D research, public funding and ecosystem collaborations of any entity (businesses, regional, national and international level). This project couples close interaction with businesses to apprehending their impact and vision for sustainability, which results in guidelines for established businesses, startup entrepreneurs, and actionable information for policymakers to enhance the driving forces; as well as revealing future research directions for researchers. The project will ultimately deliver a measure of the state of sustainability in Finland, a method to implement the measure at scale and evidence that validates the measure and method. The project is formed in four main working packages: 1) Conceptual framework of sustainable activity. 2) Developing a measuring model utilizing artificial intelligence methods. 3) Understanding companies incentives and barriers to sustainable development transition in Finland. 4) Formulating the best practices and a road map for sustainable development transition.
Effective start/end date1/09/201/03/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Innovation
  • sustainability
  • SDG
  • Science
  • Technology