Tensions in sustainable business: burdens or enablers?

Marinka Lanne, Katariina Palomäki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


Many large companies are expanding their traditional focus on financial responsibility to the view that they are contributors to environmental and social impacts on both the local and global levels. As concepts, corporate sustainability and sustainable business are constantly evolving, and companies need to be awake and innovative. The operational environment is interconnected, dynamic and complex, and the contradictory demands – called tensions or paradoxes – also belong to sustainable business. These tensions are often treated as threats, but they can also reinforce innovativeness. The aim of this study is to understand how different tensions are involved in incorporating sustainability and why it is crucial for companies to consider these tensions. Based on interviews with sustainability managers and directors from 14 large Finnish corporations, we parse the tensions related to corporate sustainability. Understanding tensions provides a more diverse and pluralistic perspective on sustainability leadership, which in turn allows for new innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISPIM Connects Valencia – Reconnect, Rediscover, Reimagine on 30 November to 2 December 2021
Subtitle of host publicationEvent Proceedings
PublisherLappeenranta University of Technology
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-335-691-7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventISPIM connects Valencia: Reconnect, Rediscover, Reimagine - In-person only, Valencia, Spain
Duration: 29 Nov 20211 Dec 2021

Publication series

SeriesLUT Scientific and Expertise Publications: Research Reports


ConferenceISPIM connects Valencia


  • corporate social responsibility
  • corporate sustainability
  • sustainable business
  • organizational paradoxes
  • organizational tensions
  • innovations


Dive into the research topics of 'Tensions in sustainable business: burdens or enablers?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Knut Holt Best Paper Award

    Lanne, Marinka (Recipient) & Palomäki, Katariina (Recipient), 30 Nov 2021

    Prize: Prize for a work

Cite this