Naturalizing sustainability in product development: A comparative analysis of IKEA and SCA
Journal article, 2016
The aim is to analyse ways that sustainability can be successfully integrated into product development in large firms. This is done by a comparative study of two large firms, IKEA and SCA, during the time period 1990–2006. These were both among the pioneers to introduce sustainability into operations. The study is based on 24 interviews and one author’s experience as an insider researcher. The analytical framework visualizes the relationships between what is explicitly expressed, in writing or speech, and what tacitly guides behaviour, and what is actually practised in product development. Although both firms have substantial experience working with sustainability and are role models, they chose very different strategies to integrate sustainability into product development. Their approaches reflect the logic of their company cultures and management systems. This indicates that sustainability practices must be adapted to fit the logic of a firm’s existing management system.