Media Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC) at JIBS
Sustainable Business Talks Pod Series
“The consumer before used to ask about the power of the car, about less fuel consumption and fuel legislation. Now the consumer will ask if there is no cobalt used for the batteries of car, that could be from The Democratic Republic of Congo!” – Johann Bachler from AVL List GmbH
Dr Ulla Saari, a researcher at MMTC, along with Johann Bachler and Prof Rupert J. Baumgartner from the University of Graz, delve into the practicalities of ‘Social Innovation and Sustainable Business’—in this first episode of the MMTC Sustainable business talks podcast series. During their discussion, they note that as much as technological innovation is needed, social innovation drives the change towards making technology more accessible, responsible, sustainable and consumer-orientated.
The pollutive nature of the automotive industry has caused tremendous pressure to now decarbonize its business model. This has led to spearheading a largescale movement towards transitioning to a circular economy. The idea is also to shift from ‘car selling to car solutions/services’—and proposing innovative solutions to serve consumers from a societal perspective.
Challenges such as this drive innovation and there is a clear need for all kinds of innovation – from legislation, policies, supply chain cooperation to consumers. Rupert Baumgartner emphasized the importance of legislative aspects and asserted that “Legislations like the European Green Deal, play an important role for companies to pull the action trigger; and in transitioning towards sustainable and innovative business models. Firstly, it pushes those companies and actors who need a push towards sustainable actions like decarbonisation; and for front-runners, legislation ensures a fair playing field.”
But what does it take to implement sustainable actions in an organisation? Johann Bachler from AVL says nothing can be better than having a core philosophy—to work towards decarbonisation as their business model, and that also drives daily operations. They strive towards minimising carbon emission in production and usage phases of automotive products. For the disposal of end-life product, AVL works towards new methods of recycling solutions, that are designed to ensure that materials exhibit performance to stay in the loop!
Further, technological tools such as blockchains facilitate supply chain traceability and enable product transparency. This thereby creates a foundation of trust with the consumers, who are increasingly looking for openness, honesty and responsible behaviour from the industrial network.
It is becoming more than evident now that with increasing organizational complexities, a collaboration between stakeholders is a pathway towards knowledge and skills dissemination. Companies like AVL have termed this hunger for knowledge as the ‘new blood’ to fuel and evolve on their position in the automotive industry.
Such multidisciplinary collaborations hold an opportunity for academic research in circular economy transformation and provide new scope for discussion, innovation, and real practical impact. Find out more about circular economy and its possibilities in the upcoming podcasts in this series. The Sustainable business talks podcast series is available to listen to on Spotify, Libsyn, iTunes (search for Vertikala samtal) or on the Vertikals platform https://ju.se/en/collaboration/collaborate-with-our-researchers/forum-for-social-innovation-sweden-msi/podcast.html
MMTC interns 2020 : Jamila Juzer Siamwalla and Jiewen Cheng