Chair ofCorporate Sustainability
Major sustainability frameworks such as “Our Common Future” or the “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” are clear about the important role that corporations, managers, and entrepreneurs play as agents for sustainable development. Understanding their motivations and opportunities for action, but also their limitations, is crucial to advance 21st century management and entrepreneurship theory and practice, and to fully embrace the business, environment, and society nexus.
- Prof. Dr. Florian Lüdeke-Freund
Jean-Baptiste Say Institute
The Jean-Baptiste Say Institute for Entrepreneurship relies on a unique European network which was developed in 2007 by the Entrepreneurship Chair of ESCP Europe and has today more than 50 researchers and teachers. Its goal is to train entrepreneurs and leaders around the world in entrepreneurship and, to prepare tomorrow’s managers for profound changes in the world of work.Know More
The Blue Factory Berlin
The Blue Factory Berlin is the central contact point for all ESCP Europe students, alumni, and staff members interested in founding their own venture. In close collaboration with the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Blue Factory offers custom-made training and support for preparation and implementation processes related to setting up a venture.Know More
Dr. Florian Lüdeke-Freund facilitates the research platform www.SustainableBusinessModel.org, is scientific board member of the International Conference on New Business Models series, and supports ESCP Europe’s Business and Society - Towards a Sustainable World research center.
We offer the following courses:
Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Innovation (MSc)
- Sustainable Entrepreneurship
- Business Models for Sustainability
- Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation Project
International Sustainability Management (MSc)
- Environmental and Sustainability Management
- Eco-Marketing and Communication
- Company Consultancy Projects
Studying corporate sustainability management and sustainable entrepreneurship – with a focus on innovation and business models – improves our understanding of how organizations and individuals can contribute to a sustainable development of the natural environment and society. The major research fields of the Chair for Corporate Sustainability include business models for sustainability, values-based innovation, and alternative business paradigms.
The Chair contributes to these research fields in theory and practice through publications in scientific journals (e.g., Organization & Environment, Journal of Cleaner Production, Technological Forecasting and Social Change), transfer studies (e.g., Network for Business Sustainability, GIZ), and workshops for practitioners and students in the wider field of corporate sustainability.
The Chair for Corporate Sustainability partners with several international researchers and institutions, including e.g. Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) at Leuphana University.
Business models for sustainability
Business models are a means to describe and analyse, but also to develop, the value creation rationales of corporations, entrepreneurs, and other kinds of organisation. The emerging field of research on business models for sustainability explores how new and adapted business models can contribute to corporate sustainability and sustainable entrepreneurship by creating more than just financial value.
Dr. Florian Lüdeke-Freund contributed some well received publications to this new research field, incl.:
Every human and every company holds values, but these values – understood as notions of the desirable – remain widely untapped as sources of and drivers for innovation. This research field takes a values-based view on innovation and its management and demonstrates the potential of values to integrate diverse stakeholders into innovation processes, to direct collaborative efforts, and to generate innovations that matter – including innovations for ecological, social, and economic value creation. Current publications in this field include:
In a first study we applied an experimental design. In a between subject design participants were asked to judge different corporate social activities (with and without additional benefits for the corporation). Our results show how the motives that are attributed to company are related to corporate credibility and legitimacy.
- Breuer & Lüdeke-Freund (2017): Values-based innovation management
- Breuer & Lüdeke-Freund (2017): Values-based network and business model innovation
Alternative business paradigms
Friedman’s dictum that the only social responsibility of business is to increase its profits is just one way of seeing the world. Corporate sustainability research and practice try to go beyond this worldview, but are often historically bound to it. The question is whether and how 21st century corporations and entrepreneurs can do well without being limited by traditional, industry-age business paradigms. Approaches such as the “sharing economy” or the “circular economy” may offer opportunities for alternative trajectories of economic development. However, these approaches must be carefully scrutinised. Contributions in this field include:
- Dreyer, Lüdeke-Freund, Hamann & Faccer (2017): Upsides and downsides of the sharing economy
- Lüdeke-Freund, Gold & Bocken (forthcoming): A review and typology of circular economy business model patterns
Peer-reviewed book chapters
Find an overview
Team and contact
Dr. Florian Lüdeke-Freund
Master in Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Innovation
Dr. Florian Lüdeke-Freund
Florian Lüdeke-Freund is Professor for Corporate Sustainability at ESCP Europe Business School. His research deals with corporate sustainability management, sustainable entrepreneurship, sustainable business models, and values-based innovation. His publications on sustainable business models are regularly among the most downloaded and most cited papers in their respective journals (e.g., Journal of Cleaner Production, Organization & Environment). Besides publishing numerous journal articles and book chapters on sustainable business models and related topics (see www.LuedekeFreund.com), Florian is co-editor of several journal special issues, including an Organization & Environment special issue on “Business Models for Sustainability: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Transformation”, a special issue with Business & Society on “Collaborative Cross-Sector Business Models for Sustainability”, and a special issue on “Sustainable Value Creation Through Business Models” in the Journal of Business Models.
Florian’s most recent works deal with the identification and systematisation of business model patterns. Together with several international experts, including Lorenzo Massa, Alexandre Joyce, and Henning Breuer, Florian is setting up an extensive database on different types of business models, including a taxonomy of 45 sustainable business models and a typology of business models for the circular economy. Furthermore, he is working on the theoretical and empirical foundations of sustainable business models, for example from a stakeholder theory perspective or studies on the impacts of collaborative consumption business models.
In 2013, Florian founded www.SustainableBusinessModel.org as an international research hub with 25+ members from more than 10 countries. This hub serves as a communication platform for the wider field of sustainability and business model studies. Florian is member of various international research networks, including the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group at OCAD University and the New Business Models Network which facilitates the International Conference on New Business Models. He is also a research fellow at the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) at Leuphana University as well as the SustBusy Research Center of ESCP Europe. Florian was also a visiting researcher at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) and the Universities of Halmstad (Sweden), St. Gallen (Switzerland), and Stellenbosch (South Africa).