Sub-Themes > Track 5: Sustainability Multidisciplinary

Sustainability Multidisciplinary

Main convenor/track chair: Marlen Gabriele Arnold, Corporate Environmental Management and Sustainability, Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany

Description: The age of the Anthropocene causes immense factors influencing biological, geological and atmospheric processes on Earth. Sustainability progress is not easy to assess and determine, so, sustainability challenges strongly belong to the multidisciplinary interrelations and the trans- and interdisciplinary nature of solutions. Mind-opening and inspiring concepts as well as solutions of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary progress towards sustainability are strongly needed. In light of transformations fundamental and innovative short-term as well as long-term changes are needed in society, economy, technology and education, including behaviour and understandings as well as attitudes towards the usages of the environment.

The general intention of this track is to provide inter- and transdisciplinary encounters among its participants. Conceptual and theoretical as well as empirical submissions are as welcome as inter- and transdisciplinary papers. Further, we encourage authors to utilize innovative approaches as well as practical examples and perspectives in their submissions. In addition to traditional paper presentations, contributions are welcome on discussion forums, case studies, artistic and playful interventions or practical demonstrations.

Affiliated Journal: Seminal and thrilling papers are invited for review and potential publication in the Special Issue
in International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development

The track comprises three following sub-tracks:

a.    Sustainability: Systems Thinking and Progress to Sustainability

Convenors/Track chairs:

  • Marlen Gabriele Arnold & Anne Fischer, Chemnitz University of Technology, Corporate Environmental Management and Sustainability, Germany
  • Anika Dittmar, Hochschule Mittweida, University of Applied Sciences, Building Sustainability, Germany
  • Devika Pillay, School of Management, I.T. and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Systems thinking and progress to sustainability include the consideration and addressing of all three sustainability strategies sufficiency, efficiency and consistency by policy, businesses, technology and consumption. The central question is how sustainability progress can be integrated quickly in our daily life considering diverse cultures and global perspectives referring to a development towards sustainability. We aim to bring various scholars and stakeholders together to discuss and explore research offering new insights into creative and systemic approaches and innovation processes for a sustainable impact on society. In the context of sustainability we especially aim at, but do not limit to the following subjects:

  • Inter- and transdisciplinary progress to sustainability (e.g. concepts, products & services as well as tools and methodology)
  • Innovative and ground-breaking business strategies, models and types (e.g. limitation of sources, new types of organisation and collaboration, ownership and participation)
  • Systems thinking, lock-in-effects, rebound-effects, resilience and transformation


Arnold, M. 2018. Combining conscious and unconscious knowledge within human-machine-interfaces to foster sustainability with decision-making concerning production processes. Journal of Cleaner Production. Vol 179, 581-592.

Bocken, N. M., de Pauw, I., Bakker, C., & van der Grinten, B. 2016. Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy. Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering, 33(5), 308-320.

Tura, N., Hanski, J., Ahola, T., Ståhle, M., Piiparinen, S., Valkokari, P. 2019. Unlocking circular business: A framework of barriers and drivers. Journal of Cleaner Production. Vol. 212, 90-98.

b.    Creativity and Innovation in Social Marketing for Sustainable Behaviour Change

Convenors/Track chairs:

  • Debbie Ellis, Marketing & Supply Chain Management, School of Management, I.T. and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
  • Katja Beyer, Chemnitz University of Technology, Corporate Environmental Management and Sustainability, Chemnitz, Germany

Social marketing is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing these and other global concerns. It combines theories and principles from marketing, economics and management with those from psychology, sociology and the health sciences. Social marketing is primarily about using marketing theories, principles and techniques to achieve behaviour change (Lee & Kotler, 2016). Behaviour changes may tackle a wide range of issues including (1) accepting new behaviours such as recycling, (2) modifying behaviours such as increasing weekly exercise from three to five days, (3) rejecting new undesirable behaviours such as taking up smoking, (4) abandoning old undesirable behaviours such as driving to work or taking a long shower, (5) switching behaviours such as changing from traditionally grown to organically grown produce or (6) encouraging consumers to continue a behaviour such as going for annual health checks.

This track therefore encourages, but is not limited to, contributions related to:

  • Social marketing interventions to change modern consumer behaviours deemed undesirable in the new era (e.g. alternative consumption or consumption reduction propositions; social communication).
  • Upstream social marketing interventions and innovative social marketing tools to address global social and environmental challenges (e.g. implications for policy development, education and stakeholder engagement).
  • Social marketing success and failures: lessons learned (e.g. best practice ‘business cases’ and campaigns; dilemmas and paradoxes between social marketing, behavioural changes and sustainability).
  • Social marketing theory and methods development (e.g. concepts; measurement criteria for social marketing programs).
  • Social marketing and sustainable economic development (e.g. costs of involvement; degrowth versus sustainable development paradigms).
  • Social marketing and social sustainability (e.g. social and moral values).
  • Social marketing and environmental / ecological sustainability (e.g. opportunities and challenges for companies in different industry contexts).
  • Social marketers’ role(s) and strategies in promoting transitions and social change towards sustainability (e.g. education; creativity; downshifting; expectations management).
  • Social marketing and the role of sustainability-related frames (e.g. conflicting viewpoints; sustainability and green marketing; de-marketing; sustainability language and communication, cross-national and cross-cultural differences).


Andreasen, A. R. (2012). Rethinking the relationship between social/nonprofit marketing and commercial marketing. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 31(1), 36-41.

Beachcroft-Shaw, H., & Ellis, D. (2017). Chapter 15: Using Successful Cases to Promote Environmental Sustainability: A Social Marketing Approach. In Z. Fields (Ed.), Collective Creativity for Responsible and Sustainable Business Practice (pp. 278-295). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Lee, N. R., & Kotler, P. (2016). Social Marketing: Changing Behaviors for Good (5 ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

c.    Arts & Science for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Convenors/Track chairs:

  • Paul Shrivastava, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of the Sustainability Institute, at The Pennsylvania State University; chairman of the UNESCO Chair Art and Science for SDGs
  • Günter Schumacher, Associate Professor in Political Economy and Business Ethics at ICN Business School; Scientific coordinator at ICN of the UNESCO Chair Art and Science for SDGs
  • David Wasieleski, Professor of Management and Business Ethics in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business at Duquesne University, and Executive Director of the Institute for Ethical Business at Duquesne; member of the executive committee of the UNESCO Chair Art and Science for SDGs

One global response to the challenges of the Anthropocene is the UN Agenda 2030 and implementation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 193 countries agreed to commit to a set of SDGs related to protecting the Earth’s life-supporting system and improving the living conditions for all – for example, by eliminating hunger and poverty, improving health and well-being, gender and economic equality, sustainable production and consumption and economic growth, providing universal education 

Implementing these goals requires creative integration of arts and humanities with the natural and social sciences. This track invites integrative interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary analyses of SDG implementation.  Of particular interest are the synergies and co-benefits between different goals, and also the tradeoffs between them, including data integration and the development of integrated indicators for the SDGs – across levels and addressing multiple scales and goals. The covenors acknowlege the unique value added by aesthetics, art and beauty in understanding sustainability, as such we encourage submission of case studies recording inspiring examples of SDG solutions that use arts based methods and interventions. We also invite performances and artistic interventions for engaging and promoting SDGs especially with underserved populations.

This track therefore encourages, but is not limited to, contributions related to:

  • the integration of natural sciences and sustainability to explore transitions to sustainability initiatives and enhanced corporate responsibility;
  • the use of natural science theories to inform management research in understanding socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible behaviors;
  • innovative dimensions of sustainability, including time, geography, culture, and ethics;
  • organizational, leadership and management issues and their connections to natural, economic and social environments;
  • role of banks in the environmental management of corporations;
  • sustainable consumption and production, including sustainable supply chain management and development of circular economy;
  • sustainable human resources management, including determinants and outcomes of attitudes towards technology and corporate social responsibility, Green ICT strategies, and employees’ resistance to technology automations’ effects on well-being;
  • gender equality at work;
  • individual-level dimensions of the SDGs and change toward sustainability, including how the former are translated into individual behaviour, the relation between individual praxis and adoption of sustainable actions, and the emotional aspects of engaging in sustainable behaviors.


Mark Stafford-Smith, David Griggs, Owen Gaffney, Farooq Ullah, Belinda Reyers, Norichika Kanie, Bjorn Stigson, Paul Shrivastava, Melissa Leach, Deborah O’Connell, “Integration: the key to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals”.  Sustainability Science, July 2016.


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