The primary focus of our Sustainable Business Models Group is to help leading businesses create step-change so they can enjoy commercial success in a world affected by sustainability issues. We want this Group to create the next wave of corporate sustainability, and so make a brighter future for us all.

Sustainability issues are eroding the foundations of our current business models - through energy and commodity price rises, worries on security of supply, demands on transparency and more. Yet these changing circumstances are an exciting opportunity for companies that are willing to look beyond compliance and risk management and start pointing their innovation processes towards solutions which take environmental limits into account.

Our Sustainable Business Models group – which includes Bupa, Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer, O2, TUI Travel and Unilever – realise that incremental improvements are not enough. Towards the end of 2011 they asked us for help with how to do breakthrough innovation for sustainability; brilliant ideas which are commercially successful and create a brighter future for us all.

By ‘breakthrough innovation’, we mean the kinds of services and products which can change an entire sector for the better. For example, Cafedirect introduced Fairtrade coffee to the UK. It has now become a mainstream consumer choice across not just coffee but many kinds of products.

We realised that many companies don’t already have the right structures or processes in place, so we have produced ‘Breakthrough innovation: your guide to innovating for a brighter future’. It brings together research and practical insights which we hope will be the beginning of a more radical approach to innovation for many companies.

Whether you are a senior executive, a sustainability champion, or someone charged with innovation, we think that breakthrough innovation is a vital tool for creating positive change inside your organisation.

Contact us with comments on your experience using the guide or to discuss how you can work more closely with us by emailing

Listen to David Bent, who leads our Sustainable Business Models group, talk through our research on Breakthrough Innovation and the management structures you can use in your own organisation:

People involved in this project