Sustainable Visioning: Re-framing Strategic Vision to Enable a Sustainable Corporate Transformation

Heather Louise Madsen*, John Parm Ulhøi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, provide a global platform that is increasingly being used by organizations to work strategically and take action in line with social responsibility. This study examines the case of a multinational corporation (MNC) that has moved from sustainability as a standalone business function to sustainability as a strategic orienting principal, in order to better understand how and why this transformation was possible. The paper re-frames and integrates insights and concepts from literature on organizational vision and corporate sustainability. In so doing, sustainable visioning is introduced as the 'glue' that holds together organizational commitments that are centered on social, economic and environmental principals. The Danish MNC Ørsted serves to demonstrate how sustainable visioning has provided the essential means to strategically reinvent an energy company primarily based on fossil fuels into what is today one of the largest renewable energy companies (by capacity) in the world. More specifically, the study shows how sustainable visioning has been used to (i) spur innovation and new technologies that have substantially reduced the cost of offshore wind production, (ii) grow the business and investment portfolio, and (iii) attract financing and increase the competitive positioning within the growing ecosystem for sustainable development. To conclude, the implications of sustainable visioning are discussed along with the opportunities for future research on the topic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125602
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Sustainability
  • SDGs
  • Vision
  • Innovation
  • Business development
  • Network innovation
  • Sustainable visioning

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