Proceedings of the 13th International Academic Conference, Antibes




Sustainable development includes economic, social and ecological dimensions which have to be in balance not only today but in the future, too. The framework for sustainable development is multidisciplinary, including actors from different fields as defined in the Triple Helix Model. In this paper, we illustrate alternative scenarios for sustainable business opportunities in a specific region in Finland called Western Uusimaa. As background information we have a survey data concerning companies’ attitudes towards sustainable development which has been collected from 88 companies in different business fields. We also analyse the needs for skills and competences in alternative scenarios and make recommendations for actors in the business, society and university to meet those challenges. Western Uusimaa region and its business structure are in transition: many traditional industries do not operate there anymore and new businesses are more than welcome. One of the main driving forces shaping the operational environment is sustainable development. Therefore, green industry, cleantech and responsible business models are the elements of the renewal needed for the future. Our paper is based on an ongoing project which is figuring out the ecosystem of sustainable business in the Western Uusimaa and examining future sustainable business opportunities in the long run. The focus of this paper is on future business opportunities related to sustainable development. The methods used in the research are related to future studies and the timeframe is 20 years to the future. As a result we introduce alternative future scenarios for the sustainable business development. The scenarios are 1) Branded niche for the global market, 2) Competitive advantage from proactive innovations, 3) Develop or die and 4) Local train. Scenarios 1 and 2 are market driven whereas scenarios 3 and 4 are society driven. The content of the scenarios have supplemented with the core competence tree concept, especially focusing on roots, i.e. competences. Knowledge and skills, values and attitudes as well as contacts and experiences together form the set of core competences which are necessary in business development. According to results, most of the companies at least recognize the importance of sustainability and its role in the business. There also seems to be a real need to inform companies about the opportunities created by sustainable solutions. Networking and finding the right partners are essential when developing sustainable business. The co-operation of actors from all Triple Helix dimensions is needed when developing business opportunities within a regional sustainability cluster.

Keywords: Sustainable development, future, scenario, triple helix, business, competences, regional development

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