Sustainable value creation : A case study of a Professional Service Firm

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: Today, sustainability has become a central part of every recent global agenda. As the world is establishing a more sustainable path, professional service firms have started setting up new targets and goals to meet the changing demands and regulations of governments, societies, and investors. In an initiative to create sustainable long-term value for multiple stakeholders, professional service firms are investigating alternative approaches to value creation and competitiveness in a previously unknown market. This has proven to be challenging as value today is often measured in short-term sales and income and long-term value is often overlooked in the business model and the project selection processes.  The aim of the study was to identify and evaluate the challenges professional service firms face when incorporating sustainable value creation into their business model and also to suggest actions to create competitiveness in a previously unexplored market of sustainable value creation. An abductive case study was performed on a large professional service firm. The data collection consisted of 10 semi-structured interviews with company representatives of different ranks. Additionally, a survey with 30 respondents from the case company was carried out. The study concludes that challenges related to sustainable value creation include; incorporating clear measurement and reporting systems in terms of the triple bottom line, transforming Value Uncaptured to Value Captured, lowering the perceived risk of sustainability incorporation, and convincing the right people to make the right decisions. Moreover, the study elicits a framework for sustainable value creation that professional service firms can use as a tool to incorporate sustainability into the business model.  In order to create competitiveness in the new market of sustainable value creation, professional service firms could incorporate sustainable value creation, through the assessment of tangible and intangible assets in all business cases and offerings, and thereby work proactively to meet future demands. This will create competitiveness through a first mover advantage. 

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