Valentina De Marchi
Sustainability, resilience and the complexity challenge
Can the crisis generated by the pandemic be an opportunity to transform our society towards a more sustainable economy? Can a sustainable approach to production represent a response to the current economic and social crisis? COVID-19 is just one of the challenges we will face as a society: the climate crisis and the biodiversity collapse will be even more impacting – so it becomes fundamental to reverse the process now, supporting the shift towards a more sustainable model of production and consumption.
In the coming months and years, companies will have to face an extremely complex reality, characterized by several challenges even in contrast to each other – e.g. maximizing competitiveness but also security. The possibility to successfully overcome this period will rely on their ability to face and manage many different challenges at the same time. Indeed, such ability will make them resilient – able to “use shocks as windows of opportunity, and thus translate the negative narrative of a ‘stormy future’ into a positive one” (Manca et al., 2017) – thanks to their ability to transform themselves and find new solutions. Those who have been already dealing with sustainability have been experience the need to reconcile aspects that can diverge and create tension with each other – alleviating poverty and guaranteeing biodiversity, guaranteeing equal opportunities and fighting climate change – in order to find innovative solutions.
In this context, we aim to (1) verify the conditions under which investment in sustainability can support resilience in the face of unexpected shocks; (2) identify and map responses put in place by companies to respond to the challenge posed by the COVID-19 emergency, to identify sustainability practices to be extended to companies that have not yet made such a transition.