An Opportunity for Scenario Planning in Corporate Sustainability Strategy

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Corporate sustainability practitioners utilize a variety of different tools to engage a company's senior leadership and deliver value back to a business organization through reduced risk or cost, improved operational efficiency, or increased revenue generation. Strategy and planning professionals have used scenario planning to predict global oil crises, rebuild post-apartheid South Africa, and advance military maneuvers. This project evaluated the intersection of corporate sustainability and scenario planning through a literature review of core themes, personal interviews with scenario planners and sustainability professionals, and case study research on how companies were able to utilize scenario planning in corporate sustainability. The two case studies pertained to PepsiCo's use of scenarios to build their Performance with Purpose program, and a multi-company collaboration focused on the future of commerce called Retail Horizons. The results demonstrated that there is an opportunity to use scenario planning to better integrate corporate sustainability into business process, set meaningful goals and engage stakeholders by facilitating a trend-based exercise whereby participants are able to explore the uncertainty of future worlds in which their companies must operate. When the conditions are right for scenario planning, corporate sustainability practitioners potentially have an opportunity to use this strategy tool to embed good corporate citizenship while exploring futures where business thrive in tandem with a well-nourished population and sustain global resources.





Atwood, Roian (2018). An Opportunity for Scenario Planning in Corporate Sustainability Strategy. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.