The Center for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CCRS) is an associated institute at the University of Zurich. Its aim is to explore the role of the private sector in sustainable development on the local and global level. Our research activities focus on the creation of knowledge that is of practical relevance and contributes to the design of institutions in business and public policy that are conducive to achieving a more sustainable society. In this context, the CCRS also promotes the role of Switzerland as a hub for the exchange and application of innovative, future-oriented ideas.
Sustainability builds upon people’s ability to embark on collective action designed to shape the future in responsibility and to enable change through the power of innovation. The freedom to innovate requires however a contextual and dynamic understanding of sustainability.
The insight that sustainability is first of all about our ability to shape the future is deeply rooted in the spirit of the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 of the United Nations (UNCED 1992). The new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, build upon these principles.
The research activities at CCRS are designed to contribute to public and corporate policies that promote inclusive and more sustainable growth, the essential base for achieving the 17 SDGs. The pillars that represent inclusive and sustainable growth in the Rio Declaration are reflected in the principles 7 (global partnership), 9/21 (technological change/promoting ideas), 10/11 (stakeholder involvement/policy), 11 (standards/contextual understanding), 12 (open trading system) and 16 (economic incentives). The following icons represent these principles and by clicking on them the various CCRS research projects, events and publications that relate to the respective principle will appear.
||Technological Change - Promoting Ideas||Stakeholder Involvement - Policy|
|Standards - Contextual Understanding||Open Trading System||Economic Incentives|
Our objective is to find tailor-made sustainability solutions for stakeholders in the economy and society. Such solutions must ensure that the objectives and strategies of the respective organization do not stand in conflict with, but are actually supportive of the ambitious and global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. In other words, the Futurability of the organization must be in line with the Futurability of society and the environment as a whole. For that purpose, we first explore the context and the dynamics of the field in which the respective stakeholder operates. Subsequently, we design strategies of responsible action that are governed by an ethics of change that does not just include risk management but the courage to shape the future through sustainable innovation.
Sustainability is a multifaceted term. Its meaning is framed by context, history and culture. Our research on sustainable change at CCRS is interdisciplinary and applied in nature . Therefore, we follow a mixed method approach that combines quantitative and qualitative research.
The principles of the Rio Declaration 1992 as well as the new SDGs that aim at promoting sustainable and inclusive growth represent our frame of reference.
Our Research Areas
Our research in Switzerland focuses primarily on strategies of responsible entrepreneurship designed to promote sustainability and to what extent such strategies are constrained or supported by the internal as well as the external institutional setting. Our international research looks at global trends and how they affect sustainability in the fields of urbanization, technology, development, finance, trade, social empowerment and environmental services.
Our current research expertise centers around four pillars: