WHU
At WHU, we aspire to be at the forefront of sustainable entrepreneurship and management and to drive positive change in the world. Our goal is to generate new insights, approaches, and solutions that can address the most pressing challenges facing society today. As a community, we commit ourselves to establish an environment at WHU that allows to reach these goals.
Our vision is to create a community of leaders who are deeply committed to economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and who possess the knowledge, skills, and values needed to create lasting impact. We believe that sustainability should be a core focus of all our activities, from research and teaching to transfer to management practice and beyond.

Who we are

The establishment of a dedicated Sustainability Management Center at WHU stresses the urgency of ESG challenges faced in business and in society. WHU strives to be a thought leader on sustainability, and the school‘s research currently ranks #1 in Germany and #11 among business schools worldwide in terms of SDG intensity. The Center serves as a platform to share the school’s sustainability-related insights and activities with the broader WHU community and beyond. As such, the Center helps translate insights into management practice, while also matching stakeholders to help advance sustainability-related research and teaching at WHU - always with a focus on how businesses and people can and must be the engine for transformation towards a sustainable future.  Establishing dialogue and forging connections through the Center also creates a basis for deeper research as well as more relevant and applicable teaching in areas such as sustainable business models and operations, supply chain management, social entrepreneurship, marketing and accounting.

How we operate

At WHU, we believe in the power of networks. The Sustainability Management Center helps stakeholders inside and outside of WHU to navigate our network on sustainability topics by keeping track of actors and activities, forging relationships, identifying trends and commonalities and facilitating the exchange of insights, resources, and opportunities for collaboration. The Center works with a broad and diverse range of stakeholders, including large corporate partners, SMEs and startups, and also aims to foster relationships with the public sector, NGOs and individual thought leaders and change agents. Both current business leaders as well as future managers and entrepreneurs benefit from the Center’s offerings. Ultimately, the Center delivers impact by connecting stakeholders – both with cutting-edge insights and with each other – to take action together.

What we do

The work of the WHU Sustainability Management Center is based on a broad understanding of sustainability, encompassing key challenges related to environmental sustainability as well as inclusive and equitable growth and transparent governance.  Some key subject areas for the Center include:

  • Circular and regenerative economy business models
  • Carbon-neutrality and climate solutions
  • Sustainability in transport and logistics
  • Sustainable marketing and consumption
  • ESG accounting and controlling
  • Impact investment
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability in SMEs
  • Sustainability in sports business 

Our activities and offers

1. News

The WHU community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni, works on a broad and diverse range of sustainability-related endeavors. The WHU Sustainability Management Center helps to make these efforts more visible. Here are some recent news items from our community:

2. Events and community building

The WHU Sustainability Management Center collaborates and coordinates with various student- and alumni-led initiatives and events that all have one thing in common: The desire to lead responsibly and advance sustainable business practices.

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forumWHU
Wirtschaft in der Verantwortung
"Every year, over 200 stu­dents from renowned universities in Germany and the EU meet with decision­makers from business and politics on the WHU campus to discuss cur­rent topics from the fields of business, politics and society. "
SensAbility
The WHU Impact Summit
"This conference has been a unique platform ever since its inception, hosting more than 250 international students, entrepreneurs, young pro­fessionals and investors. The diverse and exciting program includes inspirational speeches, hands­on workshops, a panel discussion, the pitch battle, and countless networking opportunities. Over the course of two unforgettable days, attendees from all over the world are inspired towards impactful economic behaviour and corporate social respon­sibility. "
WHU Sustainability Club
We want to clarify the true definition of sustainability in a corporate environment
"The WHU sustainability club wants to look at the success story of responsible companies that set good examples for their entire industries. In addition, we want to address the challenges a business may face while transitioning to a sustainable business model and learn how to overcome them. But we mainly want to gain fundamental knowledge of sustainability and remind ourselves that it lies in our hands to make a change."
In Praxi –
People Planet Profit
"We believe as a group we can help businesses to drive sustainability to drive business; we believe the transition to a circular economy is a chance and competitive advantage; we believe there is a gap to be closed on HOW companies can combine the 3 Ps in innovative business models and create shared value; we believe there is added value in sharing knowledge, expertise, experience - the HOW of circular economy."
WHUSH
WHU Students Help
"The aim of the initiative is to “press pause” in a fast­paced world, to be grateful for what we have, and to encourage students to give back. A recurring event is the annual Christmas charity concert, in which students from the WHU commu­nity get together to perform a vivid music program. Regular projects concerning the community in Vallendar are also consistently on the agenda."
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3. Insights

WHU’s researchers pride themselves in conducting studies and projects that are both academically rigorous and practically relevant. The following examples of recent research have been summarized for a broader public.

For more sustainability-related insights, visit WHU Knowledge on Sustainability.

4. Research

WHU research is regularly published in leading academic journals and practitioner publications. Most recent examples include:

European Journal of Operational Research Vol. 310 (3) p.992-1016

Energy cost efficient scheduling in flexible job-shop manufacturing systems

Shen, L., Dauzère-Pérès, S., Maecker, S. (2023)
Financial Markets, Institutions & Instruments Vol 32 (4) p. 221-252

Sentimental sustainability

Ignatov, K., Rudolf, M. (2023)
Energy Economics Vol. 280 #128129

Energy structure and carbon emissiony

Liu, Y., Xie, X., Wang, M. (2023)
International Journal of Production Economics Vol. 262 #108926

Dealing with donations

Akkerman, R., Buisman, M., Cruijssen, F., De Leeuw, S., Haijema, R. (2023)
Transportation Science Vol. 57 (4) p.999-1018

Cross-border capacity planning in air traffic management under uncertainty

Künnen, J.-R., Strauss, A., Ivanov, N., Jovanovic, R., Fichert, F., Starita, S. (2023)
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice Vol. 174 #103716

Leveraging demand-capacity balancing to reduce air traffic emissions and improve overall network performance

Künnen, J.-R., Strauss, A., Ivanov, N., Jovanovic, R., Fichert, F. (2023)
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment Vol. 121 #103817

Assessing economic, social and ecological impact of parcel-delivery interventions in integrated simulation

Bell, L., Spinler, S., Winkenbach, M., Müller, V. (2023)
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment Vol. 121 #103851

Carbon emissions from European land transportation

Sporkmann, J., Liu, Y., Spinler, S. (2023)
Energy Economics Vol. 121 #106692

Earnings expectations of grey and green energy firms

Liu, Y., Blankenburg, M., Wang, M. (2023)
Journal of Supply Chain Management Vol. 59 (2) p.33-61

In the eye of the beholder

Woelfl, K., Kaufmann, L., Carter, C. R. (2023)
Journal of Operations Management Vol. 69 (2) p.261-283

From target to actor

Ried, L., Eckerd, S., Kaufmann, L., Carter, C. (2023)
Economics Letters Vol. 224 #111002

Climate risk and deployment of corporate resources to working capital

Ahmad, M. F., Aktas, N., Croci, E. (2023)
Journal of Supply Chain Management Volume 59 (p.66-94)

Narratives in supplier negotiations

Kaufmann, L., Schreiner, M., Reimann, F. (2023)
Proceedings of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC 2022 Annual)

Responsibility beyond the point of sale: how product stewardship forges sustainable consumption behavior

Schmitz, A.-K., Schnabl, L., Göring-Lensing-Hebben, K., Fassnacht, M. (2022)
Bodemann, M. Fellner, W., Just, V. (ed.), Springer: Heidelberg, pp. 189-205.

Digitale Lösungen mit Potenzial: Impulse und Beispiele zur Förderung von nachhaltigem Konsumentenverhalten

Schmitz, A.-K., Platzek, F., Göring-Lensing-Hebben, K. (2022)
Resources, Environment and Sustainability, Vol. 7, 100049
Furrer, M., Mostofi, H., Spinler, S. (2022)
Von der ökonomischen Theorie zum politischen Leitbild - Festschrift für Bernd Raffelhüschen zum 65. Geburtstag, Vahlen

Fiskalische Nachhaltigkeit

Hagist, C., Kohlstruck, T. (eds.) (2022)
Controller-Magazin, Vol. 47 (1), pp. 6-10
Schäffer, U. (2022)
Controlling & Management: Zeitschrift für Controlling und Management, Vol. 66 (5), pp. 32-37
Schäffer, U., Müller, M. (2022)
Controlling & Management Review: Zeitschrift für Controlling & Management, Vol. 65 (5/6), pp. 40-45
Schäffer, U., Kusterer, T. (2021)
Energy, Sustainability and Society

Effects of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act and environmental, social and economic factors on biogas plant adoption and agricultural land use change

Yang, X., Liu, Y., Thrän, D., Bezama, A., Wang, M. (2021), Energy, Sustainability and Society, Vol. 11 (1), 6.
Controlling & Management Review

"Für uns ist Nachhaltigkeit kein Modethema". Im Dialog mit Carsten Knobel.

Weber, J./Knobel, C. (2021), Controlling & Management Review 65 (3), 16-22.
Controlling & Management Review

"Meine große Hoffnung ist, dass es teurer wird, schmutzig zu sein". Im Dialog mit Melanie Kreis.

Weber, J./Kreis, M. (2021), Controlling & Management Review 65 (7), 38-43.
Controlling & Management Review

"Wir müssen schneller werden in der Transformation". Im Dialog mit Günther Bachmann.

Schäffer, U./Bachmann, G. (2021), Controlling & Management Review 65 (4), 44-49.
Schmitz, M. (ed.), CSR im Mittelstand, Springer Gabler

Erfolgreiche Frauen führen verantwortungsbewusst?! Nachhaltige Best Practices aus dem Mittelstand

Rankers, C., Kammerlander, N., Keller, K. (2021), in Schmitz, M. (ed.), CSR im Mittelstand, Springer Gabler: Berlin, pp. 75-93.
Kammerlander, N. & Rankers, C. (eds.), Nachhaltigkeit: Frauen schaffen Zukunft, Frankfurter Allgemeine Buch

Die Rolle von Familienunternehmen im SDG Kontext, in: Kammerlander, N. & Rankers, C. (eds.), Nachhaltigkeit : Frauen schaffen Zukunft

Kammerlander, N. (2021), in Kammerlander, N. & Rankers, C. (eds.), Nachhaltigkeit: Frauen schaffen Zukunft, Frankfurter Allgemeine Buch, pp. 76-81.
Emerging Markets Review

Corporate governance in emerging markets: a selective review and an agenda for future research

Ararat, M., Claessens, S., Yurtoglu, B. (2021), Emerging Markets Review, Vol. 48, 100767.
Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Consumer perception of online attributes in circular economy activities

Stein, N., Spinler, S., Vanthournout, H., Blass, V. (2020), Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, Vol. 12 (5), 1914.
Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Face-to-face communication as a tool to support second-hand fashion sales: a field experiment at fashion week in Berlin

Stein, N., Spinler, S., Vanthournout, H. (2020), Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, Vol. 12 (5), 1758.
Journal of Law, Finance, and Accounting

Which aspects of corporate governance do and do not matter in emerging markets

Black, B., Gledson De Carvalho, A., Khanna, V., Kim, W., Yurtoglu, B. (2020), Journal of Law, Finance, and Accounting, Vol. 5 (1), pp. 137-177.
Schmitz, M. (ed.), CSR im Mittelstand.

Erfolgreiche Frauen führen verantwortungsbewusst?! Nachhaltige Best Practices aus dem Mittelstand.

Rankers, C., Kammerlander, N., Keller, K. (2021), .Schmitz, M. (ed.), CSR im Mittelstand, Springer Gabler, pp. 75-93
Thomas Kusterer im Dialog mit Utz Schäffer, Controlling & Management Review

„Das Controlling ist beim Thema Nachhaltigkeit mittendrin.“

Schäffer, U., Kusterer, T. (2021). Thomas Kusterer im Dialog mit Utz Schäffer, Controlling & Management Review, Vol. 65 (5-6), pp. 40-45.
Energy, Sustainability and Society

Effects of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act and environmental, social and economic factors on biogas plant adoption and agricultural land use change.

Yang, X., Liu, Y., Thrän, D., Bezama, A., Wang, M. (2021). Energy, Sustainability and Society, Vol. 11 (1), 6
International Journal of Operations & Production Management

Expect the unexpected: toward a theory of the unintended consequences of sustainable supply chain management.

Carter, C., Kaufmann, L., Ketchen, D. (2020). International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 40 (12), pp. 1857-1871
Journal of Business Ethics

The three dimensions of sustainability: a delicate balancing act for entrepreneuers made more complex by stakeholder expectation.

Fischer, D., Mauer, R., Brettel, M. (2020). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 163 (1), pp. 87–106
Journal of Business Ethics

The three dimensions of sustainability: a delicate balancing act for entrepreneuers made more complex by stakeholder expectation.

Fischer, D., Mauer, R., Brettel, M. (2020). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 163 (1), pp. 87–106
Nature Communications

Paris Climate Agreement passes the cost-benefit test.

Glanemann, N., Willner, S., Levermann, A. (2020). Nature Communications, Vol. 11 (1), 110.
Academy of Management Journal

Toward a process theory of making sustainability strategies legitimate in action.

Hengst, I.-A., Jarzabkowski, P., Högl, M., Müthel, M. (2020). Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 63 (1).
International Journal of Production Economics

Sustainability assessment of last-mile logistics and distribution strategies: the case of local food networks.

Melkonyan, A., Gruchmann, T., Lohmar, F., Kamath, V., Spinler, S. (2020). International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 228, 107746
Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Consumer perception of online attributes in circular economy activities.

Stein, N., Spinler, S., Vanthournout, H., Blass, V. (2020). Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, Vol. 12 (5), 1914.
Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Face-to-face communication as a tool to support second-hand fashion sales: a field experiment at fashion week in Berlin.

Stein, N., Spinler, S., Vanthournout, H. (2020). Sustainability / Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, Vol. 12 (5), 1758.
Journal of Cleaner Production

Scenario and strategy planning for transformative supply chains within a sustainable economy.

Melkonyan, A., Krumme, K., Gruchmann, T., Spinler, S., Schumacher, T., Bleischwitz, R. (2019). Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 231, pp. 144-160.
Colpan, A. M & Jones, G. G. (eds.), Business, ethics and institutions: the evolution of Turkish capitalism in global perspectives

Governance and social responsibility in large Turkish firms.

Yurtoglu, B. (2019). In: Colpan, A. M & Jones, G. G. (eds.), Business, ethics and institutions: the evolution of Turkish capitalism in global perspectives, Routledge, pp. 147-174.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

Regulatory focus theory and sustainable entrepreneurship.

Fischer, D., Mauer, R., Brettel, M. (2018). International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 24 (2), pp. 408-428.
Ebel, K. & May, K. & Rau, S. B. & Zinkann, R. (eds.), Familienunternehmen gestern - heute - morgen

Nachhaltiges Wirtschaften als Richtschnur der Generationengerechtigkeit.

Hagist, C. (2018). In: Ebel, K. & May, K. & Rau, S. B. & Zinkann, R. (eds.), Familienunternehmen gestern - heute - morgen, Murmann Publishers, pp. 88-93.
Asian Development Bank (ed.), A region at risk: the human dimensions of climate change in Asia and the Pacific

Climate change and trade networks.

Glanemann, N., Willner, S., Otto, C. (2017). In: Asian Development Bank (ed.), A region at risk: the human dimensions of climate change in Asia and the Pacific, Asian Development Bank, pp. 95-99.
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice

Long-haul low cost airlines: characteristics of the business model and sustainability of its cost advantages.

Soyk, C., Ringbeck, J., Spinler, S. (2017). Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 106, pp. 215-234.
Günther, E. & Steinke, K.-H. (eds.), CSR und Controlling

Nachhaltigkeit – Modewelle oder ein neues Arbeitsfeld für Controller?

Schäffer, U., Weber, J. (2016). In: Günther, E. & Steinke, K.-H. (eds.), CSR und Controlling, Springer Gabler, pp. 41-54.
Controller-Magazin: Spezial

Do you have children? Sino-German research symposium on environmental accounting and management control in Dalian, China.

Schäffer, U. (2016). Controller-Magazin: Spezial, pp. 22-23.
5. Guest lectures and case assignments

Developing novel business models, Professor Dries Faems

As part of this course, all Bachelor students develop and pitch a business model for a sustainability-related startup that makes commercial sense while also benefiting the planet.

Brand Positioning and Sustainability - Insights from Henkel Consumer Adhesives, Asst. Professor Anna-Karina Schmitz

During the Master course “Marketing Strategy and Decision Making”, Philippe Guégan, Global Head of Marketing Strategy and Head of Sustainability atHenkel Adhesives presented a practitioner’s perspective on the intersection of brand and sustainability. The talk covered the climate impact of products, health and safety as well as the role of adhesive in extending the useful life of products.

Creating social value, Professor Nadine Kammerlander

In the Bachelor program, Stefanie Hauer, Partner and Member of the Board of NatureRe Capital AG presented on the twin climate and biodiversity crises. For students, this brought home the message that climate is about how we live - but biodiversity is about whether we live.

6. Executive Education

WHU's General Management Plus Program enables participants to create social impact and develop as a leader while enhancing their general management skills. Facilitated by BOOKBRIDGE, a social enterprise founded by WHU alumnus Carsten Rübsaamen, program teams establish a fully independent social enterprise in local community in a developing country.

Our team and affiliated professors

Professors from all six of WHU’s research groups are affiliated with the Sustainability Management Center.
Professor Christian Andres
Professor Christian Andres
Chair of Empirical Corporate Finance
Asst. Professor Marjolein Buisman
Asst. Professor Marjolein Buisman
Supply Chain Management Group
Professor Martin Glaum
Professor Martin Glaum
Chair of International Accounting
Asst. Professor Nicole Gottschalck
Asst. Professor Nicole Gottschalck
Economics Group
Asst. Professor  Julia de Groote
Asst. Professor Julia de Groote
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group
Professor Christian Hagist
Professor Christian Hagist
Chair of Economic and Social Policy
Asst. Professor  Irina Heimbach
Asst. Professor Irina Heimbach
Management Group
Professor Christoph Hienerth
Professor Christoph Hienerth
Chair of Entrepreneurship and Creativity
Professor Arnd Huchzermeier
Professor Arnd Huchzermeier
Chair of Production Management
Professor Nadine Kammerlander
Professor Nadine Kammerlander
Associate Dean DEI & Sustainability
Asst. Professor Priscilla Kraft
Asst. Professor Priscilla Kraft
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group
Asst. Professor Vera Linke
Asst. Professor Vera Linke
Management Group
Professor Miriam Müthel
Professor Miriam Müthel
Chair of Organizational Behavior
Professor Marko Reimer
Professor Marko Reimer
Institute of Management Accounting and Control
Honorary Professor Jürgen Ringbeck
Honorary Professor Jürgen Ringbeck
Professor Utz Schäffer
Professor Utz Schäffer
Institute of Management Accounting and Control
Professor Christian Schlereth
Professor Christian Schlereth
Chair of Digital Marketing
Asst. Professor Anna-Karina Schmitz
Asst. Professor Anna-Karina Schmitz
Marketing & Sales Group
Asst. Professor Elena Shvartsman
Asst. Professor Elena Shvartsman
Economics Group
Professor Stefan Spinler
Professor Stefan Spinler
Chair of Logistics Management
Asst. Professor Barbara Stage
Asst. Professor Barbara Stage
Finance & Accounting Group
Professor Arne Strauss
Professor Arne Strauss
Mercator Endowed Chair of Demand Management & Sustainable Transport
Asst. Professor Pisitta Vongswasdi
Asst. Professor Pisitta Vongswasdi
Management Group
Professor Nadine Kammerlander
Professor Nadine Kammerlander
Associate Dean DEI & Sustainability
Rebecca Stallbaumer
Rebecca Stallbaumer
Senior Manager DEI & Sustainability
Charlotte Both
Charlotte Both
BSc 2020
Massimo Dal Bosco
Massimo Dal Bosco
In Praxi Board Member for Sustainability, KW EMBA 2005
Johanna Kasper
Johanna Kasper
In Praxi Team
Caroline Vaessen
Caroline Vaessen
In Praxi Team, BSc 2020, MSc 2022
Lucia Scheffner
Lucia Scheffner
MSc 2025
Florian Schibber
Florian Schibber
BSc 2026

Our partners

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Support us

The WHU Sustainability Management Center continuously seeks funding and support to broaden and deepen its activities, particularly in the areas of community mapping and monitoring as well as matchmaking, but also to make the WHU community and campus more sustainable. Specific cases for support include:

  • Sponsorship of a doctoral student to work on strategically expanding the Center’s activities
  • Sponsorship of a staff member dedicated to maintaining and improving the Center’s mapping and monitoring activities
  • Sponsorship of community building and networking events
  • Financial support to sustainability-related research, including that of PhD students, e.g. for research-related travel and other expenses
  • Funding for specific infrastructure measures on the WHU campuses, such as additional solar panels, charging stations, bike racks or water fountains
  • Support in implementing climate measures to compensate for CO2e emissions that we are currently not able to avoid

By investing in the Center, partners will get connected to world-class research, talent, and collaborative opportunities that drive sustainability innovation, thereby gaining access to practical insights and tools to integrate sustainability into their business models and operations. The Center’s focus on shared value creation for companies, society, and the environment makes it an attractive investment for those committed to building a sustainable future.

If you want to get involved, contact us.