Strategic Sustainable Development

Core Theme 1: Strategic Sustainable Development

The MSLS Programme approaches sustainability through the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD).

What is the FSSD?

Based on systems thinking, the FSSD is a science-based, structured approach to working systematically and strategically with the complex sustainability challenge society faces. It is designed to facilitate analysis, planning, decision-making and strategic collaborative action across disciplines and sectors towards sustainability at any scale, in any context.

At its core, the FSSD has basic principles that define social and ecological sustainability, and guidelines for how to strategically support society’s fulfilment of those principles. It is a non-prescriptive framework supporting any person or organization to create a vision of their own sustainable future within their specific context. It stimulates ideas for what steps might be taken to move towards that vision and supports prioritization of these possible steps into an economically viable change plan. The FSSD also guides selection, development and a coordinated use of supplementary concepts, methods and tools for sustainable development.

The FSSD opens up the possibility for creative solutions uniquely suited to any context and has the power to bring together the seemingly incompatible (e.g. ethics with profitability, short-term with long-term, the small organization with the whole world, and stakeholders with apparently divergent interests).

A Successful History

The FSSD has been developed over the past 25 years through an ongoing, comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific process, including application and testing in the field. Over the course of its history, the FSSD has successfully contributed to advancing the sustainability work in hundreds of organisations around the world, including through the advisory work of The Natural Step[1]. Examples include businesses such as IKEA[SP8] , Interface, Starbucks, Nike, Scandic Hotels, Hydro Polymers and Rohm and Hass, as well as municipalities such as Whistler BC in Canada, Madison, Wisconsin in the United States, and many more around the world. In Sweden a network of more than ninety “eco-municipalities” has signed on to implement the FSSD in their operations.

New Applications Constantly Evolving

Along with others in an international network of partner institutions, researchers at the Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) are instrumental in the on-going development of the FSSD. At BTH we are also exploring in particular how the FSSD can inform sustainable product-service innovation and sustainable energy system development. At the same time, other researchers and practitioners around the world integrate the FSSD with still more fields and apply it in numerous contexts.


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