Call for Papers

Call for Papers

+++ A PDF version of the call can be downloaded here +++

Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability

Fall Conference 2023 of the Sustainability Management Section (“WK NAMA”)
of the German Academic Association of Business Research (VHB)
in Cooperation with the Association for Ecological Economy Research (VÖW)

University of Oldenburg, September 28-29, 2023

Firms are increasingly acting on critical environmental and social issues, such as climate change, the destruction of natural ecosystems, or gender equality, thereby contributing to a broader transition to sustainability. Driven by regulators, NGOs, social movements (e.g., Fridays for Future), changing customer expectations, start-ups, employees, and financial markets, more and more firms are setting ambitious decarbonization goals, aligning their activities with the UN Development Goals, and fundamentally changing their strategies and core business models.

Despite the significant progress in recent years, there is reason for concern whether the pace at which the transition to sustainability is occurring is fast enough to create timely and long-lasting change. For example, limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as recommended by the IPCC, would require achieving carbon neutrality in Germany by 2030 already. Yet, global carbon emissions are still on the rise and both, firms and the financial market, keep heavily investing in fossil fuel projects. Furthermore, firms are consuming natural resources at an ever-increasing pace, as evidenced by the fact that the global Earth Overshoot Day has been arriving earlier in the year for most of the past five decades. A similar picture emerges when considering the role and impact of firms from the perspectives of social sustainability. Although firms play an important role in reducing poverty, income inequality is on the rise and precarious working conditions or even human rights violations in work contexts remain widespread. Recent crises like the Covid-19 pandemic or the war in Ukraine make transitioning to sustainability even more challenging as they consume the attention and scarce (financial) resources of decision makers in both the public and private sector.

Amid these challenges, the NAMA 2023 fall conference, hosted by the University of Oldenburg, invites submissions focusing on the overarching question of how we can accelerate the global transition to sustainability.

Potential topics and research questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What role do firms and the individuals they employ play in fostering a societal and ecological transition to sustainability?
  • How can we speed up processes of organizational learning and strategic change within firms to steer them onto more sustainable pathways?
  • Which instruments and tools can facilitate an accelerated change in firms and in production and consumption systems in general?
  • What is the role and impact of different internal and external stakeholders (e.g., investors, employees, suppliers, regulators, consumers or local communities) in accelerating a transition to sustainability?
  • What are the main obstacles and sources of inertia hindering a fast(er) transition to sustainability at the societal, industrial, firm, or individual level?
  • How can we change institutions (e.g., public policies, norms, or values) in order to achieve radical industrial transformations including sustainable consumption patterns?
  • What is the role of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystems vs. incumbent firms in spurring sustainability-oriented change?
  • Which novel business models and paradigms (e.g., Common Wealth Economics, Sufficiency, Degrowth, or Doughnut Economics) are needed to bring about radical change and (how) can they be implemented in a capitalist system?
  • How can we alter the architecture and governance of complex global supply chains (e.g., toward a circular economy) to increase their sustainability?
  • How can we overcome the research-practice gap to increase the impact of academic research and promote evidence-based policymaking in the realm of sustainability?
  • How can innovative yet under-utilized research approaches (e.g., design science, co-creation, real-world laboratories, action research, field experiments) generate solution designs and novel insights that propel fast and long-lasting change?
  • How can we measure, monitor, and manage the impact of companies on the transition to sustainability?

Open topic conference track: We also invite submissions for the open topic conference track. The open topic track welcomes manuscripts from the entire field of sustainability management.

Conference Submissions:

We accept submissions in English as well as in German. Submissions are invited in the form of extended abstracts, max. 7 pages (including title page, references, figures, tables, etc.; formatted with Times New Roman font, 12 pt, double-spaced throughout).

All submissions will go into a double-blind review process. Please hand in your submission via the conference submission system by April 30, 2023. Please make sure that your document does not contain any information that reveals the author(s).

Doctoral Consortium:

In addition to paper presentations, speeches, and panel discussions, the conference will feature a doctoral consortium, which will take place on the day prior to the main program (September 27). The goal of the consortium is to improve PhD students’ ability to publish their work in high-ranked international journals and offer a platform to discuss their research projects and concerns openly with each other and with senior sustainability management scholars. To this end, the consortium will offer input on paper writing and publishing, an intense paper development workshop, an informal Q&A session, as well as ample opportunities to network and socialize.

The doctoral consortium is open to approximately 10-15 promising PhD students in the realm of sustainability management, broadly construed. PhD students must apply for the doctoral consortium separately, as submissions to the consortium and the main conference will be evaluated separately. To apply for the consortium, please send a CV as well as an extended abstract of your PhD project or paper of max. 7 pages (including title page, references, figures, tables, etc.; formatted with Times New Roman font, 11 pt, double-spaced throughout) to Dr. Josua Oll ( by May 31, 2023. In case of admission to the doctoral consortium, you commit yourself to submitting a full paper one month prior to the event as well as reading and preparing feedback to at least two of your peers’ full paper submissions.


  • Conference submissions possible until April 30, 2023
  • Submissions doctoral consortium possible until May 31, 2023
  • Communication of review results by June 15, 2023
  • Conference registration by August 15, 2023
  • Full paper submissions doctoral consortium by August 30, 2023
  • Doctoral consortium & pre-conference dinner September 27, 2023
  • NAMA conference September 28-29, 2023


Prof. Dr. Jörn Hoppmann ()
Prof. Dr. Christian Busse ()
Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhüner ()
Prof. Dr. Klaus Fichter ()
Prof. Dr. Sascha Alavi ()
Dr. Josua Oll ()

(Stand: 19.01.2024)  | 
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