Introducing the Sustainability Innovation Pathway Framework

Introducing the Sustainability Innovation Pathway Framework

Those of you who get our monthly newsletter, “Foresight and Strategy” , will have seen our announcement of the launch of our Sustainability Innovation Pathway Framework. This week’s blog is more about the Framework – what follows is an edited version of the Executive Summary of the published Proof of Concept document. If it piques your interest, let us know and we’ll be sure to get you a copy.

Sustainability, and ESG, are important components of the world’s move to Net Zero. They impact everywhere – from government policies to private sector action to consumer behaviour. As COP27 is making clear, they are both vital and complex. We hope that the Framework is a way of making action easier and more impactful.

The world is warming. We are already on course to miss the IPCC target of +1.5 degrees. More has to be done – and it will be done through innovation, powered by the actions of governments, industries and companies, and the funds of investors, public and private.

How can these players know what innovations to fund? Or how to report, in a clear and standardised fashion, what progress is already being made? How can they know, in an increasingly uncertain world, whether investments are robust and secure?

Traditional financial models do not encompass the richness of our potential shared future, and the risks and opportunities it contains. Models that combine views of the future and financial metrics are often complex and hard to explain. Early-stage technology investments run the risk that the technologies will be in place too late to make an impact on what is becoming an urgent problem.

The Sustainability Innovation Pathway (SIP) Framework aims to address – and solve – these issues in a comprehensive, robust and swift fashion. The Framework is based on an intimate understanding of three disciplines:

  • Technology readiness and adoption velocity
  • Futures and foresight thinking
  • Financial modelling

and combines all three to deliver usable, appropriate and timely outputs which can guide investment decisions across government, the private sector and industry. The project itself has been developed by leading international management and technology consulting company Eraneos Group, foresight experts SAMI Consulting and sustainability automators Sustainaccount.

The Proof of Concept document is a detailed description of the Framework, and describes

  • An overview of the SIP Framework
  • The strategy objectives of the framework.
  • The two analytical – qualitative and quantitative – elements of the framework and how they work together
  • The future developments of the SIP Framework.

Our aim is that, using the framework, companies, investors or governments will better understand their options in facilitating, and more importantly, accelerating decarbonisation. They will be able to, for instance:

  • Identify the technological innovation(s) with the highest and fastest decarbonisation potential
  • Determine the technological innovation(s) that unlock resilience and market leadership
  • Quantify the risk and return of specific decarbonisation innovation projects
  • Quantify the mitigation effect of innovation investments on the potential value of stranded assets
  • Determine the effect of the mass deployment of innovative decarbonisation technologies in one sector on another sector or industry.

We know that there are many models for sustainability measurement, and ESG reporting. We believe that the framework is both novel and useful because it:

  • Works well to meet investment and reporting needs across the full spectrum of public and private sector
  • Benefits from a clear outcome focus
  • Is comprehensible and explicable within the boardroom or around a minister’s desk as well as it is on a (trading floor).
  • Is extremely flexible – from different possible futures to varying inputs
  • Has outputs that are clear, and meet industry standard metrics as well as having the ability to generate client-specific metrics on demand.

Industry specific use cases will be prepared over the coming months.

Do let us know (by emailing Jonathan at if you’d like a copy of the Framework, if you’d like to be kept up to date as we publish case studies, and if you’d like us to introduce you to the Framework for your organisation.

Written by Jonathan Blanchard Smith, SAMI Fellow and Director

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

Future-prepared firms outperform the average by 33% higher profitability and 200% higher growth. SAMI Consulting brings 30 years of experience delivering foresight, futures and scenario planning – enabling companies and organisations make “robust decisions in uncertain times”. Find out more

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One Comment
  1. […] NASA approached the issue from the technology end, defining different levels of technology readiness for use in the space industry. This approach has been gaining ground in other industries but there remains some scepticism as to its usefulness. We use Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) extensively in our Sustainability Innovation Pathway Framework. […]

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