Sustainability Transition Lab

We live in a time of great uncertainty, complexity, and unprecedented systemic challenges. There is growing recognition that addressing complex sustainability challenges requires unprecedented collaboration and new ways of working across sectors and across scales.

What is a Sustainability Transition Lab?

The Sustainability Transition Lab is an approach to tackling these complex social and environmental challenges.

It blends The Natural Step’s expertise in designing and facilitating transformational change towards sustainability with leading approaches to multi-stakeholder collaboration.

The process is intended to build capacity in a group of diverse stakeholders to tackle “wicked” sustainability challenges and create breakthrough solutions by learning to think, work, and innovate together differently.

We aim to demonstrate that new insights and opportunities will arise when we integrate the core concepts and our application approaches of the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development with approaches like Change Lab, Collective Impact, Design Thinking, and Theory U.


  What does the name Sustainability Transition Lab mean?

We use the term sustainability because our labs focus on issues where there is a clear desire to create a sustainable future state.

We use the term transition because our challenges are about more than striking the right balance today; profound systems change is required. 

We use the term lab because our process involves learning, experimentation, and breakthrough.


Breakthrough Results

Each Sustainability Transition Lab is intended to generate tangible breakthrough results that shift a system toward sustainability. Such breakthrough results may include:

  • changes in public policy
  • altered resource flows
  • new programs and initiatives
  • new standards or partnerships
  • game-changing new business models

These are only examples. Each lab’s specific results will emerge through the collaboration. They will be impacted by various circumstances, including the nature of the challenge, the design of the process, the engagement of partners and participants, and other external factors.

Sustainability Transition Lab Process

People and Partners

All Labs