CSR in the fashion and design industries

Overview of our research in CSR in the creative industries


cbsCSR would like to share with you some of the activities at Copenhagen Business School that create knowledge and new initiatives on sustainability within fashion and design. 


Research project: MISTRA Future Fashion

cbsCSR is one of the partners in a recently announced large-scale research project on CSR in the Nordic fashion industry.

In March 2011, together with a number of consortium partners, cbsCSR won the competitive bid for a completely new research programme entitled Mistra Future Fashion from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra).

Overall, the purpose of the Mistra Future Fashion research programme is to contribute to a more sustainable society, help the fashion industry create greater competitiveness and expertise in sustainability, and find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by the fashion industry.

The project cuts across disciplines and will be conducted over an initial period of three years with a potential for extension. The overall project has been awarded SEK 40 million kroner.

At cbsCSR, Associate Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen, Professor Lucia Reisch, Assistant Professor Wencke Gwozdz and Assistant Professor Anne Roepstorff are involved in the project.

CBS is responsible for analyzing how to develop new and competitive business models and market strategies for the fashion industry as well as understanding and promoting responsible consumption in the industry.

In addition, the project deals with making recommendations for policies on sustainability in the fashion industry and on the design and development of innovative and sustainable materials to the used in the fashion industry.


The Consortium is led and coordinated by SP Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut (SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden) and consists of researchers from Chalmers, Stockholm Business School, Innventia, Konstfack, Malmö Högskola, SWEREA/IVF, and University of Arts London. Additional partners include H&M, Fabric Retail Global AB, I:Collect, Kiram AB, Myrorna, Stockholms Läns Landsting and Södra.

For more information on the project, please contact Associate Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen (on business models and market strategies), erp.ikl@cbs.dk, and Assistant Professor Wencke Gwozdz (on responsible consumerism), wg.ikl@cbs.dk.


Research project: How the Nordic fashion industry can become more responsive to pressure from stakeholders

The Danish Strategic Research Council (FSE) is supporting a DKK 1.45 million research project on CSR in the Nordic Fashion Industry led by Associate Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen.  

The project is entitled ‘Between Resistance and Opportunity-Seeking: Strategic Responses to Institutional pressure Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) within the Nordic Fashion Industry’.

The purpose is to explore how institutional pressures for CSR are translated into concrete strategies and actions for Nordic fashion companies. Institutional studies of CSR so far have mainly focused on the standardization and homogenization of corporate CSR activities, whereas this project will focus on the diversity of strategies and activities that may occur in response to increasing pressure from stakeholders. More precisely, the project will identify how the institutional environment affects the CSR agenda in the Nordic fashion industry.

The project builds on 20 case studies of Nordic apparel and textile industries and a questionnaire with approx. 350-400 responses from organizations in the Nordic fashion industry. The project will result in a book on CSR in the fashion industry, four articles in international journals, three teaching cases and a research conference.

For more information on the project, please contact Associate Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen, erp.ikl@cbs.dk.


Network: Center for Responsible Design (CDR)

cbsCSR has been engaged as a knowledge partner with the Center for Responsible Design since the initiative started. The purpose of the Center for Responsible Design is to collect, develop and mediate knowledge regarding CSR, innovation and sustainable design through education and research in the fashion, design and lifestyle industries..

The Center focuses on helping companies develop and reorganize business strategy and production in a more sustainable direction. cbsCSR has participated in the development and implementation of projects and knowledge seminars and conferences.

cbsCSR is part of the Center for Responsible Design network, which also includes Danish and internaional design schools, fashion and design companies and CSR-related public and volunteer organizations.

For more information on cbsCSR’s collaboration with CDR, please contact Assistant Professor Anne Roepstorff, ar.ikl@cbs.dk .


Industrial PhD on CSR and identity in the fashion industry

In 2010, CBS started an industrial PhD on CSR and identity in the fashion industry supported and funded partly by industry and partly by the Danish Agency of Science, Technology and Innovation under the industrial PhD scheme. PhD Fellow Stine Hedegaard Jørgensen is responsible for the project. Please read more here or contact Stine at shj.ioa@cbs.dk.


Research project: Creative Encounters

From 2007-2011, CBS has been engaged in a large-scale research project entitled “Creative Encounters – The Socio-economic Organization of Creative Industries”. The project is supported by the Danish Council for Strategic Research with DKK 13 million.

The project seeks to explore the socio-economic organization of creative industries in a global context and focuses in particular on three sectors that are of some importance in Denmark: (a) Fashion and Luxury; (b) Film and Media; and (c) Place Branding, Art and Culture.

The aim of the research programme is to uncover the complex interplay between economic and cultural forces that characterizes work practices, professions, organizations, and industries. To this end, Creative Encounters will engage in knowledge-producing partnerships with a broad range of business and educational organizations located both in Denmark and abroad.

For more information, please read here or contact Professor Brian Moeran, bm.ikl@cbs.dk.

According to the trade organization of the fashion and textile companies in Denmark, Danish Fashion and Textile, 2010 was indeed a very good year for Danish fashion.

Demand abroad for Danish fashion is high, with exports having increased by 11.4 percent in 2010 accounting for 21.8 billion kroner, more than ever before.

With the Danish fashion and design industries booming, discussions of how fashion and design companies can incorporate CSR into their operations are increasing as well.

Sidst opdateret: Communications // 12/10/2012