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. This is what a Transition Lab is all about!


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 Natural Step’s Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development with approaches like Change Lab, Collective Impact, Design Thinking, and Theory U.



The Future-Fit Business Benchmark offers a set of performance criteria that describe a company that is fit for the future: one that will flourish while adding to the wellbeing of society as a whole. This is a collaborative, open source initiative co-led by The Natural Step Canada and 3D Investment FoundationLearn more.


As part of a national commitment to renovate 111.000 social homes to zero-energy homes, Dutch housing corporations, City of Eindhoven, Platform 31 and The Natural Step are co-creating a systems perspective on this challenge. This program is developed to prevent a single focus on energy and energy reduction and moves towards a systems perspective looking at healthy materialisation, closing material loops, improve social cohesion and introduce biodiversity in the built environment. Learn more.


The GTA Housing Action Lab, co-convened by Evergreen CityWorks and The Natural Step Canada, brings together key players across the housing system in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in an effort to engage the public to develop a new, shared narrative and identify priority action projects to make housing more affordable and sustainable. Learn more.


The Natural Step has taken the initiative with Social Sustainability Lab to create a deeper comprehension of what social sustainability imply, and to encourage organizations to become strategic in terms of their social sustainability journey. Five organizations took part, all active in various ways within the areas of community development, infrastructure and construction. These organizations are Riksbyggen, Skanska, Stockholms Hamnar, Stockholms Läns Landsting and Vasakronan. Learn more.


The Sustainability Literacy Lab aims to engage a network of Canadian stakeholders, including diverse voices in education, sustainability, engagement practices, decision-making, behavior change and other relevant topics to deeply consider, collectively design, and incubate a set of collaborative projects to forever change the way decisions are made in Canada. Learn more.


When looking at the business case of natural capital in the built environment, we see numerous benefits to the social, ecological and economic systems. But how do we truly plan for the integration of indigenous nature and species in older neighbourhoods where space and flexibility is limited. 40 stakeholders, varying from municipalities, housing corporations, water boards and nature conservation NGO’s collaborate to drive an agenda that will literally ‘green’ our cities and provide new opportunities for urban art, urban agriculture, green buildings and education. Learn more.


How can Canada’s leadership position in today’s energy system serve as a platform for the transition to the energy system that the future requires of us? The goal of the Energy Futures Lab is to shift the public narrative around energy from arguments that pit “us vs. them,” “jobs vs. environmental protection,” and “community health and well-being vs. resource development,” to new conversations focused on outcomes and a strategic transition from today’s energy system to one that is fit for the future. Learn more.


In 2012, five housing corporations, the City of Eindhoven and The Natural Step, co-created a vision of sustainable living in 2035. A pathway which comes with unprecedented challenges for which collaboration with the value chain of construction companies, architects, engineers and manufacturers of construction materials is essential to it’s success. This Lab not only identifies that physical challenges of materials and logistics but also looks at the change in business processes needed at each stakeholder organisations to make this system shift. Learn more.


The Natural Capital Lab is a platform for innovating and experimenting with new frameworks and approaches to valuing Canada’s natural capital. It is a collaborative effort that will build on existing domestic and international thinking. Phase 1 will explore the issue and validate assumptions, alternatives and appetite among key stakeholders to participate in the Lab. Phase 2 may commence in 2015 and focus on prototyping pan-Canadian approaches to valuing natural capital that protect and enhance our natural capital while driving innovation for the future.