The aim of this paper is to present and discuss a French-Brazilian project (CAPES-COFECUB) centered on the relations between sustainable development, innovation and changes in work activities that accompany these innovations for sustainable development. Sustainable development calls for an integrated approach of three dimensions: social equity, economic viability and environmental sustainability. In order to achieve this integration, considerable innovations efforts are required. However, the work, understood as a productive act, is deeply lacking in the current researches. Starting from the idea that work is a “fundamental need” the goal of this project is to propose innovative methods that can be used for designing production systems from the perspective of sustainable development.