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Article

The Business Model in Sustainability Transitions: A Conceptualization

1
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, Tegnérsplatsen 4, 223 50 Lund, Sweden
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Centre for Society and Policy, Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science—Bangalore, Mathikere, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560012, India
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Maastricht Sustainability Institute, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Tapijn 11 Building D, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luis Jesús Belmonte-Ureña
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5763; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115763
Received: 13 April 2021 / Revised: 8 May 2021 / Accepted: 11 May 2021 / Published: 21 May 2021
Business models direct a firm’s activity to move in coherence with the objectives of the business. Current literature suggests business models can act as vital forces to facilitate sustainability transitions and highlights the urgent research call to understand the role of business model innovations in stimulating sustainability transitions. This paper addresses this research need by investigating how firms create business model innovations for system-level transformation towards sustainability. Through a systematic literature review and deductive content analysis methodology, we identify and categorize different combinations of innovative activities in a firm’s business model. Furthermore, two cases are illustrated to demonstrate the proposed conceptual model. The proposed conceptualization bridges a significant gap in the theme of sustainability and business and presents a defensible and researchable problem for transitions literature. Specifically, we find (1) shared vision and strategic dialogues among firms in different sectors as essential to develop value propositions and leverage business opportunities for sustainability in the long run; (2) companies ensure sustainable value creation and value delivery in the medium term through creation of an interdependent network of the green supply chain and collaboration with stakeholders; (3) in the short term, companies adopt sustainable practices, controlling daily operations, conducting awareness campaigns and experimenting with collaborations to deliver values based on sustainable practices. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable business models (SBM); activity-system approach; circular economy; sustainability transition; transition management; transitions studies sustainable business models (SBM); activity-system approach; circular economy; sustainability transition; transition management; transitions studies
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hernández-Chea, R.; Jain, A.; Bocken, N.M.P.; Gurtoo, A. The Business Model in Sustainability Transitions: A Conceptualization. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5763. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115763

AMA Style

Hernández-Chea R, Jain A, Bocken NMP, Gurtoo A. The Business Model in Sustainability Transitions: A Conceptualization. Sustainability. 2021; 13(11):5763. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115763

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hernández-Chea, Roberto; Jain, Akriti; Bocken, Nancy M.P.; Gurtoo, Anjula. 2021. "The Business Model in Sustainability Transitions: A Conceptualization" Sustainability 13, no. 11: 5763. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115763

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