Business Models for Sustainable Innovation: State of the Art and Steps Towards a Research Agenda

Journal of Cleaner Production, 2013, Vol. 45, pp. 9-19 (Special Issue 'Sustainable Innovation and Business Models')

30 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2012 Last revised: 10 Oct 2013

Frank Boons

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Florian Lüdeke-Freund

University of Hamburg, Chair of Capital Markets and Management; Leuphana University, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM)

Date Written: June 14, 2012

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to advance research on sustainable innovation by adopting a business model perspective. Through a confrontation of the literature on both topics we find that research on sustainable innovation has tended to neglect the way in which firms need to combine a value proposition, the organization of the upstream and downstream value chain, and a financial model, in order to bring sustainability innovations to the market. Therefore, we review the current literature on business models in the contexts of technological, organizational, and social sustainability innovations. As the current literature does not offer a general conceptual definition of sustainable business models, we propose examples of normative 'boundary conditions' that business models should meet in order to support sustainable innovations. Finally, we sketch the outline of a research agenda by formulating a number of guiding questions.

Keywords: sustainable innovation, sustainable business model, business model for sustainability, literature review, research agenda

JEL Classification: M13, L21

Suggested Citation

Boons, Frank and Lüdeke-Freund, Florian, Business Models for Sustainable Innovation: State of the Art and Steps Towards a Research Agenda (June 14, 2012). Journal of Cleaner Production, 2013, Vol. 45, pp. 9-19 (Special Issue 'Sustainable Innovation and Business Models'). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2103495

Frank Boons

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Florian Lüdeke-Freund (Contact Author)

Leuphana University, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) ( email )

Faculty of Sustainability
Scharnhorststr. 1
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

University of Hamburg, Chair of Capital Markets and Management ( email )

Faculty of Business, Economics & Social Sciences
Von-Melle-Park 9
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.SustainableBusinessModel.org

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,043
Rank
15,964
Abstract Views
2,970