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
Date Written: June 14, 2012
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: Suggested Citation