Sustainable Business Models

sustainable business model patterns luedeke freund

Sustainable Solutions for Your Business Model

The Sustainability Pack enables companies and startups to build a sustainable organisation. The patterns are based on a study by Carroux (2017) and Lüdeke-Freund et al. (2018). The goal of this study was the creation of a taxonomy for sustainable business model patterns, which can be used by scholars and practitioners from different disciplines and industries.

A sustainable business model pattern can be defined as follows: “A sustainable business model pattern describes an ecological, social, and/or economic problem that arises when an organisation aims to create value, and it describes the core of a solution to this problem that can be repeatedly applied in a multitude of ways, situations, contexts, and domains. An SBM pattern also describes the design principles, value-creating activities, and their arrangements that are required to provide a useful problem-solution combination.”

Behind the Scenes

Carroux (2017) and Lüdeke-Freund et al. (2018) developed a review-based approach to create a Sustainable Business Models pattern taxonomy. It consists of the five steps “identifying and reviewing relevant literature”, “extracting SBM patterns from the literature”, “developing initial pattern groups”, “using the Modified Delphi Card Sorting method to create SBM pattern groups”, and “associating the SBM patterns and groups to sustainable value creation”. With the help of the Modified Delphi Card Sorting exercise and ten international experts, 45 business model patterns were classified into meaningful groups and were evaluated on their potential for sustainable value creation. The six major categories “patterns to support ecological effectiveness”, “social effectiveness”, “economic effectiveness”, “eco-efficiency”, “socio-efficiency”, and “integrative value creation” contain 11 thematic pattern groups, which you can see next to the graph above.

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Useful For

  • Making your company more sustainable
  • Creating sustainable startups
  • Teaching sustainable business models

Find Out More

Lüdeke-Freund, F., Carroux, S., Joyce, A., Massa, L., & Breuer, H. (2018). The sustainable business model pattern taxonomy—45 patterns to support sustainability-oriented business model innovation. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 15, 145-162.

About the Creators

Florian Lüdeke-Freund is leading the Chair for Corporate Sustainability at the ESCP Europe Business School in Berlin and is academic director of the master in entrepreneurship and sustainable innovation. He is an expert in research and teaching on corporate sustainability management and sustainable entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on innovation and business models. As well as publishing numerous journal articles and book chapters on these topics, he has co-edited several journal special issues, including an Organization & Environment special issue on “Business Models for Sustainability”. His publications on sustainable business models are regularly among the most downloaded and most cited papers in their respective journals (e.g., Journal of Cleaner Production, Organization & Environment). Florian founded as an international research hub with 25 members from more than 10 countries.

Sarah Carroux is a research associate and doctoral candidate at the University of Hamburg. As member of the Chair of Management and Sustainability, led by Timo Busch, Sarah researches topics related to sustainable finance with a strong focus on impact investing as well as sustainable business models.

Alexandre Joyce, B.D.I., M.Sc.A., ADIQ, NPDP, works as an advisor in sustainable development for the Institute for Product Development (IPD). In concert with the leaders of the Quebec manufacturing industry, he helps innovation teams take environmental concerns into account during the design phase and integrate sustainability in their product development process.

Lorenzo Massa is adjunct professor at the University of Bologna, department of Management and faculty at EPFL-EMBA, at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. His research lies at the intersection of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainability. He holds graduate degrees with distinctions in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Management from IESE Business School.

Henning Breuer is professor for business and media psychology at the University of Applied Sciences of Media, Communication and Management in Berlin and founder of UXBerlin – Innovation Consulting.

How It Works

Use the Pattern Pack to Build your Business Model

The Smart Business Modeler allows you to explore the different suitable business model patterns, gives you guidance and relevant information.

Business Model Patterns

Wizards Guide You Through The Process

Every time you drag&drop a pattern onto your business model canvas, our ‘wizards’ will indicate, which elements of your business model should follow that patterns’ logic and automatically insert the pattern where it is most-suitable.

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