Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship

  • New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series

Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen, Jost Hamschmidt, Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik

In recent years our understanding of corporate sustainability has moved from exploitation to exploration, from corporate environmental management to sustainable entrepreneurship, and from efficiency to innovation. Yet current trends indicate the need for radical innovation via entrepreneurial start-ups or new ventures within existing corporations despite difficulties with the financing and marketing of such efforts. Presenting both conceptual and empirical research, this fascinating book addresses how we can combine environmental and social sustainability with economic sustainability in order to produce innovative new business models.
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Chapter 4: Exploration of Business Models for Material Efficiency Services

Minna Halme, Markku Anttonen and Mika Kuisma

Extract

4. Exploration of business models for material efficiency services1 Minna Halme, Markku Anttonen and Mika Kuisma Business enterprises are still not making the best possible use of the many opportunities for energy and material efficiency improvements although there is abundant research on eco-efficiency and growing recognition of the need to dematerialize the economy. More than a decade ago, Porter and van der Linde (1995) presented compelling evidence that efficient resource use can be a major competitive advantage for an enterprise. More efficient resource use not only reduces the environmental burden from industrial operations, but often translates into lower procurement and waste management costs as well (Hinterberger et al., 1997; von Weizsäcker et al., 1997; Schmidt-Bleek, 1998). From an ecological point of view, inefficient use of materials or energy causes pollution, destroys ecosystems and depletes natural resources. The imperative of saving natural resources and minimizing pollution by using them more efficiently in industrial production is acknowledged at both national and international levels. Several political measures have been planned and introduced to minimize environmental harm by steering manufacturing and other economic activity. For instance, both the European Union and the OECD are aiming to decouple economic growth and the use of natural resources (EU, 2002; OECD, 2002). The United Nations has also joined the quest for more efficient use of natural resources (UN, 2002). There are a number of reasons why business enterprises are prevented from using their resource-saving potential to the full....

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