Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 6: Strategies and drivers of sustainable business model innovation

Florian Lüdeke-Freund, Stefan Schaltegger and Krzysztof Dembek


As with any type of innovation, business model innovation is a means to alter and extend the ability of firms to act effectively and efficiently. With its focus on proposing and creating value, business model innovation has become a major technique with which to develop new and change existing forms of organizational value creation. The emerging field of research and practice on sustainable business models (SBMs) has taken up this approach in order to understand and develop new forms of value creation that offer sustainable value propositions to customers and all other stakeholders, and that allow firms to capture economic value while they maintain or even regenerate natural, social and economic capital. This chapter proposes a framework of sustainable business model innovation (SBMI), building on one decade of SBM research, and relates SBMI explicitly to the vision of sustainable development. We show that a major task of SBMI is to translate sustainability strategies into actionable ‘blueprints’ of value-creating activities of firms. SBMI address so called business case drivers, referring to costs, risks, reputation, and so on and successful SBMI improve these business case drivers by integrating positive contributions to a sustainable development of the natural environment and society and business success. The conceptual considerations are illustrated with a case of an ecologically and socially motivated business.

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