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 7: Sustainable innovation in business models: celebrated but not interrogated

Oksana Mont, Katherine Whalen and Julia Nussholz


This chapter contributes to literature on sustainable innovation by critically engaging with the concept of sustainable innovation in business models. Four types of models purported to contribute to sustainability are explored: circular business models, product–service systems, business models for collaborative consumption, and business models for collaborative production. First, we evaluate each model according to the framework of value proposition, value creation and value capture. Second, we investigate how each model addresses the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability differently. Third, we study the different forms of innovation these business models rely on for their success, by following the classification of innovation that distinguishes between technological (product and process), organizational (management systems at a company, value chain or value network level), and societal innovation (change of lifestyles, consumer behaviour and consumption patterns). We end the chapter by outlining future research directions for studying sustainable innovation in these business models.

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