Business Model Concepts in Corporate Sustainability Contexts: From Rhetoric to a Generic Template for "Business Models for Sustainability"

Research output: Working paperWorking papers


This paper proposes a conceptual integration of business models into contexts of corporate sustainability. A business model can be interpreted as the blueprint of an organization's business logic. It can serve as starting point to investigate first, if business cases for sustainability can be realized under industry- and firm-specific circumstances and second, if an organization's resources and activities are configured in a way that allows for creating value on the private and public level. Therefore, conventional business model perspectives have to be enhanced through accentuation and extension to integrate sustainability aspects. After discussing some general business model rhetoric which can be found in corporate sustainability contexts, a promising conventional business model concept is introduced and further developed to propose a generic template for business models for sustainabilityʺ. This conceptual work is guided by the following principle: A business model for sustainability is the blueprint of a company's business logic which internalizes the business case for sustainability. The intention of this paper is threefold: First, identify currently perceived intersections of corporate sustainability and business models. Second, generic business model templates for issues of corporate sustainability are rare; a gap that shall be filled by moving from rhetoric to a generic template for business models for sustainability. Third, open up a new field which may be labelled strategic business model managementʺ.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLüneburg
PublisherCentre for Sustainability Management
Number of pages79
ISBN (Print)978-3-935630-85-6
Publication statusPublished - 2009