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A framework to explore the functioning and sustainability of business models

Bradley, Peter; Parry, Glenn; O'Regan, Nicholas

A framework to explore the functioning and sustainability of business models Thumbnail


Glenn Parry
Associate Lecturer - BAM

Nicholas O'Regan


© 2019 Institution of Chemical Engineers This paper presents a framework to enable case study analysis of sustainable development from business models innovation. Increasing economic development can give rise to trade-offs between economic growth and environmental degradation. Business model innovation can help address such trade-offs by refocusing value creation and capture towards less environmentally damaging activities. Business models therefore provide a critical tool in the move towards sustainable development. In this paper a literature review of existing business model frameworks is conducted and gaps found in the definition and conceptualisation of value, alignment with sustainable development, and assessment of social and environmental impacts and goals. More generally, there is a lack of in depth case studies in the sustainable business model literature. A framework is developed to address these gaps and to allow in depth analysis and understanding of the functioning of business models for sustainable development. Development and piloting of the framework made use of literature and co-operative enquiry. The framework of the paper is applied in depth with a unique energy company case study. Application shows economies of scope to be critical to the delivery of sustainable development. The business model framework addresses equity and distributional issues that are key to sustainable development, but missed by current frameworks.


Bradley, P., Parry, G., & O'Regan, N. (2020). A framework to explore the functioning and sustainability of business models. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 21, 57-77.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 28, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 4, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 9, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 5, 2020
Journal Sustainable Production and Consumption
Electronic ISSN 2352-5509
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Pages 57-77
Keywords Business model, Sustainability, Corporate sustainability, Sustainable management, Sustainable entrepreneurship, Innovation, Transformation, Organisational development, Value proposition, Value maximising
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