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Business models for sustainability from a system dynamics perspective

: Abdelkafi, Nizar; Täuscher, Karl


Organization & environment 29 (2016), No.1, pp.74-96
ISSN: 1086-0266
ISSN: 1552-7417
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IMW ()
business models; sustainability; system dynamics; valuesbeliefsnorms theory (VBN) theory; business case drivers; feedback loops; environmental value proposition

To achieve sustainability, a firm has to transform its entire business logic. A business model for sustainability (BMfS) aims at creating value for various stakeholders and the natural environment. This article advances the current understanding of the basic functioning of BMfS by applying a systems perspective. Our BMfS understanding incorporates the natural environment as an essential element, but does not deal with sustainability from a broad perspective. The core logic of a BMfS is built upon the creation of a reinforcing feedback loop between the created value to the customers, the value captured by the firm, and the value to the natural environment. Consequently, we develop a graphical model based on system dynamics notation. First, we conceptualize the basic feedback loops. Then, we propose partial models for the firm, natural environment, entrepreneur/manager, and customer, and then integrate these partial models within a systemic, multilevel model. Finally, we generate propositions that combine insights from the model and extant literature.