20 Sustainable Business Models

The idea of business model innovation, that a company could launch a new business model never conceived of before, or transform an existing business model, has long captivated business leaders. Leading academics focused on the topic, like Clayton Christensen, Michael Porter and the late C.K. Prahalad, have discussed the merits of disruption, the value to be created and the fortune to be gained by shifting business models.

Sustainable innovation is about meeting human needs within resource limits. We recognise that many existing business models are predicated on the assumption that natural and social capital are in virtually limitless supply, and that mispriced resources and other market distortions make some models more competitive than they would otherwise be.

The Model Behaviour report by SustainAbility identifies 20 distinct business models falling into five categories

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