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To gain a deeper understanding of sustainability innovation, we presented survey respondents with the business model framework described above, which was developed by The Boston Consulting Group. (See “A Framework for Analyzing Business Models.”) Using this framework, we asked respondents how (if at all) they have changed their business model. We found that up to 59% of respondents whose companies changed three or four business model elements report profit from sustainability efforts.
A Framework for Analyzing Business Models
In short, Sustainability-Driven Innovators pursue innovation aggressively across their business models — much more so than companies that don’t achieve profits from sustainability efforts.
The Potent Combination
A surprising combination of business model elements delivered the most potent results. They weren’t the game-changing products and businesses that one usually hears in the context of innovation. Sustainability-Driven Innovators often take a more straightforward route, combining target segments with value-chain innovations. Nearly 60% of organizations that pull these two levers and change one or two other business model elements are more likely to be Sustainability-Driven Innovators. (See “The Extent of Business Model Change.”) Pulling both allows companies to target new segments and/or better serve the segments where they currently compete.