Sustainable Business Models: Literature Review of Main Contributions and Themes

  •  Cantele Silvia    
  •  Serena Truzzi    


Literature on sustainable business models (SBM) has recently emerged and is rapidly expanding. This promising research field is aimed at intersecting traditional business model approaches with corporate sustainability. Most of the research to date has focused on existing case studies or examples of sustainability innovations in business models or on the use of frameworks and tools to categorise or design SBMs or suggest the stages of this innovative process towards sustainability. This article presents an integrative literature review aimed at describing the objective aspects of the SBM literature such as its temporal, industrial, geographical and methodological factors. As well as this descriptive analysis, the paper categorises the SBM literature in terms of its main purposes and themes. This categorisation is aimed at synthesising the main contributions of the SBM literature and to highlight gaps to suggest possible further developments. Despite presenting different perspectives on value (proposition, creation, delivery and capture), the current research on SBM has failed to take a holistic approach towards sustainable value measurement and representation in its models and frameworks.

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