Business Model Innovation for Eco-Efficiency: An Empirical Study

  • Yan LiEmail author
  • Steve Evans
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 567)


Business model has the potential to create value and capture value for companies, which is critical for their sustainable development [1]. The concept of eco-efficiency can be a useful concept to link an enterprise’s business with sustainable development as well as achieving long-term profits [2, 3]. Extant literature reveals that there is a need to study business model innovation and eco-efficiency under one text to achieve a win-win rationale to increase profits while reducing environmental impact [4, 5]. This empirical study conducted 8-in-depth case studies with manufacturing companies across UK and China. The author synthesized the cases and concluded the measures of business model innovation for eco-efficiency in five categories, namely (1) Selling of service model, (2) Direct selling model, (3) Collaboration strategy, (4) Whole system design strategy, and (5) Technology renovation strategy. The empirical finding suggests the adaptation of strategy and exploitation of the technologies are essential to business model innovation when manufacturing companies seeking to implement eco-efficiency.


Business model innovation Eco-efficiency Sustainable business model 


  1. 1.
    Teece, D.J.: Business models, business strategy and innovation. Long Range Plan. 43(2–3), 172–194 (2010). Scholar
  2. 2.
    Schaltegger, S., Sturm, A.: Ökologische Rationalität (Ecologic Rationality). Unternehm 4, 273e290 (1990)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Madden, K., Young, R., Brady, K., Hall, J.: Eco-efficiency: Learning Module. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), File Winds International (2005)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Côté, R., Booth, A., Louis, B.: Eco-efficiency and SMEs in Nova Scotia, Canada. J. Clean. Prod. 14(6–7), 542–550 (2006). Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kabongo, J.D., Boiral, O.: Doing more with less: building dynamic capabilities for eco-efficiency. Bus. Strat. Environ. 26(7), 956–971 (2017). Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chesbrough, H., Rosenbloom, R.S.: The role of the business model in capturing value from innovation: evidence from Xerox Corporation’ s technology spin-off companies. Ind. Corp. Change 11(3), 529–555 (2002). Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lüdeke- Freund, F.: Towards a conceptual framework of business models for sustainability. In: Knowledge Collaboration and Learning for Sustainable Innovation ERSCP-EMSU Conference, Delft, The Netherlands, vol. 49, pp. 1–28 (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Amit, R., Zott, C.: Value creation in E-Business. Strat. Manag. J. 22(6), 493–520 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mickwitz, P., Melanen, M., Rosenström, U., Seppälä, J.: Regional eco-efficiency indicators: a participatory approach. J. Clean. Prod. 14, 1603–1611 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Björkdahl, J., Holmén, M.: Editorial: business model innovation – the challenges ahead. Int. J. Prod. Dev. 18(3), 213 (2013)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Eurich, M., Weiblen, T., Breitenmoser, P.: A six-step approach to business model innovation. Int. J. Entrep. Innov. Manag. 18(4), 330–348 (2014). Scholar
  12. 12.
    Giesen, E., Berman, S.J., Bell, R., Blitz, A.: Three ways to successfully innovate your business model. Strat. Lead. 35(6), 27–33 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Velu, C., Jacob, A.: Business model innovation and owner–managers: the moderating role of competition. R&D Management (2014)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Daneels, E.: Disruptive technology reconsidered: a critique and research agenda. J. Prod. Innov. Manag. 21, 246–258 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Foss, N.J., Saebi, T.: Fifteen years of research on business model innovation: how far have we come, and where should we go? J. Manag. 43(1), 200–227 (2016). Scholar
  16. 16.
    Amit, R., Zott, C.: Creating Value Through Business Model Innovation Strategy in Changing Markets: New Business Models (2012)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pynnonen, M., Hallikas, J., Ritala, P.: Managing customer-driven business model innovation. Int. J. Innov. Manag. 16, 1–18 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Achtenhagen, L., Melin, L., Naldi, L.: Dynamics of business models—strategizing, critical capabilities and activities for sustained value creation. Long Range Plan. 46, 427–442 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Bock, A.J., Opsahl, T., George, G., Gann, D.M.: The effects of culture and structure on strategic flexibility during business model innovation. J. Manag. Stud. 49, 279–305 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zott, C., Amit, R.: Business model design and the performance of entrepreneurial firms. Organ. Sci. 18, 181–199 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Guenster, N., Bauer, R., Derwall, J., Koedijk, K.C.G.: The economic value of corporate eco-efficiency. Eur. Financ. Manag. 17(4), 679–704 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Huang, J., et al.: A comprehensive eco-efficiency model and dynamics of regional eco-efficiency in China. J. Clean. Prod. 67, 228–238 (2014). Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yu, Y.D., Chen, D.J., Zhu, B., Hu, S.Y.: Eco-efficiency trends in China, 1978–2010: decoupling environmental pressure from economic growth. Ecol. Indic. 24, 177–184 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Remigio, H., Govindan, K., Azevedo, S., Cruz-Machado, V.: Modelling green and lean supply chains: an eco-efficiency perspective. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 120, 75–87 (2017). Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nikolaou, I.E., Matrakoukas, S.I.: A framework to measure eco-efficiency performance of firms through EMAS reports. Sustain. Prod. Consum. 8, 32–44 (2016). Scholar
  26. 26.
    Suh, Y., et al.: Eco-efficiency based on social performance and its relationship with financial performance. J. Ind. Ecol. 18(6), 909–919 (2014). Scholar
  27. 27.
    Dul, J., Hak, T.: Case Study Methodology in Business Research, vol. 129. Dryden, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Eisehardt, M.: Building theories from case study research. Acad. Manag. Rev. 14(4), 532–550 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hakin, C.: Research Design: Successful Designs for Social Economics Research. Routledge, London (2000)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Yin, R.K.: Case Study Research. Design and Methods, 5th edn. Sage Publications, Los Angeles (2014). Zeitschrift Für Personalforschung 26(1), 93–96Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hagg, I., Hbdlund, G.: Case studies in accounting research. Account. Organ. Soc. 4(I/2), 135–143 (1979)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GreenwichLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute for ManufacturingUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations