IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A framework for understanding and designing business models for sustainable development


  • Peter Bradley

    () (University of the West of England, Bristol)

  • Glenn Parry

    (University of the West of England, Bristol)

  • Nicholas O’Regan

    (University of the West of England, Bristol)


The paper presents and applies a novel framework for incorporating ethical concerns for the natural environment and wellbeing into business design. In this sense we are directly confronting sustainable development. Within the context of business ethics, sustainable development can be seen as the application of ethical concerns for the natural environment and wellbeing to societal provisioning (‘meeting needs’). A novel framework proposed in this work synthesises 3 previous business model frameworks and builds in new categories and social, environmental and economic considerations to make it ‘fit’ for the purpose of investigating business models for sustainable development. The contribution made by the novel framework is through its new categories, incorporation of environmental and social considerations, and the ‘torch light articulation’ which aids communication of the concepts. The framework is applied to a case study of an energy provider, allowing a rich and powerful understanding of how the energy company’s business model works in practice and providing new insight of the interaction between different types of value: social, environmental and economic and how context shapes such value.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Bradley & Glenn Parry & Nicholas O’Regan, 2016. "A framework for understanding and designing business models for sustainable development," Working Papers 20161606, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:20161606

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bertrand Moingeon & Muhammad Yunus & Laurence Lehmann-Ortega, 2010. "Building Social Business Models: Lessons from the Grameen Experience," Post-Print hal-00528385, HAL.
    2. Charles Baden-Fuller & Vincent Mangematin, 2013. "Business models: A challenging agenda," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00869707, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Business model; sustainability; servitization; sustainable business; sustainable development;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:20161606. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Felix Ritchie). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.