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Building sustainability into your business models


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Customer's today expect businesses to not only avoid doing harm, but to contribute to improving environmental challenges, human rights, and to uphold democracy where it does its business. This slide deck shows how you can easily extend the business model canvas to include sustainability analysis - helping entrepreneurs better align their businesses with modern customer expectations.

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Building sustainability into your business models

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  2. 2. Consumers today expect businesses to care. Not only to pretend that they care, but actually care. They want businesses to care about the environment and our climate. They want businesses to take action, not only to not harm our surroundings but to improve them. They want businesses to respect human rights, and to be conscious about their choices throughout the entire value chain. They want businesses to help democracy grow and thrive. To make sure we do not erode trust in society’s most important institutions.
  3. 3. To thrive as a business you need to care about the things that are important to your customers and partners. Corporate social responsibility is a requirement for long-term growth.
  4. 4. Peter Drucker said that the purpose of a business is to “create a customer”. Milton Friedman said the purpose of the firm is to maximize the shareholder value. Today customers want more.
  5. 5. Many entrepreneurs, freelancers and information workers would like to have co-working locations available. You are planning to set up co-working spaces. What are the pains you are killing? What are the gains people can achieve by using your service? This is our key example – we are building the business model for the firm “Suburban Coworking”! You can read more about this story at
  6. 6.  Gain community and companionship  Have a place to invite customers, partners and investors  Getting out of the house  Access to more ideas and impulses  Disturbances while working at home or in coffee shops  Commute to a “fixed office” location
  7. 7. Your customer’s reality is the space where you can create value. Your value on offer is an improvement of that reality.
  8. 8. What is the main thing about the deer’s reality he would’ve liked to change? How can you improve that reality? What will the deer feel is the main contribution to his satisfaction with life from what you do?
  9. 9. Reactive Avoids harm Sustainability is a constraint Add-on to value creation Proactive Improves our world Sustainability is a goal Part of value creation
  10. 10. Sustainability Environment Human Rights Democracy defines a sustainable business as a firm that takes care to analyze and optimize their business operations with respect to the impact on the environment and our climate, to human rights throughout its value chain and how it affects democratic processes in the communities around the world.
  11. 11. Customer? Value Channels? Revenues streams? Cost structure? Sustainability impact?
  12. 12. Making a business model sustainable is an iterative process.
  13. 13. A business model canvas is a core part of putting design thinking at the forefront in business model design. There are lots of great resources online for the approach. adds Sustainability as a key topic on the canvas – bringing it from the “afterthought room” to the core of the firm’s fabric – where it belongs. Refining the canvas over time strengthens your strategy – and your ability to run a truly sustainable business.
  14. 14. Customers expect businesses to act in the best interest of the world. Don’t neglect the environment, human rights, and the value of strong democratic institutions. Building sustainability in requires focus over time, constantly improving business operations throughout the entire business model. The purpose of the corporation is to improve the customer’s reality – not to maximize shareholder wealth.
  15. 15. We hope you enjoyed the slide deck. Visit us at today to learn more about creating sustainable business models – and get access to easy-to-use tools for generating your own models and cooperating with your stakeholders. Visit us on too!