Application AreaSustainable Business

sustainable business
Sustainable Business

Many businesses today experience a conflict between profit and environmental sustainability. Although there are many cases where improved environmental performance also can be profitable, the marginal profit for additional improvements often vanish rapidly. At Sustainable Business, we focus our research on finding solutions to this conflict.

One of the eco-environmental challenges we currently work with is to find ways to achieve the 4 to 10 fold resource efficiency needed in the industrialized part of the world before 2050. This can be achieved through for instance various forms of sharing schemes that increase the utility rate of products. It can be achieved through concepts like refuse, reduce, reuse, refurbish, upgrade, remanufacture and recycle. However, in an industry where profits come from product sale, there is an inherent ambition to maximize the volume of products, i.e. resource flow. This is built in to the business model of most manufacturing firms and executed through design concepts like Design for Obsolescence.

How should one address this seeming contradiction between profit maximization that drives resource flow and the required 4 to 10 fold resource efficiency improvement? We believe the business model of the firm is one key element. Some of the questions of strategic importance where we currently do research in the automotive industry:

• What characterize business models that concurrently improve the eco-sustainability and competitiveness of a firm?
• How can such a business model be designed and validated for companies of different types?
• How can management of a firm be motivated to introduce such a business model?
• What are the hindrances and enablers for a firm that want to introduce such a business model?
• What are the effects on the value-chain the firm is part of?
• What are the effects on product design, modularization and interfaces?

* What are the effects on users motivation for buying and sharing functions instead of owning products?

Notions that are closely related to our application area are for example Circular economy, Product Service Systems, Remanufacturing and Service design.

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Ann-Charlotte Mellquist
+46 70 265 65 60
ann-charlotte.mellquist [at]

Thomas Nyström
+46 73 079 58 21
thomas.nystrom [at]

Steven Sarasini
Deputy Research Manager
+46 73 020 56 42
steven.sarasini [at]

Maria Schnurr
Senior Researcher
+46 76 108 71 05
maria.schnurr [at]

Patricia van Loon
Senior Researcher
+46 73 048 01 60
patricia.van.loon [at]

Mats Williander
Research Manager
+46 70 590 93 10
mats.williander [at]