Sustainable Business Models

BUS446 Sustainable Business Models

Autumn 2022

  • Topics

    The course description for for the autumn semester 2022 is under revision, and will be published later in the spring semester.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon successful completion of the course the student:


    • will have developed an understanding of central concepts and theories on business model innovation and sustainability.
    • will have knowledge of the various research methods used in studies on aligning sustainability performance and financial performance.
    • can demonstrate knowledge of the most recent research in the field of sustainable business model innovation.


    • have advanced skills in business modelling.
    • can explain concepts such as business models, innovation, sustainability and circular economy.
    • can identify and analyze relevant sustainability issues for a company, and distinguish between more and less material sustainability concerns.
    • can apply theories of sustainable business model innovation on concrete company cases.

    General competence

    • can communicate with specialists in both academia and practice about complex issues in business modeling and innovation for sustainability in business.

  • Teaching

    Lectures are given as a combination of physical lectures, live Zoom sessions and prerecorded video lectures. The same holds for case workshops with companies.

    Course requirements:

    - Blog posts and comments on the course's Facebook page

    - Project paper in groups of 4 (+/- 1) students

  • Compulsory Activity

    Written group project papers, ca. 10 pages; groups of 4 (+/- 1) students.

    Two blog posts on the course's Facebook page (individual basis).

    Eight blog post comments (individual basis).

  • Assessment

    6 hours individual home exam.

  • Grading Scale


  • Literature

    Text book:

    • Jørgensen, S. og Pedersen, L.J.T. (2018). RESTART Sustainable Business Model Innovation. London: Palgrave.

    Collection of scientific articles and other readings provided on Leganto

    • Bashir, H., Jørgensen, S., Pedersen, L. J. T., & Skard, S. (2020). Experimenting with sustainable business models in fast moving consumer goods. Journal of Cleaner Production, 270, 122302.
    • Bocken, N. M., de Pauw, I., Bakker, C., and van der Grinten, B. (2016). Product design and business model strategies for a circular economy. Journal of Industrial and Production Engineering, 33(5), 308-320.
    • Bocken, N. M. P., Short, S. W., Rana, P., and Evans, S. (2014). A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 65, 42-56.
    • Bocken, N., Boons, F., & Baldassarre, B. (2019). Sustainable business model experimentation by understanding ecologies of business models. Journal of Cleaner Production, 208, 1498-1512.
    • Bocken, N. M., & Short, S. W. (2021). Unsustainable business models-Recognising and resolving institutionalised social and environmental harm. Journal of Cleaner Production, 312, 127828.
    • Davenport, T. H. (2009). How to design smart business experiments. Strategic Direction, 25(8).
    • Eccles, R.G., I. Ioannou, and Serafeim G. (2014). The Impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Processes and Performance, Management Science, 60, 11, 2835-2857.
    • Forstater, M., Zadek, S., Evans, D., Knight, A., Sillanpaa, M., Tuppen, C. and Warris, A. (2006), The Materiality Report: Aligning Strategy, Performance and Reporting, AccountAbility, London.
    • Johnson, M.W., Christensen, C.M. and Kagermann, H. (2008). Reinventing Your Business Model, Harvard Business Review, 86, 1-11.
    • Jørgensen, S., Mjøs, A., & Pedersen, L.J.T. (2021). Sustainability reporting and approaches to materiality: Tensions and potential resolutions. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal [Available OnlineFirst].
    • Jørgensen, S., Pedersen, L. J. T., & Skard, S. (2021) How going green builds trusting beliefs. Business Strategy and the Environment [Available OnlineFirst].
    • Lüdeke‐Freund, F., Gold, S., & Bocken, N. M. (2019). A review and typology of circular economy business model patterns. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 23(1), 36-61.
    • Lüdeke-Freund, F., Carroux, S., Joyce, A., Massa, L., & Breuer, H. (2018). The sustainable business model pattern taxonomy—45 patterns to support sustainability-oriented business model innovation. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 15, 145-162.
    • Porter, M.E. and Kramer, M.R. (2011). Creating Shared Value: How to reinvent capitalism - and unleash a wave of innovation and growth, Harvard Business Review, 89, 1/2, 62-77.
    • Schaltegger, S., Lüdeke-Freund, F., & Hansen, E. G. (2016). Business models for sustainability: A co-evolutionary analysis of sustainable entrepreneurship, innovation, and transformation. Organization & Environment, 29(3), 264-289.
    • Schwab, K. (2015). The Fourth Industrial Revolution [*excerpt of chapters 1-2]. Davos: World Economic Forum.
    • Skard, S., Jørgensen, S., & Pedersen, L. J. T. (2020). When is sustainability a liability, and when is it an asset? Quality inferences for core and peripheral attributes. Journal of Business Ethics, 1-24.
    • Unruh, G. (2016). Sustainability Reporting: One Size Fits Nobody. MIT Sloan Management Review, Dec. 12, 2016


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Will be offered autumn 2022

Course responsible

Associate Professor Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law

Associate Professor Sveinung Jørgensen, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law