Sustainable Business Model Design: Creating Long-Term Value for Companies and Society

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Mar 16, 2024

5 min read


Sustainable Business Model Design: Creating Long-Term Value for Companies and Society


In today's rapidly changing business landscape, companies are increasingly realizing the importance of incorporating sustainability into their business models. Sustainable business model design not only helps companies address sustainability challenges but also creates long-term value for both the company and society. In this article, we will explore various patterns and insights that can guide businesses in designing sustainable business models.

Overarching Patterns:

To begin with, overarching patterns are the major design principles that can be applied to any aspect of a business. These patterns provide a broad framework for sustainable business model design and help companies align their goals with sustainability principles.

Prototypical Patterns:

Prototypical patterns take a step further and redesign the entire business model. These patterns challenge traditional ways of doing business and encourage companies to adopt innovative and sustainable approaches. By embracing prototypical patterns, companies can create a significant impact on their industry and drive sustainable growth.

Modular Patterns:

While prototypical patterns focus on redesigning the entire business model, modular patterns target specific modules within the business. These patterns provide companies with targeted solutions to address sustainability challenges in specific areas. By implementing modular patterns, companies can make incremental changes towards a more sustainable business model.

Patterns for Pricing and Revenue:

Pricing patterns and revenue patterns play a crucial role in setting prices and generating earnings from sustainable business offerings. These patterns help companies strike a balance between profitability and sustainability by valuing their products or services appropriately. By adopting these patterns, companies can ensure that their sustainable offerings are both economically viable and environmentally responsible.

Patterns for Financing:

Obtaining sufficient capital is a significant challenge for businesses aiming to develop sustainable business models. Financing patterns provide methods for obtaining equity, debt, and operating capital to fund sustainable business models. These patterns guide companies in securing the necessary financial resources to bring their sustainable ideas to fruition.

Patterns for Eco-Design:

Eco-design patterns focus on enhancing the sustainability of business models through designing activities, processes, and offerings. These patterns encourage companies to incorporate environmental considerations into their design and production processes, minimizing their ecological footprint. By embracing eco-design patterns, companies can create sustainable offerings that resonate with environmentally conscious consumers.

Patterns for Closing-the-Loop:

Closing-the-loop patterns emphasize the integration of circular material and energy flows into business model design. These patterns promote the idea of a circular economy, where resources are used efficiently, waste is minimized, and materials are continuously recycled. By adopting closing-the-loop patterns, companies can contribute to a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

Patterns for Supply Chain:

Supply chain patterns determine where resources come from and how to reach target markets in the supply chain. These patterns help companies optimize their supply chain processes, ensuring that their products or services are sourced sustainably and delivered in an environmentally responsible manner. By implementing supply chain patterns, companies can minimize their environmental impact and strengthen their sustainability credentials.

Patterns for Giving:

Giving patterns facilitate companies' contributions of products or services to society. These patterns encourage companies to go beyond their core business and make a positive social impact. By embracing giving patterns, companies can contribute to the betterment of society and build a reputation as a socially responsible organization.

Patterns for Access Provision:

Access provision patterns create markets and offerings for overlooked social groups. These patterns aim to address social inequalities by providing affordable and accessible solutions to underserved populations. By adopting access provision patterns, companies can create inclusive business models that cater to the needs of all segments of society.

Patterns for Social Mission:

Social mission patterns empower social groups to become productive partners and transform their needs into demand. These patterns encourage companies to collaborate with marginalized communities and empower them through employment, education, or skill development programs. By embracing social mission patterns, companies can create a positive social impact while also benefiting from the diverse perspectives and talents of these communities.

Patterns for Service and Performance:

Service patterns and performance patterns facilitate the transition from physical products to functions, services, and results. These patterns encourage companies to shift from a product-centric approach to a service-oriented one, where the focus is on delivering outcomes rather than selling products. By adopting service and performance patterns, companies can create value for customers while reducing resource consumption and waste.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace a holistic approach: When designing a sustainable business model, consider the overarching patterns that align with your company's values and goals. Look for opportunities to redesign your entire business model or target specific modules to make incremental changes.
  • 2. Collaborate and innovate: Sustainable business model design requires collaboration and innovation. Engage with stakeholders, both within and outside your company, to explore new ideas and approaches. By embracing prototypical patterns and thinking outside the box, you can create a significant impact on your industry and drive sustainable growth.
  • 3. Measure and communicate your impact: To build trust and credibility, it is essential to measure and communicate your sustainability efforts and their impact. Use relevant metrics and indicators to track your progress and share your achievements with stakeholders. By transparently communicating your sustainability journey, you can inspire others and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Sustainable business model design is a powerful tool that can help companies create long-term value for both themselves and society. By incorporating the various patterns discussed in this article, companies can address sustainability challenges, drive innovation, and contribute to a more sustainable and prosperous future. Embrace a holistic approach, collaborate and innovate, and measure and communicate your impact to unlock the full potential of sustainable business model design.

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