Sustainable Business Models – The Concept


Creating Sustainable Business Models can be the trickiest and most important part of founding and running a business successfully. A business based on a strong sustainable plan runs for longer than start-ups founded upon a whim. Also, a well-grounded business with a clear vision can combat all its risks and be prepared for any upcoming trouble with all needed precautionary measures. Through this article, we will know all about Sustainable Business Plans, the Factors on which such plans are made, and how it is connected with the foundations of Social Enterprises.

“Doing good is good business”
– Raymond Ackerman, Founder, Pick n Pay

What is a Sustainable Business Model?

A sustainable Business Model refers to an Active Business Plan that generates value for every person who is involved with it, without draining its resources. To clarify, a business is sustainable when it keeps producing profits in all ways it should, the amount of profit is either maintained at the expected rate or increasing, the resources are well-used and the chances of a shortage of resources are less in foreseeable future. A sustainable business plan covers the area of strengths and weaknesses of the business. Furthermore, it addresses the probable crisis and obstacles the business might encounter once it’s up and running and keeps combating strategies ready in advance.

Read Here: Stunited – The Social Enterprise for Students

Sustainable Business Models - Concept: Stunited
Sustainable Business Models: The Concept – Stunited II Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Four Pillars of Sustainable Social Business Models

Economic Sustainability:

Economic sustainability is and should be considered the most important area of any Business Model. It is ensured when the amount of profit is maintained at the expected rate and/or increasing. Also, the capital invested is maintained without any compromise. Furthermore, Economic Resources are not wasted in the process of maintaining business standards. Maintaining all these, a Sustainable Business should be able to keep improving the quality of life of everyone involved with the business and the community it is working for. And it is possible when constant economic growth at a regular interval is ensured with a realistic and strong Sustainability Plan.

Social Sustainability:

A business achieves Social Sustainability when it causes welfare of socioeconomic and health status of the community it belongs to, the community it works for, and the people involved with it. This area covers the topics of –
Community Empowerment – How the business empowers the community directly and indirectly.
Safety & Security – How the business is adding value to the Economic Safety & Security of the community.
Inclusiveness – The business’ approach towards the people of the community, how much it is open to include people irrespective of differences.

“A sustainable business model is what every business leader hopes to achieve: that the business will turn a profit quickly and stay afloat for the long term. A business model that prioritizes sustainability is one that, at a minimum, considers all stakeholders, assesses and addresses environmental impacts, and is transparent and thorough in its reporting.”
– Lia Colabello, Managing Principal, Plastic Pollution Solutions

Environmental Sustainability:

A business assures environmental sustainability when it uses the environmental resources and natural capital in a way so that they are not exploited overly or incorrectly. The business follows the right practices to maintain and preserve them to establish long-term stability. The business avoids operations that may cause depletion, degradation, and exhaustion of natural resources.

Creating Sustainable Business Models - Stunited
Environmental Sustainability of Businesses – Stunited II Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Read Here: How To Establish A Successful Social Enterprise?

Cultural Sustainability:

The fourth and the newest dimension that has been added to the concept of Sustainable Development is Cultural Sustainability.

“Culture is the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development”
– The Executive Bureau of UCLG (2010)

Cultural Sustainability is obtained when a business is set up and run without harming the communal beliefs, traditions, and cultural practices of the community that surrounds it. Also, it should itself be a medium for its community to share and nurture distinct cultural practices and values.

Cultural Sustainability - Sustainable Business Models
Cultural Sustainability of Business – Stunited II Image Courtesy: Unsplash

Indications of Sustainable Business Models

The sustainability of a business relies on a set of factors out of which every factor is important to be analysed and updated from time to time to retain the stability of the business. The indications of Sustainable Business Models are –

  1. The business is solving a prominent problem in the society and the community to which it belongs and bringing improvement.
  2. The needs of the business for hassle-free running are met.
  3. The business is set up on the base of a strong Business Strategy. The strategy covers topics of needed resources, supply of the resources, transportation, and costing, manufacturing, packaging, payments, forms of ownership, customer management, etc.
  4. The concern employees experts in all its units. In other words, the human resource of the business is strong.
  5. The business has established great bonding of trust with its partners, employees, and clients.
  6. The enterprise has a long-term vision
  7. The company is in process of constant improvements.
  8. There is enough room for research and innovations for every sector of the business.
  9. It is equipped with plans for times of crisis and unwanted market changes.
  10. Sustainability is the primary principle of the business.


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