‘Degrowth’ inspires business model innovation for a sustainable post-COVID economy

 The COVID-19 pandemic, during which companies around the world are being forced to rethink their ways of doing business, requires thinking about post-crisis business models for sustainability, including the concept of degrowth (taking the focus away from economic growth and into quality of life). Florian Lüdeke-Freund and Tobias Froese introduce business model innovation, combined with sustainability paradigms such as degrowth, as a promising contribution to an innovation and management toolbox for a post-crisis economy.

The world faces an unprecedented crisis due to the global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A crisis that creates new economic demands and puts companies’ resilience to the test. Many are forced to innovate or even transform themselves to survive. This opens the door to new ways of doing business – but does it also open a door to a better, more sustainable post-crisis economy?

A post-crisis economy that is more ecologically sustainable and socially just must build on organisations and networks that create value for and with their stakeholders whilst also protecting their natural environment. To do so, their business models must follow sustainability principles such as circularity, inclusiveness, local and green supply chains, or sufficiency (Lüdeke-Freund et al., 20182019b). Circularity aims to close production-consumption systems by making better and recurrent use of resources, waste, and leakage (Geissdoerfer et al., 2017). Here, offering repair services is a typical example. Building on Gossen et al. (2019), however, approaches such as circularity have limits. Sustainability also requires sufficiency, that is, consciously avoiding material over- and underconsumption in absolute terms to improve quality of life while preventing rebound effects on the natural environment. Correspondingly, recent debates have introduced ‘degrowth’ as a normative framing for such sustainability-oriented transformations of companies, industries, and national economies (Kallis et al., 2018). We argue that the current situation, in which companies around the world are forced to rethink their ways of doing business, together with the notion of degrowth, can inspire thinking about post-crisis business models for sustainability.

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Πηγή: blogs.lse.ac.uk

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