Based on the well-known Sustainable Business Model Archetypes by Nancy Bocken and colleagues (2014), a hierarchical business model typology can be developed that allows a stepwise exploration of sustainable business model innovation opportunities incorporating an environmental, social and economic dimension. This typology allows for a distinction of 6 types of business models within each category of technological innovation: scaled-up sufficiency, purposeful sufficiency, scaled-up functionality, purposeful functionality, scaled-up stewardship and purposeful stewardship.
What do these business models entail? Sufficiency business models reduce consumption and production or provide high-quality durable products. Functionality business models, however, satisfy user needs without users having to own products. Finally, stewardship business models intend to proactively engage with stakeholders to ensure their long-term health and wellbeing. The distinction between scaled-up and purposeful business models is as follows: scaled-up businesses aim to scale up sustainability solutions to maximize benefits for society and the environment, while a purposeful business prioritizes the delivery of social and environmental benefits (for example by being embedded in the community).