Sustainability as an opportunity: Value creation for innovative ventures through proactively tackling environmental and social issues. A study on Librixer AB about reducing water pollution by recycling unused pharmaceuticals.

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: This thesis argues that Sustainable Business Model Innovation should be considered anessential process for small- and medium-sized enterprises to create value. In order to establisha sustainable value proposition, the researchers propose that social, economic andenvironmental attributes have to be considered from the start of a Business Model Innovationprocess and that social and environmental aspects cannot simply be added to an existingBusiness Model. In doing so, the authors describe the necessary Business Model Innovationprocess for small- and medium-sized enterprises and the various benefits that it can provide,aiming for including all three aspects of sustainability. The qualitative exploratory researchdesign provided the authors with data from both indirect and direct stakeholders of the casecompany, as well as experts within sustainability and business in Rwanda.Business Model Innovation has been growing in academia in recent years and stems from theresearch on Business Models that gained popularity in the dot-com era. The core of BusinessModel Innovation is that a company must challenge its Business Model often not to becomeoutdated. By that logic, the authors argue that sustainability can be an opportunity for venturesif a correct Business Model Innovation process is applied.The authors present three key findings from the conducted research. First is the importance ofthe Sustainable Development Goals. While the goals act as a currency and reference forventures, they must be iterated alongside the viable proposition during the innovation process.Also, small- and medium-sized enterprises need to identify an environmental or social problemthat is specific to the region of interest. Therefore, it is important to consider local issues thatthe company’s value proposition can help to solve. In the long-term, it helps to gain trust fromstakeholders such as governments, investors and communities. Lastly, companies need toinvolve the mentioned stakeholders earlier and to a higher degree than when conductingbusiness with a purely economic purpose. That type of involvement is often overlooked, butnevertheless, it increases the likelihood of local value creation and mitigates potential risks.The contribution from this thesis can act as a basis for further research, especially for smallventures that see Sustainable Business Models as a valid opportunity to create value.The investigation carried out in this thesis studies an innovation in the milling industry ownedby a Swedish company called Librixer AB. The venture offers separation and comminutionsolutions for business customers in the fields of food and mining as well as recycling andprovides instant material separation through a new process. Instead of milling materials bycrushing them against two surfaces, the Librixer mill uses an airstream to separate the materialin its natural boundaries. The company has a fuzzy Business Model, has sustainable aspirations,and owns a technology that can create economic, social and environmental value.

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