The Sustainable Business Model Canvas, 11 Steps to designing and communicating a successful sustainability strategy
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One of the many challenges faced by Sustainability professionals is – how do we communicate the business case for our sustainability program?
So how do we communicate the business case for our sustainability program?
One of the best ways to describe how your sustainability program is organized and delivers value is using a business model.
A business model is basically how a company creates value for itself while delivering products and services for its customers.
Sustainable business models also create economic, social, and environmental value for a wide range of stakeholders.
A tool called the business model canvas that allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot any business model.
The first element in describing a business model is the value proposition. The value proposition is the collection of products and services that meets the needs of your customers.
It answers the question of what are you building and for whom?
It is not about the features of your product or service or your sustainability program
It is about solving a problem or a need.
What problem are you solving and for whom?
The next thing is customer segments. Who are my customers? And why would they buy into my sustainability program?
Who are they?
What job are they trying to do?
What problems are they facing?
What frustrates them?
What inspires them?
Next is channels
How does your product or service get from here to your customer here?
We use distribution channels to deliver our product to our customers.
We have physical channels like shop fronts or delivery services.
We also have virtual channels – web, mobile, cloud based channels.
Next, we need to consider Customer Relationships
How are we going to find, keep and grow our customers?
Next is Revenue streams
This section asks us to think about how our business makes money from our customer segments?
How we capture value? What is the strategy to capture that value?
Next, we want to think about resources.
What resources or key assets to we need to make the business model work?
This could include money. Do we have enough capital to deliver our sustainability program?
What physical assets do we need? Do we need factories? Do we need renewable energy systems?
It could include intellectual property. Do we need to protect our idea with patents? Do we need certain corporate knowledge?
Or do we need certain people? Do we need design engineers? Do we need company cultural experts? What human resources do you need?
Next comes Key Activities
These are the most important activities you need to do the make the business model work.
Do you manufacture products?
Do you need to audit your supply chain?
Do you need to undertake any R&D?
We now consider Key Partners
What key partners do we need to make the business model work?
What is interesting is that your key partners have a link to your key resources and key activities.
What resources do they provide that supports the business model?
And what activities are they going to perform?
Finally we have the Cost Structure
Once we understand the key activities, resources, and partners, it is relatively easy now to understand the costs associated with delivering the business model.
What are the costs to operate the business?
What do we need to invest in our key resources?
How much will our key activities cost?
What will we need to pay to our partners?
For Sustainable business models, we add two additional sections to the business model canvas
The first is Beneficiaries
Who benefits from our sustainability program?
What organisations benefit?
What other stakeholders derive some economic, social, or environmental value?
The second extra segment captures the Sustainability benefits
To which of the UN Sustainable Development goals does our business model contribute?
What positive impacts are we delivering to our community and planet?
Using these eleven building blocks you can describe the infrastructure, the offering, the customers, the finances and the economic, social and environmental benefits of your sustainable business model.
You can also use this canvas to design, discuss, and communicate your sustainability programs in a language other people will actually understand.
Together we can make a huge impact.
Why most sustainability plans fail https://youtu.be/8JDgXRuJVfA
How to deliver social impact like a startup https://youtu.be/AFjiuaze4jc
Story of the Boy and the Starfish – How to make a social impact in your sustainability strategy https://youtu.be/v10xIJbD0qY
How Blue Tribe Co got it’s name leading to Sustainability and Sustainable Business Model Innovation https://youtu.be/DsPk-iffRFsi