Sustainable business models

Creating business models fit for the future that unlock long-term prosperity for business and society.

The enormous economic, environmental and social pressures facing society means that to be successful, businesses need to move beyond business as usual. Population growth and urban expansion globally is driving economic growth, but can current consumption patterns continue to grow and if so, at what cost?

Recognising this and adapting your business will mean the difference between success and failure. Massive opportunities exist for businesses in the UK and globally, but only if businesses embrace a step-change in innovation and ensure they are not left behind.

We believe that through engaging stakeholders including customers, employees and suppliers, companies can transform their business models and ensure the future prosperity of both business and society.

Our approach

At BITC, our approach is to build the business case for sustainable business models, provide thought leadership, share knowledge, develop advocacy, and encourage collaborative action.

We support board members on this jounrney. Find out more by reading the 'Big Boardroom Agenda' we have set for business.

Three steps your business should take in creating a sustainable business model

1Think – review how to future-proof your business


Pinpoint the opportunities and risks posed by global mega-trends to your products, services and business model in the short and long term


Identify the unique opportunity your company has to innovate new products, services and business models fit for the future, which can be delivered using our natural resources sustainably


Balance the short-term priorities of your stakeholders with the need to address longer term trends; balance between individual success and collective responsibility (social, environmental and economic)


Identify the specific ask you can make of your whole value chain (raw materials to end users) to ensure your products or services are as sustainable as they can be over their lifecycle


2 Test – carry out pilots to test the new product, service or business model you are innovating


Ensure pilots are large enough in scale to learn from, without being so large that the cost of failure would damage the business. Perhaps limit to a particular business unit, product line or location.


Engage key stakeholders – within your business, through your supplier and customer base, or through collaborations within your sector or across sectors


Produce crucial learning from your successes and failures and share widely


3 Develop and deliver the strategy to scale and embed innovation


Clearly articulate the vision and engage your value chain to bring that vision to life


Educate and mobilise your workforce your deliver the strategy across your entire business


Measure and understand the value created for your business in terms of financial impact, brand reputation, market share as well as the positive economic, social and environmental contributions to society


Celebrate successes and learn from challenges, being transparent and take stakeholders with you on the journey


Jaguar Land Rover: Thinking beyond existing products to develop a sustainable business model

Jaguar Land Rover is a premium automotive manufacturer and one of a number of companies addressing the risks and opportunities around the Big Boardroom Agenda, through a process of business transformation that delivers “Experiences customers love for Life” – the company purpose and catalyst for long term Responsible Business success.

Jaguar Land Rover board members give a short perspective on how the business plans to seize the opportunity of an increasingly connected and digital world, by thinking beyond existing products and tackling the innovation needs of a growing business.


Veolia: moving from management to manufacturing in the circular economy

Veolia is a waste services, energy and water management company.  At a time when their traditional market was shifting, Veolia changed their business model, driving innovation amongst its employees to move from a linear to a circular economy model.

20% of Veolia’s turnover now comes from product manufactured by turning the waste streams they manage into resources they add value to and sell.  “When you empower people and take them with you, the journey towards change becomes an exciting adventure, not an obstacle. And if 14,000 people at Veolia can change, so can you.”

Find out more by viewing Veolia’s video or reading their flipbook.
















BITC expert

If you'd like to draw on our in-house expertise on this issues please contact:

Sue Adkins
International Director

Joey Tabone
Business Development Director