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Business modelling in farm-based biogas production : towards network-level business models and stakeholder business cases for sustainability

Karlsson, Niklas, Hoveskog, Maya, Halila, Fawzi, Mattsson, Marie
2018

Article in journal (Refereegranskat)

Abstract:

Farm-based biogas production is a promising renewable energy technology with the potential for creating sustainable economic, environmental, and social value. However, Swedish farmers engaged in this activity struggle to turn a profit because of high-investment costs and severe price competition with fossil fuels. One way to address this situation is to re-organize the activity by innovating the business model (BM) towards sustainability. In this study, a team of researchers took an action research approach that proposed solutions for the financial difficulties at a farm cooperative that intended to develop its farm-based biogas production. Two participatory workshops (including researchers, producers, students, and consultants) were conducted using the sustainable business-modelling tool called the Flourishing Business Canvas (FBC). Based on the 215 ideas developed in the workshops, five sustainable BM prototypes were created. These five prototypes form the basis of an approach for initiating the development of a network-level BM for sustainability that highlights its superiority over a single-firm BM. The network-level BM’s main advantage in the farm-based biogas context is its strong focus on stakeholder collaboration that supports the development of a stakeholder business case for sustainability. Overall, this study highlights the usefulness of the network concept in the practice of sustainable BM development. Collaborative business modelling for developing network-level BMs that address environmental and social problems for and with stakeholders can be an effective way to increase long-term financial profit and promote the growth of a firm, a network, or an industry. © 2018 The Author(s)

Key words: Business modelling; Stakeholders; Business case; Sustainability; Biogas production

Cite: Karlsson, Niklas, Hoveskog, Maya, Halila, Fawzi & Mattsson, Marie, Business modelling in farm-based biogas production towards network-level business models and stakeholder business cases for sustainability, Sustainability Science., 2018https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-018-0584-z