Business Model for Sustainability to Tackle an Energy Transition Initiative: Motivations and Antecedents

The case of a global manufacturing company


  • Federico Perillo Grenoble École de Management
  • Caroline Gauthier



Business Model, Business Model for Sustainability, Digitalization, Energy Transition, Sustainable Technology.


Purpose of the paper: Energy transition is one of the most significant transformation that companies will face over the next decades. It addresses the UN Sustainable Goal #13 on Climate action as it aims to achieve decarbonization targets. Whereas literature dresses a list of motivations and antecedents for a company to address this, the impact of such transformation on the company’s business models remains underexplored and the business case remains to demonstrate.

Methodology: This paper is based on literature review and interviews.

Findings: Beyond contributing to understand the strategic motivations and antecedents of a traditional company to accelerate changes in the business model toward sustainability, this paper contributes to the literature on Business Models for Sustainability.

Research limits: The research has been limited to one single company. Further will be enlarge to multiple case studies.

Practical implications: Building on literature on business models, business model innovation and business models for sustainability, this paper first dresses the theoretical list of antecedents and motivations that lead companies’ managers to define and implement an energy transition strategy. Adopting an in-depth investigation approach, it then checks this list on a real case.

Originality of the paper: The case of a global manufacturing company that recently announced an investment plan toward energy transition to accelerate global decarbonization, is in-depth investigated. It reveals the emergence of new antecedents such as (1) digitalization, (2) advancement of specific technologies, (3) the company’s own culture.


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