Sufficiency as the ultimate business strategy for sustainability?

When companies are innovating for sustainability there are different strategies that can be pursued. In general these strategies aim to create positive benefits and/or to reduce negative impacts for society and nature. However all economic business models are still based on the stimulation of consumption.  In a sufficiency-based approach however an alternative approach is taken to doing business as it is seeking to reduce or moderate consumption in addition to other sustainability strategies.

In a recent published article Brocken & Short (2015) give six examples of companies that are taking the sufficiency-based approach as a business model.

Vitsœ – furniture manufacturer: extending product life and encouraging reuse.

Brunello Cucinelli – clothing manufacturer: timeless quality clothing.

Patagonia – outdoor sports gear manufacturer: encouraging reuse and repair of clothing.

Kyocera – document management system manufacturer: managing demand for printing and copying.

Riversimple – automotive manufacturer and car lease service: reducing impacts of automotive solutions.

Reduse – equipment (‘unprinter’) manufacturer: unprinting.

There are of course many barriers to adopt suffiency-based business models, however the above mentioned companies can inspire innovators or disruptors to create new business playing fields.

Norbert Bol


Bocken, N. M. P., & Short, S. W. (2015). Towards a sufficiency-driven business model: Experiences and opportunities. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions.

Photo credit: eppujensen / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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