Associative Sustainable Business Models
"Most of the studies have mainly focused on understanding how the business model of a single firm can address social and environmental impacts. Likewise, although some entrepreneurship scholars have acknowledged that pressing sustainability challenges require collective entrepreneurship to be solved, most of the research still remain focused on the actions of individual sustainable entrepreneurs. Although the actions of individual enterprises and entrepreneurs are useful and necessary to lead change, the severity of current social and environmental problems implies that a real transition towards sustainable development is only possible through collaborative actions between actors and organizations, especially in regions where resources and capabilities may be scarce."
Ivan Montiel et al.:
"This category encompasses firms with innovative business models that rely on partnership, association and collaboration to create value in the triple bottom line and address pressing sustainability challenges." (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ivan_Montiel/publication/320865092_Associative_Sustainable_Business_Models_Cases_in_The_Bean-to-Bar_Chocolate_Industry/links/59ff5cc10f7e9b9968c6525e/Associative-Sustainable-Business-Models-Cases-in-The-Bean-to-Bar-Chocolate-Industry.pdf?)
"Cato et al, (2008) extended the concept of entrepreneurship to accommodate the collective dimension and coined the term “associative entrepreneurship” after studying the renewable energy sector in Wales. Montgomery et al. (2012) examined the diversity of collective social enterprises found in a diverse range of movements, alliances and markets for social good to identify three set of activities characteristic of collective social entrepreneurs – framing, convening, and multivocality. Likewise, the literature on collective action has shown that firms can create mechanisms to alter the rules of the game and promote changes in their industries and solve public goods problems and social dilemmas (e.g. Akemu et al., 2016; Ostrom, 1998; Pacheco et al., 2010; 2014)."
"Bocken et al. (2014) undertook an extensive review of both SBM literature and practice to analyze and categorize defining patterns and attributes of business models’ innovation for sustainability. The result was the identification of eight archetypes of SBM on the basis of the mechanisms and solutions used to create value in the triple bottom line:
(1) maximize material and energy efficiency;
(2) create value from waste;
(3) substitute with renewables and natural processes;
(4) deliver functionality rather than ownership;
(5) adopt a stewardship role;
(6) encourage sufficiency;
(7) re-purpose the business for society/ environment; and
(8) develop scale-up solutions.
The archetypes map directly on the three groupings (technological, social, and organizational) identified by Boons and Lüdeke-Freund (2013)." 
* Article: ASSOCIATIVE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODELS: CASES IN THE BEAN-TO-BAR CHOCOLATE INDUSTRY. By Peter Jack Gallo, Raquel Antolin-Lopez, and Ivan Montiel. Journal of Cleaner Production, November 4, 2017
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"This study contributes to the growing literature of Sustainability Business Models (SBM) by introducing a new category coined as Associative Sustainability Business Models (ASBM). We theorize that this category encompasses firms with innovative business models that rely on partnership, association and collaboration to create value in the triple bottom line and address pressing sustainability challenges. Following an inductive research approach, we analyze four case studies of ASBM ventures in the chocolate industry. Our findings reveal the emergence of two key theoretical constructs (firm location and claimant identity) that help to identify differences across ASBM designs and lead to four different subcategories of ASBM. In addition, drawing on the literature of Sustainable Business Models, we develop theoretical propositions that link our four subcategories of ASBM to the business case for sustainability. Therefore, we extend the literature on SBM by providing new insights on how business model innovations based on strong association and collaboration can generate solutions to social and environmental challenges."
Conclusions from the research:
"Proposition 1: Firms with ASBM that locate value creation near the sources of production will contribute more to the business case for sustainability than firms that locate at a distance.
Proposition 2: Firms with ASBM that create equity ownership for laborers will contribute more to the business case for sustainability than firms that don’t provide such equity.
Proposition 3: Firms with ASBM firms that both, locate value creation near the sources of production, and create equity ownership for laborers will contribute more to the business case for sustainability than firms that implement only one or the other."