The 5 Business Models

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Sustainable Business

The 5 Business Models - Sonja Meyer

Bob Willard is an inspiring speaker, author and expert on the topic of business sustainability. In his writings, he offers up some interesting definitions for different types of business models, based on where they are at with compliance on the sustainability ladder. I really like his work, and think that if every CEO in the world was forced to have a dose of Bob, the world would be a very different place indeed.

He suggests that Stage 1 business models are ‘pre-compliance’. That is, they are completely unsustainable. Stage 5 business models on the other hand, are way beyond-compliance, and are actively driven by a ‘passionate, values-based commitment to improve the wellbeing of the company’. This means that the company is no longer employing sustainability initiatives purely in order to benefit economically, but are thinking beyond this closed-minded view and seeing a reason to do the right things, for only the right reasons, regardless of whether or not this is conducive of personal or financial gain.

Willard's 5 stages

Willard's 5 Stages

I really think he’s worked it out! To read more about his ideas, read the article on his website about the 5 business models.

Where does your business or company fit in and what are your true values? While of course it’s better than nothing, it’s interesting to note that so many companies really do only adopt sustainability initiatives or attempt to ‘green’ their business in order to realise the financial benefits of these types of changes. We all know by now that it is a good way to save some cash for many reasons (which I hope to devote another blog post to soon), but which businesses do it purely out of passion? I’d be interested to see the different agendas of the big ‘green’ companies out there today. Which one’s got to ‘beyond-compliance’ for all the wrong reasons, and are those reasons still prominent in their business plan today?

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