Sustainable Development and Business Models of Entrepreneurs in the Organic Food Industry

Albert Jolink, Eva Niesten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Citations (Scopus)
379 Downloads (Pure)


The business case for a sustainable firm, in particular the business case for new entrepreneurial initiatives responding to environmental demands, is increasingly receiving attention from practitioners and scholars. This article contributes to existing literature on business models, sustainable development and entrepreneurship, by applying components of business models to the practices of entrepreneurs that have a goal of environmental sustainability and a focus on the mass market (i.e. ecopreneurs). We define the ecopreneurial business model and specify four varieties of this business model, which consist of different combinations of environmental scope and a focus on the mass market and profitability. The distinguishing factor of the ecopreneurial business model is that it transforms disvalue into value, thereby creating greater customer value for environmentally concerned consumers. The results are based on a substantial set of interviews among ecopreneurs in the organic food and beverage industry in the Netherlands. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-401
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number6
Early online date4 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2015


  • sustainable development
  • business models
  • business cases
  • entrepreneurs
  • value creation
  • value capture


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