Circular Economy, Business Models & Sustainable Transformation

The consequences of accelerated global warming, the historically unique depletion of resources and the increasing destruction of entire ecosystems have become the focus of discussion among top executives in many companies.  Business administration and management practice studies have long neglected the negative effects of business activities on the environment, leaving the solution in the hands of political or social players.  Yet, increasing awareness among consumers and the society as a whole, alarming price fluctuations and the scarcity of raw materials as well as adaptable laws have resulted in businesses and their value-added chains coming increasingly under pressure. Business sustainability, however, can offer a strategic competitive advantage and a spectacular development potential.

This Competence Center focuses on the promising alternative to today’s linearly functioning economic systems and presents a solution to the waste of resources and the creation of waste in the first place.  The focus is on the innovation potential of business models within the circular economy. Businesses that operate as part of a circular economy are able to react to the changing environmental problems in a groundbreaking manner. The goal is to recognize the sociopolitical and ecological changes and create resource-friendly and sustainable value with new business models.

Key questions: How can businesses recognize their social responsibility and design their business models in such a way as to minimize negative externalities on the one hand and play an active role in finding a solution to these problems on the other. How can managers change their way of thinking in order to come up with a holistic approach to sustainability as an integral part of their management roles?  How can businesses generate innovative and sustainable value propositions as a group?

Interested to read? White Paper “Circular Ecosystems”

Competence Center Management

Prof. Dr. Karolin Frankenberger

Prof. Dr. Karolin Frankenberger is Full Professor in the field of Strategy and Innovation, Director of the Institute of Management and Strategy, and Academic Director of the Executive MBA at the University of St. Gallen. Her research focuses mainly on the topics of business model innovation, (digital) business transformation, ecosystems, and circular economy. Prior to her academic career, Prof. Frankenberger worked at the management consulting company McKinsey & Company for almost 7 years.

  • Desing, H., Brunner, D., Takacs, F., Nahrath, S., Frankenberger, K., Hischier, R., 2020. A circular economy within the planetary boundaries: Towards a resource-based, systemic approach. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 155.
  • Takacs, F., Stechow, R. & Frankenberger, K. (2020). Circular Ecosystems: Business Model Innovation for the Circular Economy. White Paper of the Institute of Management & Strategy, University of St. Gallen.
  • Gassmann, Oliver & Frankenberger, Karolin: Geschäftsmodelle entwickeln: Von der Kunst zum Handwerk. In Geschäftsmodellinnovationen. Wiesbaden : Springer, 2016, S. 17-33.
  • Frankenberger, Karolin; Gassmann, Oliver; Sauer, Roman; Lee, Jae Yong & Meister, Christoph: CEWE: Business Model Innovation – When Disruptive Technologies Hit You. The Case Center, 2015
  • Gassmann, O., Frankenberger, K. & Csik, M. (2014). The Business Model Navigator. Harlow: Pearson Eduction Limited.

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