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Product-service system business model archetypes and sustainability

Yang, Miying, Evans, Steve
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.220 pp. 1156-1166
econometric models, financial economics, social sustainability
The existing literature has largely discussed the sustainability potentials of product-service systems (PSS) business models, but most of them do not distinguish the sustainability of different PSS archetypes. This paper aims to investigate how different PSS archetypes may affect firms’ sustainability performance differently, and to identify the main reasons for the differences. We studied three manufacturing firms, each of which has co-existence of various archetypes of PSS. We analysed the sustainable value generated by each archetype, and observed that, firstly, different archetypes of PSS do create differences in the sustainable value delivered; secondly, the main reason for the difference is the integration level of product maker, owner and user; thirdly, result-oriented PSS is shown to have significant potential to deliver environmental and economic benefits through enhanced resource efficiency in production and consumption; and fourthly, PSS alone does not have significant social sustainability effects. We then proposed a framework of PSS business model archetypes and sustainability based on the literature study and empirical evidence. The proposed framework is novel and provides a comprehensive analysis of the economic, environmental and social sustainable value creation of known PSS business model archetypes. The findings can be applied in manufacturing firms to explore sustainable value sources when developing different archetypes of PSS business models.