Read a recently published MSc thesis by Simo Veijonaho, titled 'Forest-based circular bioeconomy business models in Finnish SMEs'.
ABSTRACT Growing exploitation of natural capital has raised a concern towards Earth’s capability to provide equal benefits for all in the future. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals addressed this issue and set the framework for private and public operators to implement and develop more sustainable solutions. Circular economy and bioeconomy have been presented as models to foster the economy along with sustainability transitions. However, the models have been criticized for taking overall sustainability for granted. As a result, the merged concept, circular bioeconomy, has been introduced to address such sustainability gap. The circular bioeconomy concept implies a more efficient resource management of bio-based renewable resources by combining the concept of circular economy and bioeconomy in strategic management level. These new concept demands both new technological innovations and new business model innovation. This study explores similar and dissimilar patterns in the way Finnish SME propose, create and deliver value through circular bioeconomy business models. The study examines the relation of new concept to sustainability as well. The study was based on qualitative research, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight company managers or owners. The data were categorized into business model components and sustainable business model archetypes. The results revealed that sustainability-oriented business model archetypes vary across the examined companies. Dominant ideas are substituting fossil-based materials and energy with bio-based one, and practices enabled by new technology such as production eco-efficiency. More radical principles were missing, for instance prolonging the material cycle before incineration or solutions to reduce consumer consumption. While environmental value was well covered in the business models of companies, contribution to social value was taken for granted as a narrow outcome of economic and environmental values. As this study concerned the micro level perspective, for further studies would be beneficial to examine the meso and macro level transformation to get a more holistic view on business environment, where companies with circular bio-product innovations operate to reveal implementation barriers for the circular bioeconomy.