Toward Collaborative Cross-sector Business Models for Sustainability

Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen, Florian Lüdeke-Freund, Irene Henriques*, M. May Seitanidi

*Corresponding author for this work

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Sustainability challenges typically occur across sectoral boundaries, calling the state, market, and civil society to action. Although consensus exists on the merits of cross-sector collaboration, our understanding of whether and how it can create value for various, collaborating stakeholders is still limited. This special issue focuses on how new combined knowledge on cross-sector collaboration and business models for sustainability can inform the academic and practitioner debates about sustainability challenges and solutions. We discuss how cross-sector collaboration can play an important role for the transition to new and potentially sustainability-driven business models given that value creation, delivery, and capture of organizations are intimately related to the collaborative ties with their stakeholders. Sustainable alternatives to conventional business models tend to adopt a more holistic perspective of business by broadening the spectrum of solutions and stakeholders and, when aligned with cross-sector collaboration, can contribute new ways of addressing the wicked sustainability problems humanity faces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness & Society
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1039-1058
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: September 21, 2020.


  • Business models
  • Collaboration
  • Cross-sector
  • Sustainability

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