reinvent economical yet attractive business models

The call for sobriety is not a new thing in itself in times of scarcity. The oldest will remember, for example, the measures put in place during the oil crises of 1973 and 1979. At the time, the first measures limited speed for everyone on roads and motorways and set a temperature ceiling on homes. Then an information campaign, the “Gaspi Hunt”, ” elbow in the 1970s, led individuals to adjust their driving and reduce their consumption. And it worked. The story is over, the debate will be closed. Let the politicians adopt measures to encourage sobriety and the related marketing apparatus, and rely on the good will or the game taste of the citizens to adjust their consumption? The answer is “no” of course.

First, because the issues of sustainability are not only energy but concern all kinds of resources: natural, mineral, biological and human. And secondly, because there is an intermediary economic player between the public authorities and the individual, the company, which has a specific role to play because, through its strategic activity, it chooses to consume resources and energy. energy in concrete activities to provide products and services for consumers, be it sober or not. It forms a value-creating ecosystem for stakeholders, beneficiaries or contributors, or both, customers, users, distributors, employees, suppliers, funders, and even providers of health, mobility and education infrastructure, etc. This system of creating and sharing value is commonly referred to as a business model. The latter can be more or less sustainable “, meaning responsible in social or environmental matters, or simply sane. It’s about strategy.

The sobriety levers can be mobilized in the first degree: in the company, inside business model in the force, improving its efficiency, limiting waste and optimizing the use of available capacity. All management instruments, including eco-design, have historically been developed to meet this need to conserve resources. It remains to determine who benefits from the economy and the optimization, and who, on the other hand, gives efforts of sobriety. The game is known, even if it is aggravated by a tense context, and above all this game never questions the business model initial.

Also, above all, the sobriety levers should be determined at a different level, no in the company but in contact which it maintains with its stakeholders. It is his ability to influence and integrate sensible social practices, inspired for example by the connecting world, that becomes the key, and not just his inner behavior, however sensible and holy it may be. However, this manifests itself in many ways: in the design of new offers that push the consumer to consume less, or at least to use products longer by upgrading them, which may seem completely counterintuitive for a marketer, or in providing products to be shared to limit overconsumption, but also in an assumed policy of choosing suppliers that are sensible in themselves, or even in finding financiers who promoting sobriety or environmental responsibility through their investments or loans. These levers are already used by companies promoting a CSR strategy, but are often separate from each other. It is now necessary to consider them globally and to invent new arrangements, new relationships, in other words, new business models, lively, sober but charming.

Alternatives to imposed sobriety therefore exist, but they impose several challenges: first of all a ” vision » offbeat like that of Luc Teerlinck, the initiator of the We Play Circular at Decathlon Belgium, which aims to change the distribution of sports equipment by sharing the same equipment, or Yann Lemoine, creator of Common Goods, who promotion of sharing of everyday appliances. It is no longer a question here of creating a consumption model, but of designing new interactions between the user, suppliers or brands, for example for Decathlon, while integrating the new model into business as usual. Then, you need to expand the stakeholders involved (for example, other funders) or make them perform different roles. The customer in turn becomes the user, the co-designer of the offer, the repairer of the product, or the supplier of the premises can be both the financier of the equipment and manages the minor operations. Finally, it is necessary to define well the activities and duties assigned, to manage the returns or advantages created, financial or not, vis-à-vis each stakeholder. The company is no longer defined by its ability to create value to be shared between predetermined parties, but by its ability to organize the practices of co-users, co-designers, co-producers and co- financier. A permitted, and much more desired, moderation cannot now conceal the organizing and transformative force of these new enterprises.