The Triple Layered Business Model Canvas – A Tool to Design More Sustainable Business Models

by Alexandre Joyce

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Update (19 June 2015): The conference paper can be downloaded from

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Since 2012, I have been looking for a way to add environmental and social aspects into the original business model canvas. After three years of research, design, development and testing, the triple layered business model canvas was published at the first ARTEM Organizational Creativity Conference in Nancy France. The theme this year was “Rethinking Paths on Creativity and Sustainability” which was a great setting for publishing a new tool to design sustainable business models. This paper was co-authored by Yves Pigneur who was at the origin of the business model canvas and the famous book business model generation and by Raymond Paquin who specializes in corporate sustainability and he happens to be one of my PhD directors.

In short, we add two new layers while continuing in the structure of the original canvas. The second layer is built with life cycle thinking approach to the environment and the third layer fosters a stakeholder approach to social issues.

Economic_business_model_canvasEconomic layer (based on the original BMC)

Environmental_business_model_canvasEnvironmental life cycle layer

Social_business_model_canvasSocial stakeholder layer

Business leaders can use this canvas to better understand and visualize the relationships between the economic, environmental and social aspects of their business model. The paper should be available in the ARTEM proceedings in the following months. For now, here’s the abstract of the paper and more importantly, the canvas and the Nespresso example.

Nespresso_economicNespresso economic layer

Nespresso_environmentalNespresso environmental life cycle layer

Nespresso_socialNespresso social stakeholder layer

Abstract of our paper presented at ARTEM 2015

A creative approach to sustainability can be applied upon an organization’s business model. We begin our research with the assumption that business model innovation that takes into account a triple bottom line approach will be more sustainable over time. We focus our research on the conceptual stage when business model ideas are generated, and more precisely its creative tools. Our goal is to support, with a structured canvas, organizations whom wish to innovate upon their current business model and create concepts of more sustainable business models. In this paper, we present and discuss the tool we have named the “triple layered business model canvas”. We endeavoured to ensure that business models create, deliver and capture multiple forms of value by adding a second layer with nine environmental elements that follow a lifecycle approach, and by adding a third layer with nine social elements that follow a stakeholder approach. We share this new triple layered business model canvas and exemplify its use with a Nespresso case. In the end, we find new dynamics for analysis and new relationships for innovation. We conclude with limits and future research for more sustainable business model patterns.

The conference paper can be downloaded from If you have any questions, please write me at alexandre(dot)joyce(at)gmail(dot)com


Joyce, A.; Paquin, R. & Pigneur, Y. (2015): The triple layered business model canvas: a tool to design more sustainable business models, ARTEM Organizational Creativity International Conference, 26-27 March 2015, Nancy, France.
PDF ( | Link (Conference)


  1. […] this event as chance to bring our wildest dreams into reality: startups, products and services that do good in a better way, for society and […]

  2. This is very good work. Have you spoken to Alexander Osterwalder about it? He would be very interested.

  3. […] have been created to focus on those areas.I suggest to take a look the models by Alexandre Joyce:…, from where, you can also download the paper on the models.And, for an excellent short video […]

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