The Alexandra Institute // Cases // Green business development

Green business development


Green business development

How green is your company?

We have analysed how selected Danish companies approach green business development and identified what that means in practice. 

The Fund for Green Business Development under the Danish Business Authority promotes green business development in Danish companies. The objective is to support resource efficiency, develop sustainable solutions and create new, green jobs.

The Fund asked the Alexandra Institute and consultancy firm Orbicon to analyse how selected Danish companies approach green business development and identify what that means in practice. More specifically, we gathered, processed and developed practice-oriented knowledge about what it takes to move towards greater sustainability in terms of e.g. economy, manufacturing processes and greener products. 

The Alexandra Institute and Orbicon delivered a comprehensive report containing the conclusions of our analysis of the current state of play of green business development in Danish companies.

Based on the report, we prepared a mini guide targeted on companies who want to think and act greener. The guide helps companies find the right approach when working with green business development and identify their own development potential.

Furthermore, we prepared five cases and three guidelines for educational purposes.

The material is available in Danish only.

The Alexandra Institute and Orbicon gathered and processed data and knowledge from a selection of companies. We used questionnaires, interviews, cases and literature studies. The study was based on 46 interviews with companies, and 102 companies responded to our questionnaire.

We used a scientific method developed by the Alexandra Institute called The Model of Change. With the Model of Change we can organise and standardise our empirical analyses such that the results are 1) a description of the green business development process in each individual company, and 2) an overall description of the development process in groups of companies. The model is generic and works as a framework for data collection and analysis, and as an efficient tool that the Danish Business Authority can use in future initiatives relating to knowledge acquisition and knowledge sharing under the auspices of the Fund for Green Business Development.

Based on The Model of Change, the team of consultants used the data collected to make recommendations for what it takes to promote green business development in Danish companies in terms of resource efficiency and other sustainable transition initiatives. The Model of Change is thus our framework for describing change processes and the results of these processes – or in other words: It is our change theory on green business development.

Read more about the theory behind The Model of Change in this paper (pdf). 

According to our study, companies can be divided into four generic types characterised by the company’s approach to green business development.

Each company type is a sort of ‘company persona’ characterised by its motivation, approach and critical success factors in relation to green business development.

Type 1: The moderate
The company is engaged in green business development to a moderate extent. Mainly to meet legal requirements but also to find new ways of saving on resources. Green business development is often a side effect of other development initiatives.

Type 2: The goal-oriented
The company is focused on green business development. It wants to reduce costs and use resources and materials more efficiently. The green profile is used to strengthen the company’s position on the market. 

Type 3: The frontrunner
The company is a frontrunner when it comes to green business development. Sustainability is an integral part of the company’s strategic planning, e.g. product development and processes. 

Type 4: The pioneer
The company is a start-up that develops a niche product based on a green business model, sustainable production or marketing. The company was established around the green innovation and is driven by entrepreneurial enthusiasm.

The four company types can be used for inspiring, adjusting and implementing green business development in other companies. In our analysis we propose a number of questions to be considered.

The analysis also identifies a number of general trends in the way companies approach green business development. These trends reflect each company type’s preferred approach to innovation and development and summarise what is important in the process in general.

In this project we collaborated with Orbicon and the Fund for Green Business Development.

The project was funded by the Danish Business Authority.

Is your company in the process of going green? And do you need more knowledge?

We can help you!

Manager – Intelligent Sustainability
People, Technology and Business Lab
+45 30 23 66 22
See profile