How can businesses drive sufficiency? The business for sufficiency framework

Laura Niessen*, Nancy M.P. Bocken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The breaching of planetary boundaries and excessive extraction of natural resources requires a revisited approach to consumption and production. The concept of sufficiency, which advocates meeting human needs within the planetary limits by curbing excessive consumption levels, is gaining increasing attention. Businesses are drivers of consumption, yet they have been largely overlooked as potential leaders towards a sufficiency-based economy and research on businesses driving sustainable consumption strategically is still a niche. The methods applied here are a literature and practice review and interviews to understand the state-of-the-art in sufficiency-orientated business strategies and develop a framework for future research and practice. Merging English- and German-language research, a base matrix of the waste hierarchy and the four lessens is presented. This matrix is populated with business sufficiency strategies, condensing existing work and creating the ‘Business for Sufficiency’ (BfS) framework. Empirical research with businesses already employing sufficiency strategies refines and validates the framework and sheds light on the viability, desirability, feasibility and sustainability of such offers, highlighting barriers and opportunities. The most prevalent strategies fall into the Rethink framework dimension which require the least radical changes. In addition, interviewees highlighted obstacles in reconciling more radical strategies such as Moderating sales with their financial sustainability. Yet, all interviewees stressed the need for reduced consumption and the role that business should play in enabling sufficiency, demonstrating the relevance of this topic for future research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1103
Number of pages14
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Sufficiency
  • Sufficiency economy
  • Sustainable business
  • Sustainable business model
  • Sustainable business strategy
  • Sustainable consumption
  • LIFE

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