Innovative business models

WRAP wants to support new business opportunities that don't depend on selling large volumes of products and materials to meet market demand. 

There's a range of innovative or alternative business models that support this approach. The common feature of these models is that they extend product life, conserve resources and prevent materials from becoming waste.

Use the links below to explore the different models.

Product Service SystemDematerialised services
Hire & leasingCollaborative consumption
Incentivised return & re-useAsset management
Collection of used productsLong life
Made to orderBring your own device

Product Service System

Providing a service based upon delivering performance outputs – linked to products or services. The product may be designed for long life, short life or a mix depending upon the optimum output requirements. Products could also be designed for disassembly, remanufacture and re-use. 

For example:

  • Philips'“Pay per Lux” solution is being used throughout the new, BREEAM accredited 'Excellent', office of the National Union of Students.
  • Cook Manchester offer fully equipped professional kitchen space that can be hired by the hour on a one off or regular basis.
  • Rolls Royce sell their engine's thrust as ‘power by the hour’, which includes full in-use monitoring, servicing, repair, remanufacture and replacement. 
  • A Shade Greener offer a 'Boiler for Life' scheme. They install, maintain and service a new boiler for a weekly fee. 
  • Digital lumens provide intelligent lighting systems that reduce lighting-related energy use by up to 90%. As of 2013, they plan to offer their solutions as a service rather than an equipment sale.
  • Bandvulc sell ‘road grip’ (tyre support system) rather than tyres for articulated lorries.
  • Interface FLOR sell ‘flooring services’ through their evergreen lease option. Floor tiles are designed biomimicrially for remanufactuer once they wear out. 
  • Xerox sell contract ‘print services’ rather than printers. Printers are designed to be remanufactured and reduce waste in operation (e.g. cartridge free).  

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Dematerialised services

Providing a service that offers product benefits where the 'physical' product does not exist at all at the point of use (e.g. answerphone services). The model changes consumption patterns and delivers potential material saving through not producing a physical product for consumers. However, this must be balanced against the materials used in the service infrastructure.

For example:

  • Spotify and Love Film provide on-demand delivery of music and film via internet or mail, using outsourced / public infrastructure with minimal overheads.
  • Cloud Computing: Email and document management services on virtual software platforms running on out-of-house hardware.
  • CapGemini amongst other ICT service providers: provision of software or infrastructure as a service  (SaaS or IaaS), rather than the hardware or software on a disk focusing on the activity of the software such as payroll or logistics.

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Hire & leasing

Long-term hire and leasing of products drives a longer term approach to product durability, with longer service life, lower maintenance load and lower use of materials and CO2.

For example:

  • Mud Jeans give you the opportunity to lease fashionable, organic produced jeans. During the lease period you can make use of their free repair service. After a year they give you 3 options – keep it, swap it or send back. 
  • Girl Meets Dress rents designer dresses and accessories for special occasions. 
  • Forbes Rentals charge weekly for wide range of domestic electrics and electronics.
  • Emblem Furniture rent furniture and white goods for show homes and 'Home staging'.
  • Leasedrive offer long-term B2B leasing of fleet vehicles.
  • Stone Rent-a-PC is a long-term PC rental scheme designed for the UK education landscape. 
  • ICT hardware providers such as Dell and others rent equipment on long-term lease to companies and provide back-up support and service management and upgrades of the ICT / PCs. 

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Collaborative consumption

Rental of products between members of the public or between businesses. Generates an income for the product owner and provides cheaper access to a product for the renter. Can also be non-income based peer-to-peer online and/or offline exchange and re-use .

For example:

  • Airbnb supports the rental of spare bedroom space to private travellers. 
  • Warp it allows internal staff or staff between companies to sell unwanted items and buy needed items.
  • erento is a portal that allows B2B and B2C hiring of many products and tools, and the hiring out of own tools and products.
  • Streetbank is a free online portal that shows products and skills available within a local neighbourhood.
  • Swapstyle allows swapping of clothes and bags for free through an online portal.
  • The Savvy Earner showcases six innovative ways to earn money by putting your unused assets to work. 

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Incentivised return & re-use

Encourages customers to return used items for an agreed value. Customers gain value for unwanted items and return products via a convenient system. Collected products are refurbished and sold for re-use on appropriate markets.

For example:

  • Desso offer a carpet take-back programme and have developed an innovative separation technique to tackle the millions of square metres of worn-out carpet that are thrown away every year.
  • Amazon trade-in allows users to trade in their books or video games for an amazon gift voucher. The product is then made available for resale. 
  • CeX buy, sell and exchange a range of technology and entertainment products.
  • The Gadget Show live offers a cash trade in, reusing or recycling the gadgets
  • Steelcase Solutions evaluate the state of furniture and offer repair and renovation service prior to replacing with new

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Asset management

Internal collection, re-use, refurbishing and re-sale of used products. Reduces the quantity of raw materials required to meet the market demand.

For example:

  • Carillion worked with WRAP to develop resource efficient and profitable business models around better management of vehicle-based assets. 
  • FLOOW2 is a business-to-business sharing marketplace where companies and institutions can share equipment and as well as the skills and knowledge of personnel.
  • P2PLocal is an online technological and legal contracting solution bringing businesses together to facilitate peer to peer hiring of under-utilised equipment, machinery, plant, and other resources.
  • Reworked cutting tool bits and blades. Dinosaw run a 'cutting tool sales, sharpening and repair' service in New York and Pennsylvania, USA. 
  • Electroversal refurbishment of mobiles, copiers, PCBs (mostly from copiers), power supplies, vending machines etc.
  • Leafield Logistics store and catalogue Admiralty spares and parts for sold-on naval vessels.
  • RDC is an IT asset disposition company specialising in the re-use and recycling of used computer equipment.

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Collection of used products

Collection by a service provider to ensure products/ materials are passed on to an appropriate re-use system.

For example:

  • Globechain's online platform connects corporates to charities, individuals and SMEs allowing them to help each other by donating and re-using unwanted items.
  • Wiltshire Wood Recycling collect waste wood from construction, joinery and other businesses and grade the wood for resale or manufacture into wood products.
  • SOFA collect, refurbish and re-sell used furniture and white goods in the Bristol area.
  • Refurbiz collect, refurbish and re-sell used white goods.

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Long life

Products are designed to have a long life time with durability, reducing consumption.

For example:

  • Kyocera's design concept mean only the toner, rather than the whole toner cartridge, needs to be replaced. As many as 500,000 pages can be printed without replacing anything except toner, significantly reducing waste and cost. 
  • Patagonia aim to make clothes that last a long time and wear out evenly. Since 2012 they have repaired over 26,000 items sent back to be fixed. 
  • Giroflex offer cleaning and care services as well as repairing office chairs
  • Miele design and engineer product for long service life and market it on "lifetime cost" with 10-20 year life. 

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Made to order

Production is managed to minimise material requirements and avoid potential losses from over-stocking products.

For example:

  • Alt-Berg Bootmakers handmade to order and re-sole service for walking, motorcycling, army and police boots.
  • Duo Boots make boots to sizes and to order using a network of fitting retail rooms to define the customers sizing and then, item despatched via online delivery.
  • Made produce furniture designs to order, grouping requests from its online catalogue and placinf orders directly with the manufacturers, reducing stock, wastages, materials and cost.

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Bring your own device

User brings their own device to access services e.g. the employer pays employee to buy a computer for use at work and at home, along with a support package. This model reduces quantity of products required to meet market need.

For example:

  • Citrix pay for a bring your own computer to all staff in the company to use on the company’s network for work and home, saving resources and support time, and improving employee motivation.

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