How green are supported ‘green’ business models? Time for the life cycle approach to enter public support programmes

Løkke S, Schmidt J, Lyhne I, Kørnøv L, Revsbeck R (2020)

Publication info

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 25:2086–2092



‘Green’ business models have received considerable political and financial support, which for the public is a validation of the sustainability of the business models. The sustainability performance seems, however, often questionable, and the purpose of this paper is to investigate the performance of a specific public support programme for green business models.


Based on an analytical framework of key elements of life cycle assessment (LCA), 14 business models supported financially by the Danish Fund for Green Business Development were investigated. This included text analysis and interviews with companies receiving funding.

Results and discussion

Results document that despite clear ambitions of improving environmental performance, life cycle assessment and other quantitative methods are rarely applied among supported companies to document the environmental benefits of their green business models. Furthermore, the companies rarely consider substitution and alternatives or apply a holistic perspective in terms of impacts.


There is an urgent need to strengthen credibility of public support programme on the performance of green business models. The LCA community has, as expert community, a special role in pointing at the implications and need of documenting environmental performance.

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