Sustainable Business Models in a Challenging Context: The Amana Katu Case

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José Augusto Lacerda Fernandes orcid
José Milton de Sousa-Filho orcid
Fernando Luiz Emerenciano Viana orcid


Context: the Brazilian Amazon region has the largest hydrographic basin in the world. However, even with such abundance, a good part of the population does not have access to quality water in their daily lives. In order to change that reality, a social business called Amana Katu created an innovative sustainable business model based on the principles of circular economy, built through partnerships with NGOs, corporations, government, and universities. Objective: this study aims to understand how sustainable business models can be co-created in challenging contexts. Methods: based on a qualitative case study, data was collected in three phases, from primary and secondary sources over three years, and analyzed following content analysis procedures. Results: the business model is based on different principles of circular economy, and the business co-creation process, based on partnerships with different stakeholders, was fundamental for the generation of value and impact associated with the three dimensions of sustainability. Conclusions: these results contribute to theory for a better understanding of the creation and development of SBMs in challenging contexts. In this kind of context, co-creation processes and a deep relationship with stakeholders have a unique function, and collaborate to create successful initiatives.


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Fernandes, J. A. L., Sousa-Filho, J. M. de, & Viana, F. L. E. (2020). Sustainable Business Models in a Challenging Context: The Amana Katu Case. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 25(3), e200205.


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