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The Potential of Servicizing as a Green Business Model

October 1, 2015

It has been argued that servicizing business models, under which a firm sells the use of a product rather than the product itself, are environmentally beneficial. The main arguments are: First, under servicizing the firm charges customers based on the product usage. Second, the quantity of products required to meet customer needs may be smaller because the firm may be able to pool customer needs. Third, the firm may have an incentive to offer products with higher efficiency. Motivated by these arguments, we investigate the economic and environmental potential of servicizing business models. We endogenize the firm's choice between a pure sales, a pure servicizing, and a hybrid model with both sales and servicizing options, the pricing decisions and, the resulting customer usage. We consider two extremes of pooling efficacy, viz., no versus strong pooling. We find that under no pooling servicizing leads to higher environmental impact due to production but lower environmental impact due to use. In contrast, under strong pooling, when a hybrid business model is more profitable, it is also environmentally superior. However, a pure servicizing model is environmentally inferior for high production costs as it leads to a larger production quantity even under strong pooling. We also examine the product efficiency choice and find that the firm offers higher efficiency products only under servicizing models with strong pooling.

Is Leasing Greener Than Selling?

October 28, 2011

Based on the proposition that leasing is environmentally superior to selling, some firms have adopted a leasing strategy and others promote their existing leasing programs as environmentally superior to "green" their image. The argument is that because a leasing firm retains ownership of the off-lease units, it has an incentive to remarket them or invest in designing a more durable product, resulting in a lower volume of new production and disposal. However, leasing might be environmentally inferior because of the direct control the firm has over the off-lease products, which may prompt the firm to remove them from the market to avoid cannibalizing the demand for new products. Motivated by these issues, we adopt a life-cycle environmental impact perspective and analytically investigate if leasing can be both more profitable and have a lower total environmental impact. We find that leasing can be environmentally worse despite remarketing all off-lease products and greener than selling despite the mid-life removal of off-lease products. Our analysis also provides insights for environmental groups and entities that use different approaches to improve the environmental performance of business practices. We show that imposing disposal fees or encouraging remanufacturing, under some conditions, can actually lead to higher environmental impact. We also identify when educating consumers to be more environmentally conscious can improve the relative environmental performance of leasing.