The need to adapt emerging sustainability audits to atypical business models
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While a growing number of businesses aspire toward sustainability, doing so requires new business models that aim to achieve triple bottom line benefits (economic, environmental, and social), while utilizing appropriate technologies and new knowledge platforms for doing business. “Third Places,” defined as places of public gathering outside of work or home, have emerged as powerful platforms for business model innovation, in the form of incubators, co-working spaces, and innovation hubs. Third Places enable a diverse group of actors, including entrepreneurs, employees, and investors to informally interact and develop innovative ways of doing business. Third Places tend to be structurally more complex than traditional production facilities as they have multiple firms interacting in formal and informal ways. In this commentary, we discuss the challenges of measuring the sustainability performance of Third Places using conventional sustainability audit tools.