Thomas, A., Scandurra, G., & Carfora, A. (2021). Adoption of green innovations by SMEs: an investigation about the influence of stakeholders. European Journal of Innovation Management. 24,2.
Pursuing sustainable development has become a necessity for all types of businesses, owing to the increasing sensitivity of stakeholders towards pollution and environmental degradation related to economic activities. To sustain this approach, investments supporting green innovations (GIs) are required. The paper investigates how stakeholders affect the choices of companies to pursue sustainable development objectives through the use of GIs.
A sample of 222 innovative Italian SMEs was collected and analysed using the partial least squares structural equation modelling technique and the importance performance map analysis.
The authors found that the stakeholders with not-contractual ties with SMEs affect GIs. Among stakeholders with not-contractual ties only workforce represents a strong stimulus to eco-innovate. Anyway, contrary to expectations, public administrations exert a negative influence; that is, they appear to hinder SMEs approach towards GIs.
This paper contributes to filling the knowledge gaps about the factors stimulating innovative SMEs’ investments in GIs. Specifically, by analysing the stakeholders’ influences, many policy indications emerge, such as extending facilities and regulations, encouraging partnerships and networking and attracting private and institutional investors.
Until now, the prominent interest of researchers and policymakers has been focused almost exclusively on large manufacturing corporations because of their higher ecological footprints and the belief that SMEs are supposed to be mainly followers rather than first adopters of innovations. But in many international areas, the role of SMEs is widely predominant, and these SMEs chiefly operate in the service sectors.