E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "How does Market Demand for Sustainability Shape Business Strategies? Exploring Innovation Paths in Agribusiness"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Alessio Cavicchi

Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, University of Macerata, P.le Bertelli 1, 62100 Macerata, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-0733-258-5929
Interests: innovation and sustainability in agribusiness; consumer behaviour; food and wine marketing; sustainable tourism; rural branding
Guest Editor
Dr. Cristina Santini

Università San Raffaele, Via di Val Cannuta, 247, Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39-06-52252552
Interests: business management; entrepreneurship; strategic management; wine and food business; ecopreneurship; action research; case studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will explore how the multi-faceted concept of sustainability in the agribusiness sector is influencing both consumers’ lifestyles and marketing strategies adopted by SMEs and multinational companies.

Since the 1990s, sustainability has attracted scholars (Hart, 1997) who have pointed out its role for companies (see among others Porter and Van der Linde, 1995). Background research shows that firms can adopt sustainable strategies at different stages of their lifecycle (Isaak, 2002) and for different purposes (Henriques and Sadorsky, 1996; van Marrewijk and Werre 2003; Mirvis and Googins, 2006; Markevich, 2009). Scholars have investigated the relationships between sustainable orientation and company performance in various sectors (Gilinsky et al., 2015) and a considerable part of the research has investigated the role of entrepreneurial orientation towards sustainability when shaping business strategy (see, among others, Shaltegger, 2002).

The relationship between market demand for sustainability and business strategy is critical: on the one hand, firms must reinforce their market orientation in order to achieve market competitiveness, and on the other hand, the market, according to the interest shown by stakeholders (consumers, associations, institutions, corporations) can define new paths for sustainable development.

Given the overarching focus, contributions that address the following themes are sought:

  •  Ecopreneurship
  • Management of sustainability performance and reporting
  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Links between sustainability and innovation in the food supply chain
  • Sustainability aspects of the relationship between food, gastronomy and place
  • Stakeholder engagement processes in the agribusiness sector

Prof. Alessio Cavicchi
Dr. Cristina Santini
Guest Editors

Reference

Hart, S.L. Beyond greening: strategies for a sustainable world. Harvard Bus. Rev. 1997, 75, 66–77.

Porter, M.E. & van der Linde, C. Toward a new conception of the environment-competitiveness relationship. J. Econ. Perspect. 1995, 97–118.

Isak, R. The making of the ecopreneur. Greener Manag. Int. 2002, 38, 81–91.

Hemriques, I.; Sadorky, P. The determinants of an environmentally responsive firm: an empirical approach. J. Env. Econ. Manag. 1996, 30, 381–395.

Van Marrewijk, M.; Werre, M. Multiple levels of corporate sustainability. J. Bus. Ethics 2003, 44, 107–119.

Mirvis, P.; Googins, B. Stages of corporate citizenship: A developmental framework. Calif. Manag. Rev. 2006, 48, 104–126.

Markevich, A. The evolution of sustainability. MIT Sloan Manag. Rev. 2009, 51, 13.

Gilinsky, A.; Newton, S.K.; Atkin, T.; Santini, C.; Cavicchi, A.; Romeo, A.C.; Huertas, R. Perceived Efficacy of Sustainability Strategies in the US, Italian, and Spanish Wine Industries: A Comparative Study. Int. J. Wine Bus. Res. 2015, 27, 164–181.

Schaltegger, S. A framework for ecopreneurship. Greener Manag. Int. 2002, 38, 45–58.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • ecopreneurship
  • competitive advantage
  • strategic management
  • innovation
  • market orientation
  • corporate sustainability
  • sustainable marketing

Published Papers (10 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-10
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Restructuring the Vietnamese Rice Sector: Towards Increasing Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 325; doi:10.3390/su9020325
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (835 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters today, there is an urgent need to restructure the sector. To guide the transition from being a quantity-focused producer to a credible supplier of quality rice, this study explores the sector’s opportunities for sustainable
[...] Read more.
Although Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters today, there is an urgent need to restructure the sector. To guide the transition from being a quantity-focused producer to a credible supplier of quality rice, this study explores the sector’s opportunities for sustainable value chain upgrading. Data was collected through focus group discussions with farmers, stacked surveys with rice value chain stakeholders, and a participatory workshop bringing several value chain actors together. Stakeholders perceive the sector’s capability to grasp opportunities (including growing export and domestic markets) to be higher than its resilience to potential threats (including more stringent food safety regulations and climate change). Three strategies are discussed for making rice value chains more sustainable; embodying sustainability in the product through certified sustainable production labels; internalizing sustainable production standards through vertical coordination (e.g., contract farming); and disembodying sustainability through book and claim certificate trading. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Blueberry Supply Chain in Italy: Management, Innovation and Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 261; doi:10.3390/su9020261
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 4 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2848 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The growing trend market of fresh products is driven by a consumer oriented to new lifestyles and environmental issues. The berries market in Europe represents a good example of a consumer driven supply chain, due to the capacity to answer all the sequences
[...] Read more.
The growing trend market of fresh products is driven by a consumer oriented to new lifestyles and environmental issues. The berries market in Europe represents a good example of a consumer driven supply chain, due to the capacity to answer all the sequences of the system. To explore the process developed by fruit growers’ associated groups in Italy, the research is organized into four stages. The first stage provides a review of the organization of the fresh fruit supply chain (FFSC) and the need to innovate it in light of the driven demand. The second section focuses on the innovation displayed towards storing, managing and maintaining the quality of fruit during the supply. The third section considers the case study. The manuscript concludes by summarising the main results and discussing the implications for future research. The use of a modified active packaging system (MAP) with “green” films has enabled the maintenance of the quality of the fruits for two months, as well as the presence of the company blueberries market for longer periods, and has finally led to improving the exports, thus reaching new European countries, increasing the turnover of the associated group and better remuneration for the fruit growers as a consequence. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Consumers’ Perspective on Circular Economy Strategy for Reducing Food Waste
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 141; doi:10.3390/su9010141
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1200 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The current linear system of production and consumption is unsustainable. In the food sector, despite the fact that valuable natural resources are intensively used to produce and distribute food products, little is done to upcycle residues generated along the supply chain. Circular economy
[...] Read more.
The current linear system of production and consumption is unsustainable. In the food sector, despite the fact that valuable natural resources are intensively used to produce and distribute food products, little is done to upcycle residues generated along the supply chain. Circular economy strategies are crucial for restructuring the take-make-dispose model through the active participation of all actors of supply chains. However, little is known about consumers’ willingness to participate in circular economy. A structured questionnaire was submitted to a representative sample of Italian households to assess the willingness of consumers to be actively involved in closed loops aiming at reducing food waste. Consumers are involved by returning their organic food waste to retailers in exchange for discounts on the purchase of animal products. The organic food waste returned enters in the production process of animal products. A choice experiment was designed to analyse alternative programs. Two scenarios were presented: one with a traditional technology (composting), and a second one with a radically innovative technology (insects as feed). Preferences and trade-offs, in monetary terms, among attributes were computed. Results depict a comprehensive portrait of the potential participation of consumers to closed loops inspired by the principles of circular economy. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Exploring a Novel Agricultural Subsidy Model with Sustainable Development: A Chinese Agribusiness in Liaoning Province
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 19; doi:10.3390/su9010019
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4986 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To improve the incomes of farmers in China, the Chinese government is paying increased attention to the reform of its agricultural subsidy policy. However, the effectiveness of the subsidy remains insufficient and thus fails to encourage farmers to cultivate their land and develop
[...] Read more.
To improve the incomes of farmers in China, the Chinese government is paying increased attention to the reform of its agricultural subsidy policy. However, the effectiveness of the subsidy remains insufficient and thus fails to encourage farmers to cultivate their land and develop sustainability. Thus, there is a need for a novel model that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of subsidies. The proposed novel agricultural subsidy model comprises four major actors: farmers, specialized farmers’ cooperatives, agribusiness and government. Furthermore, the subsidy in this novel model would no longer go directly to farmers but to the agribusiness. To develop the model, the empirical data for this study are obtained from a Chinese agribusiness in Liaoning Province that was selected as a benchmark. With this novel model, farmers receive triple rebates: the price received when the rice is initially sold; a share of the profits of the specialized farmers’ cooperatives; and a share of the profits of the agribusiness. Accordingly, exploring the optimal subsidy rate for agribusinesses is the critical task of this study, and the results demonstrate that agribusinesses must use the government subsidy policy as the basis for a dynamic subsidy model that ensures the income of farmers and encourages sustainable development. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Impacts of Socially Responsible Corporate Activities on Korean Consumers’ Corporate Evaluations in the Agrifood Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1292; doi:10.3390/su8121292
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 16 November 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 9 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (826 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The variety of socially responsible corporate activities employed in the agrifood industry has been broadening. An increasing number of agrifood companies have been employing strategic approaches to socially responsible activities, reinforced by Porter and Kramer’s concept of creating shared value (CSV). This study
[...] Read more.
The variety of socially responsible corporate activities employed in the agrifood industry has been broadening. An increasing number of agrifood companies have been employing strategic approaches to socially responsible activities, reinforced by Porter and Kramer’s concept of creating shared value (CSV). This study compares the effects on corporate evaluations of two socially responsible corporate activities: philanthropic giving and CSV. Because prior studies concerning the effects of corporate prosocial behaviors on consumer responses have yielded mixed results, the present study examines the effects of a priori perceptions of companies by using corporate stereotypes as moderators. The results show that the type of socially responsible corporate activity (CSV vs. philanthropic giving) does not influence corporate evaluations. However, in cases of CSV (vs. philanthropic giving), consumers evaluate an unwarm but competent company more attractively and place higher value on an incompetent but warm company. This research is important not only for enriching existing literature, but also for providing guidelines to practitioners with respect to selecting appropriate corporate initiatives based on perceived consumer stereotypes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Production of Food and Fiber: An Adaptation of CoP Features for Sustainable Water Use in Agribusiness
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1189; doi:10.3390/su8111189
Received: 16 August 2016 / Revised: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fresh water and arable land are essential for agricultural production and food processing. However, managing conflicting demands over water and land can be challenging for business leaders, environmentalists and other stakeholders. This paper characterizes these challenges as wicked problems. Wicked problems are ill-formed,
[...] Read more.
Fresh water and arable land are essential for agricultural production and food processing. However, managing conflicting demands over water and land can be challenging for business leaders, environmentalists and other stakeholders. This paper characterizes these challenges as wicked problems. Wicked problems are ill-formed, fuzzy, and messy, because they involve many clients and decisions makers with conflicting values. They are also not solvable, but rather must be managed. How can agribusiness leaders effectively manage wicked problems, especially if they have little practice in doing so? This paper argues that a Community of Practice (CoP) and its tripartite elements of domain, community and practice can be effective in helping businesses manage wicked problems by focusing on the positive links between environmental stewardship and economic performance. Empirically, the paper examines three agribusinesses to assess the extent in which CoP is used as a strategy for sustainable water management. Full article
Open AccessArticle Consumers’ Sense of Farmers’ Markets: Tasting Sustainability or Just Purchasing Food?
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1157; doi:10.3390/su8111157
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable food consumption has attracted widespread attention over the last decades by scholars, policy makers and consumers. In line with this, farmers’ markets (FMs) have the potential to encourage sustainable agricultural production and consumption. By reducing the number of actors and distances along
[...] Read more.
Sustainable food consumption has attracted widespread attention over the last decades by scholars, policy makers and consumers. In line with this, farmers’ markets (FMs) have the potential to encourage sustainable agricultural production and consumption. By reducing the number of actors and distances along the food chain, these alternative food systems foster the reconnection between farmers and consumers and contribute to different social, economic and environmentally sustainable goals. This paper provides insights into how consumers’ sustainability concerns are related to their motivation for shopping at FMs. By means of a choice experiment, we analyze the determinants of consumers’ preferences for buying apples at FMs. We are particularly interested in understanding how attitudes towards the three sustainability dimensions are related to consumer preferences in this context. We find that consumer attitudes towards direct contact with producers, contributing to farmers’ income, and environmental benefits, can be directly related to product characteristics that are specific to FMs. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Learning from Stakeholder Pressure and Embeddedness: The Roles of Absorptive Capacity in the Corporate Social Responsibility of Dutch Agribusinesses
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1026; doi:10.3390/su8101026
Received: 2 September 2016 / Revised: 2 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 13 October 2016
PDF Full-text (575 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In spite of much research on corporate social responsibility (CSR) responses to secondary stakeholders (i.e., social movements, activists, media, civil society and non-governmental organizations), the debate on how companies learn from pressure and collaboration with these societal groups is still open. Building upon
[...] Read more.
In spite of much research on corporate social responsibility (CSR) responses to secondary stakeholders (i.e., social movements, activists, media, civil society and non-governmental organizations), the debate on how companies learn from pressure and collaboration with these societal groups is still open. Building upon stakeholder and knowledge management theories, this paper analyzes how secondary stakeholder pressure and embeddedness influence agribusiness companies’ absorptive capacity and their CSR strategies. Data are obtained from 152 Dutch agribusiness company managers. The results highlight that, first, absorptive capacity influences companies’ new product innovation, product positioning and organizational innovation to be more oriented towards CSR. Second, stakeholder embeddedness of agribusiness companies triggers absorptive capacity more than pressure from them. Third, stakeholder pressure and embeddedness also have direct (i.e., not mediated by companies’ absorptive capacity) yet weaker effects on CSR organizational innovation and product positioning. Findings corroborate the idea that firms develop innovative CSR strategies when they combine internal reflection processes and partnerships with secondary stakeholders. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Ecopreneurship and Ecopreneurs: Limits, Trends and Characteristics
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 492; doi:10.3390/su9040492
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 18 March 2017 / Published: 25 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (206 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The research topic of Ecopreneurship is growing and new questions emerge, whilst others remain unanswered. This paper provides an extensive literature review and aims to highlight research outputs and trends in ecopreneurship. Besides a reflection on the main features, motivations and typologies of
[...] Read more.
The research topic of Ecopreneurship is growing and new questions emerge, whilst others remain unanswered. This paper provides an extensive literature review and aims to highlight research outputs and trends in ecopreneurship. Besides a reflection on the main features, motivations and typologies of ecopreneurs, the paper provides a focus on the relationship between agribusiness and ecopreneurship in order to outline issues that hopefully will be further investigated and extended to other businesses. By following the main trends within the academic debate, the paper provides insights into the defining the distinguishing traits of ecopreneurship when compared to traditional entrepreneurship. The author provides an overview of research issues that could be explored in the future. Full article
Open AccessReview Wine Tourism and Sustainability: A Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 113; doi:10.3390/su9010113
Received: 1 October 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
PDF Full-text (181 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The literature on tourism and events is endless; a niche in this wide research field is represented by food and wine research. The growing interest shown by wine tourists has nurtured the proliferation of wine events and the growth of the wine tourism
[...] Read more.
The literature on tourism and events is endless; a niche in this wide research field is represented by food and wine research. The growing interest shown by wine tourists has nurtured the proliferation of wine events and the growth of the wine tourism business; as a consequence, academicians’ interest in this issue has increased. At the same time, research on tourism and events is an evolving field and it has moved from a main economic focus to a broader perspective: some scholars have highlighted how the growing interest towards green and sustainable practices has stimulated academic research and a lot has been done on the management of environmental issues. Given the resonance of wine tourism and the role it has for local and rural development, the interest towards the issue of sustainability in wine is more than warranted. Thus, this paper aims to provide some useful insights about where research has gone and where it is going; a thorough literature review has been performed. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Balancing increasing demand for shea with parkland sustainability in the context of women’s land tenurial rights and managing indigenous trees
Authors: Peter N. Lovett1 Julia Bello-Bravo 2 and Anne N. Lutomia3
Affiliations: 1 Production & Supply Chain, Savannah Nutrition Ltd., 15 Guilder Lane, SP1 1HW Salisbury, UK; 2 Center for African Studies and Illinois Strategic International Partnerships, Office of the Associate Provost for International Affairs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Suite 401, MC-417, 507 E. Green Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA; 3 Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, 351 Education Center, 1310 S. 6th St., Champaign, IL 61820, USA
Abstract: Generally, local people in shea parklands not only have limited land rights but there are currently few traditions which encourage planting of indigenous trees. In addition, women farmers have limited rights to access land in order to easily collect economically-sufficient quantities of sheanuts from the parkland landscape. Customary rights and traditional construction of female access to land show how the delimitation process still asserts male control in shea parklands. This situation leaves the poorest of the poor women being forced to walk vast distances to collect and then head-pan sheanuts and fuelwood back to the household. Conversely, raising international market demand for shea coupled with increased value-addition at source (including local shea butter production, without need for industrial solvent extraction or fractionation, for any edible and cosmetic markets), could encourage protection and planting of shea and fuelwood seedlings. This is critically important across the savannah zone where it is becoming apparent that cyclical farm-fallow systems are being converted to increasingly intensive food production with limited natural options for maintaining indigenous tree species in the system. Increased permanency of farming, with mechanization and high pesticide use, not only threatens biodiversity and shea production, but also presents challenges related to female land and tree tenurial and usufruct rights. With lowering shea yields and increasingly costly fuelwood, there are growing fears for the sustainability of shea production. To connect this gap, this contribution illustrates some of the implications of raising international market demand for shea and implications on improved sustainability through empowerment of local farmers, particularly women, with increased rights to care for indigenous tree seedlings within a modernizing African farming system. An opportunity which, it is proposed, would allow women to use less of their valuable resources to collect economically viable volumes of sheanuts and fuelwood (for post-harvest processing) and ensure the shea industry can grow sustainably.

Title: Learning from secondary stakeholder claims: The roles of pressure and embeddedness in Dutch agribusiness
Author: Paul Ingenbleek and Domenico Dentoni
Abstract: In spite of much research on company CSR responses to secondary stakeholders (i.e., social movements, activists, media, civil society and non-governmental organisations), the debate on how companies learn from pressure and partnering with these societal groups is still open. Building upon stakeholder and knowledge management theories, this paper tests how pressure and embeddedness from secondary stakeholders influence firms’ absorptive capacity and their CSR strategy. Data are obtained from 152 Dutch agri-food company managers. Results highlight that, first, absorptive capacity stimulate CSR strategies in terms of new product innovation, organisational innovation and product positioning. Second, firms’ embeddedness with secondary stakeholders triggers absorptive capacity more than pressure from them. Third, stakeholder pressure and embeddedness also have direct yet weaker effects on CSR strategies. These findings corroborate the idea that firms develop innovative CSR strategies when they purposively combine partnerships with secondary stakeholders and internal reflection processes.

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Sustainability Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
E-Mail: 
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Sustainability Edit a special issue Review for Sustainability
logo
loading...
Back to Top