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Open AccessArticle

Drivers for the Adoption of Eco-Innovations in the German Fertilizer Supply Chain

University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, Am Krümpel 31, Osnabrück 49090, Germany
Management Studies Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen 6706 KN, The Netherlands
Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 174, Bonn 53115, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Beatriz Junquera
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 682;
Received: 27 May 2016 / Revised: 11 July 2016 / Accepted: 11 July 2016 / Published: 28 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-innovation and Competitiveness)
Use of fertilizers has enabled a massive increase in crop production yields. However, this has come with severe negative externalities (e.g., greenhouse gas emission; eutrophication of non-agricultural ecosystems). Eco-innovations are one option to reduce the environmental impact of fertilizers without compromising fertilizer productivity. Although numerous eco-innovations in the domain of fertilizers are available, they have not yet seen a sufficient adoption rate. In this paper we explore main drivers for adoption of eco-innovations in the German fertilizer supply chain based on empirical investigations at three levels of the fertilizer supply chain: producers, traders, and farmers. We strive to take a “chain perspective” on environmental concerns and knowledge of fertilizer specific eco-innovations. The study was carried out in two steps: initially we conducted exploratory expert interviews with eight actors of the fertilizer supply chain. The statements generated thereby fed into a questionnaire answered by 57 participants stemming from fertilizer production (n = 12), traders (n = 34) and farmers (n = 11) level. Findings suggest that drivers for eco-innovations are perceived differently by the various actors in the fertilizer supply chain. Overall knowledge on eco-innovations decreases downstream the chain. By taking a chain perspective on the adoption of eco-innovation, our paper contributes to the emerging body of literature on drivers for eco-innovation, and also maps out managerial implications of fostering the implementation of eco-innovations in the fertilizer supply chain. View Full-Text
Keywords: innovation adoption; innovation network; knowledge exchange; innovation system thinking innovation adoption; innovation network; knowledge exchange; innovation system thinking
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Hasler, K.; Olfs, H.-W.; Omta, O.; Bröring, S. Drivers for the Adoption of Eco-Innovations in the German Fertilizer Supply Chain. Sustainability 2016, 8, 682.

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