Corporate Social Responsibility and Eco-Innovation: From an International Perspective

A special issue of Administrative Sciences (ISSN 2076-3387).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 43539

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Departamento de Administración y Economía de la Empresa, Universidad de Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain
Interests: sustainability; SDG; circular economy; strategic investors; corporate governance; diversity; disclosure; assurance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Management, Finance and Technology, LUM University, 70010 Casamassima (BA), Italy
Interests: corporate social responsibility; strategic management; corporate governance; management; accounting; management accounting; stakeholder management; managerial accounting; account management; controlling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Management, Finance and Technology, LUM University, Casamassima, Italy
Interests: corporate disclosure; integrated reporting; intellectual capital; digitalization; crowdfunding
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), innovation, and technologies are an unquestionable commitment of business to competitiveness, which allows them to correct high competition in all sectors and the fall in demand due in part to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic by COVID-19.

Although they were originally conceived as independent business differentiation strategies, companies currently develop sustainable technological innovations (STI)—i.e., eco-innovation and ecodesign—in a dynamic process of interaction of skills, routines, and resources (Teece, 2007), which translates into advantages associated with the development of inimitable, non-substitute and high value-added products (Wicki and Hansen, 2017; Tang et al., 2018) and increases in the efficiency of production processes, all of which has a positive impact on the business result, while leading to a diversification of risk (García-Sánchez et al., 2020a and 2020b).

Specifically, all these strategies can bring a number of benefits such as optimization in resource consumption, emission reduction, definition of environmental improvement strategies, increased accessibility to sustainability-sensitive markets, labor satisfaction, cost reduction, and improved relationships with institutions in order to obtain potential subsidies, increase attractiveness to investors and enhance the company’s image (Cai and Zhou, 2014). However, previous studies have not been conclusive in this regard (Cheng et al., 2014; Ghisetti and Rennings, 2014), as these strategies also have an economically dark side that can result in implementation and management costs being higher than revenue in the short term.

In this sense, it is necessary to deepen the reasons and factors that favor the adoption of these business strategies, as well as the impacts of their implementation with the aim of strengthening current academic knowledge and providing a solid foundation that guides managers of organizations on how to achieve greater sustainable and financial performance simultaneously.

We welcome all methods and approaches and consider how STI change may come about and have larger effects on business and society at large. In addition, previous literature has focused mainly on environmental technological innovations, relegating to a second place the role that technological innovation can play in improving the management of safety and health at work and in other social dimensions of business activity. Thus, we encourage the scientific community to submit their work related to the following issues, with no intention of being exclusive:

  • What we do and do not know about STI, CSR, innovation and technology;
  • Drivers of the implementations of STI and strategic CSR resulting consequences for them;
  • How the current implementation of STI and strategic CSR takes place;
  • How firms can finance these new forms of sustainable business models;
  • Technologies for Industry 4.0 related to sustainable development;
  • What is impactful, including consumer responses, with relation to STI, CSR, innovation, and technology;
  • Firms´ disclosure practices relating to STI, CSR, innovation, and technology. 

Cai, W., y Zhou, X. (2014). On the drivers of eco-innovation: empirical evidence from China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 79, 239-248.

Cheng, C., Yang, CH-L., y Sheu, CH. (2014). The link between eco-innovation and business performance: a Taiwanese industry context. Journal of Cleaner Production, 64, 81-90.

García-Sánchez, I.M., Gallego-Álvarez, I. & Zafra-Gómez, J.L. (2020a). Do the ecoinnovation and ecodesign strategies generate value added in munificent environments?. Business Strategy and the Environment, https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2414.

García-Sánchez, I.M., Aibar-Guzmán, C. & Aibar-Guzmán, B. (2020b). The effect of institutional ownership and ownership dispersion on ecoinnovation. Techological Forecasting & Social Change, 158: 120173.

Ghisetti, C., Rennings, K. (2014). Environmental innovations and profitability: how does it pay to be green? an empirical analysis on German innovation survey. Journal of Cleaner Production, 75, 106-117.

Tang, M., Walsh, G., Lerner, D., Fitza, M.A., Li, Q. (2018). Green innovation, managerial concern and firm performance: an empirical study. Business Strategy and the Environment, 27 (1), 39-51.

Teece, D.J. (2007). Explicating dynamic capabilities: the nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance. Strategic Management Journal, 28 (13), 1319-1350.

Wicki, S., Hansen, E.G. (2017). Clean energy storage technology in the making: an innovation systems perspective on flywheel energy storage. Journal of Cleaner Production. 162, 1118-1134.

Prof. Dr. Isabel-María Garcia‐Sanchez
Prof. Filippo Vitolla
Mr. Nicola Raimo
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • CSR
  • Innovation
  • Technology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 339 KiB  
Article
Eco-Efficiency and Stock Market Volatility: Emerging Markets Analysis
by Alicia Fernanda Galindo-Manrique, Esteban Pérez-Calderón and Martha del Pilar Rodríguez-García
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11020036 - 6 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3043
Abstract
Climate change, the accelerated industrialization of emerging countries, as well as the growing demand for transparency from stakeholders, are all factors that influence the environmental performance of companies. Thus, eco-efficient behavior can improve financial performance by increasing wealth generation and decreasing the volatility [...] Read more.
Climate change, the accelerated industrialization of emerging countries, as well as the growing demand for transparency from stakeholders, are all factors that influence the environmental performance of companies. Thus, eco-efficient behavior can improve financial performance by increasing wealth generation and decreasing the volatility of listed financial assets. There is a lot of previous literature showing diverse results of the effect of eco-efficiency on corporate profitability, but this is not the case when we refer to risk. This study analyzes the relationship between eco-efficient behavior and the share price volatility of companies traded in emerging markets. For this purpose, a sample of 346 companies listed in 24 countries was studied for the period between 2010 and 2017. The results show a positive effect. Thus, the recommendation is that a clear commitment to eco-efficient investment can improve the environmental impact of companies, from the private, public, and institutional spheres. Full article
15 pages, 385 KiB  
Article
Do Consumers Value Environmental Innovation in Product?
by Cristina Aibar-Guzmán and Francisco M. Somohano-Rodríguez
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11010033 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4089
Abstract
Customers are considered to be major stakeholders whose demands and preferences have a strong influence on corporate strategies. In this sense, increased consumer environmental awareness has led to a growing demand for environmentally friendly products which, in turn, has compelled firms to adopt [...] Read more.
Customers are considered to be major stakeholders whose demands and preferences have a strong influence on corporate strategies. In this sense, increased consumer environmental awareness has led to a growing demand for environmentally friendly products which, in turn, has compelled firms to adopt innovative forms of integrating environmental protection into product development and production processes. Nevertheless, an “attitude–behavior gap” has been witnessed, which implies that consumers’ environmental attitudes do not always translate into an actual ecologically compatible purchasing behavior and, consequently, eco-product innovations will not necessarily entail a positive economic impact for companies. This paper aims to analyze if the companies that invest in eco-product innovation are valued by consumers, showing higher growth. Specifically, we propose that eco-product innovation has a positive effect on a firm’s sales growth. Additionally, we aim to analyze the consumers’ preferences in relation to eco-product innovations considering two alternative approaches that companies can follow in this respect: eco-design and products with ecological use. The results obtained for an unbalanced sample of 5391 international companies corresponding to the period 2002–2017 (51,666 observations) show that proactive environmental innovation strategies are positively valued by consumers, having a positive impact on the companies’ sales growth. Furthermore, consumers show a greater preference for environmental innovations in eco-design than for products with ecological use. Full article
13 pages, 304 KiB  
Article
Family Firms and Coupling among CSR Disclosures and Performance
by Javier Parra-Domínguez, Fátima David and Tania Azevedo
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11010030 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4403
Abstract
This paper aims to analyse the behaviours related to the decoupling of the disclosed information on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability, deepening these practices’ knowledge within family businesses. For this purpose, we defined decoupling as a gap between social responsibility performance [...] Read more.
This paper aims to analyse the behaviours related to the decoupling of the disclosed information on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and corporate sustainability, deepening these practices’ knowledge within family businesses. For this purpose, we defined decoupling as a gap between social responsibility performance (internal actions) and disclosures (external actions). For a sample of 33,809 observations for the period 2011–2019, corresponding to 5029 companies, 19% being family firms, our empirical evidence supports that family firms present a less wide gap between performance and disclosure, confirming the prevalence of socioemotional wealth dimensions in the decision-making of these companies. In firms without controlled shareholders, the quality of nonfinancial reporting could be understood as ambiguous, understanding that the most useful CSR information is found in the reports of family-owned companies. Full article
19 pages, 708 KiB  
Article
Are Environmentally Innovative Companies Inclined towards Integrated Environmental Disclosure Policies?
by Isabel-María García-Sánchez, Nicola Raimo and Filippo Vitolla
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11010029 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 4141
Abstract
In recent years, the correct representation of environmental performance has become increasingly important. In light of this, in the academic field, numerous researchers have examined the level and quality of environmental disclosure. However, in the context of studies relating to the determinants of [...] Read more.
In recent years, the correct representation of environmental performance has become increasingly important. In light of this, in the academic field, numerous researchers have examined the level and quality of environmental disclosure. However, in the context of studies relating to the determinants of environmental disclosure, little attention has been paid to the role of environmental innovation. This study, in the context of voluntary disclosure theory, aims to fill this important gap through the analysis of the impact of environmental innovation on the level of integrated environmental information disclosed by companies and the analysis of environmental performance as a mediating factor in this relationship. The results show a positive relationship between environmental innovation and integrated environmental disclosure. In addition, they show that environmental performance represents a mediating factor in this relationship. However, complementary analyses show that responsible firms adopt silent strategies in their environmental integrated disclosure policies in order to limit the knowledge by external users of the different environmental actions implemented. Full article
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21 pages, 416 KiB  
Article
Is It Necessary to Centralize Power in the CEO to Ensure Environmental Innovation?
by Beatriz Aibar-Guzmán and José-Valeriano Frías-Aceituno
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11010027 - 5 Mar 2021
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 4008
Abstract
Using data from a sample of 4863 international firms corresponding to the period 2002–2017, this paper examines the role that chief executive officer (CEO) power plays in environmental innovation and the impact that these strategies have on financial performance. Both issues have been [...] Read more.
Using data from a sample of 4863 international firms corresponding to the period 2002–2017, this paper examines the role that chief executive officer (CEO) power plays in environmental innovation and the impact that these strategies have on financial performance. Both issues have been the subject of considerable debate in the literature, with opposite views and contradictory findings. The results indicate that investing in environmental innovations related to the use of clean technologies, ecological production processes, and the design, manufacture and commercialization of environmentally sustainable products requires that CEOs have a greater degree of power in order to support projects that do not entail a higher return in the short and medium terms. Additionally, the results show that the negative economic effect of eco-innovation reverses in the fourth and fifth years after environmental innovations were implemented. Thus, this study supports the view regarding a “bright side” of CEO power with regard to corporate sustainability. Full article

Review

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19 pages, 2478 KiB  
Review
The Role of Top Managers in Implementing Corporate Sustainability—A Systematic Literature Review on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
by Jannika Kutzschbach, Parvina Tanikulova and Rainer Lueg
Adm. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci11020044 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5086
Abstract
This systematic literature review investigates whether corporate sustainability (CS), according to the triple bottom line concept (TBL), is implemented in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and further identifies associated drivers. Building on upper echelon theory (UET) and the Schwartz value system (SVS) this [...] Read more.
This systematic literature review investigates whether corporate sustainability (CS), according to the triple bottom line concept (TBL), is implemented in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and further identifies associated drivers. Building on upper echelon theory (UET) and the Schwartz value system (SVS) this study aims to analyze and contextualize extant empirical research. We developed a PRISMA-based framework to select relevant studies systematically. Based on an initial sample of 1249 articles between 2000 and 2020, we provide critical analysis of 31 best practice, peer-reviewed journal articles. Our findings suggest seven specifications of CS in SMEs that are driven by either internal or external motivations. Our review reveals that, overwhelmingly, SMEs engage in CS but fail to report it (“green blushing”). Furthermore, we find that the top managers of SMEs are a huge driver of CS. Oftentimes, they are even pioneers of good social and environmental practices. Finally, we identify four value dimensions (benevolence, achievement, power, and conformity values) according to the dimensions of the SVS that drive SMEs’ top managers’ engagement in CS. We contribute to the current state of research by conducting the first literature review that exclusively investigates how SMEs’ executives influence the enterprise’s commitment towards CS, based on the UET and the SVS. Thereby, we discuss implications and provide valuable recommendations for researchers, practitioners, and regulators alike. Full article
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19 pages, 474 KiB  
Review
Where Does CSR Come from and Where Does It Go? A Review of the State of the Art
by Sara Rodriguez-Gomez, Maria Lourdes Arco-Castro, Maria Victoria Lopez-Perez and Lazaro Rodríguez-Ariza
Adm. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci10030060 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 17329
Abstract
It can be said that business ethics are integrated into companies through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which cannot be defined in a single way, nor has its concept remained unchanged since its appearance in the business world. The contributions made in the field [...] Read more.
It can be said that business ethics are integrated into companies through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which cannot be defined in a single way, nor has its concept remained unchanged since its appearance in the business world. The contributions made in the field of research have been evolving towards models and theories that are more in line with principles that consider a plurality of stakeholders, from utilitarian or shareholder-centered approaches to others that are more integrative; the consideration of the demands and requirements of stakeholders, and the institutional drive through the establishment of regulatory frameworks aimed at providing conceptual frameworks of reference and indicators that make it possible to manage and make decisions taking into account the ethical dimension of problems or conflicts, are decisive. In this area, the objectives of sustainable development as part of Agenda 2030 are particularly relevant and are providing a boost to innovations aimed at improving the environment and the rational use of resources. This paper attempts to gather the main conceptual contributions on the situation and evolution of CSR, providing insights regarding future CSR studies, its objectives, and goals which, together with the interests and positions of the stakeholders from different perspectives, raises the possibility of analyzing CSR from different points of view, giving rise to different theories that try to serve as a framework for the study of CSR. Full article
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