Special Issue "Product-Service Innovation as a Springboard for Enhancing Sustainable Manufacturing Systems: Challenges & Opportunities for Sustainable Development in Manufacturing Enterprises"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marco Opazo Basáez

Guest Editor
Deusto Business School, University of Deusto, Spain
Interests: Product-service innovation; Digitalization; Information technologies; Sustainability
Dr. Ferran Vendrell-Herrero

Guest Editor
Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, UK
Interests: Product-service innovation; Digitization; SMEs-LSEs internationalization; Sustainability
Dr. Lorea Narvaiza Cantin

Guest Editor
Deusto Business School, University of Deusto, Spain
Interests: Product-service innovation; Corporate social responsibility; Territorial competitiveness; Sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Competitive strategies that exclusively focus on the simplistic linear notion of production (design ⇒ manufacture ⇒ use ⇒ disposal) based on the consumption of critical resources are no longer viable in today's manufacturing settings. The 21st century's global business landscape calls for companies to integrate environmental considerations in all aspects of business operations to ensure sustainable and environmentally friendly processes and products. A shift towards more innovation-based business models that permit companies to enhance competitiveness along with sustainability impacts on the economy, society, and the environment is increasingly required. Such a transition, however, is already underway, led by the adoption of servitized strategies that contemplate the integration of differentiated services into manufacturing offerings as a means to innovate in manufacturing contexts, which is a phenomenon described as product–service innovation (PSI).

With only partial results to date, deeper insight is needed into how can PSI provide environmentally friendly operations mechanisms that are specifically tailored to meet sustainability challenges in manufacturing contexts. While previous research in product-based firms suggests that service provision stands to provide a wide range of benefits in terms of recycling (through circularity of resources), optimized stock levels (due to better demand forecasts), extended product lifespan (by extending product usage), and improved product performance (by integrating experiential information), scholarly interest in PSI’s broader effects is relatively recent and requires further investigation that may provide a better understanding of PSI’s entire scope in sustainable business development. Accordingly, the purpose of this Special Issue is to start addressing this important gap in the sustainable business research.

Covered topics will include the identification of pivotal PSI factors for promoting innovative ways to develop sustainable production systems, such as Knowledge/Talent, Strategy, Marketing, Operations, Technology capacity, Territory, Sector/Industry, that are related to intra-organizational and/or inter-organizational collaboration, partners, customers, and/or KIBS, as well as tools or frameworks for developing, assessing, implementing, and governing sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing solutions. Exchanges between the aforementioned fields, and joint and cross-cutting works, are also encouraged.

We welcome conceptual and empirical (including case studies) papers that use qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methodologies.

A special session on the Special Issue will be held during the 9th International Conference on Business Servitization (ICBS 2020). The ICBS is an annual international conference for academics and research-oriented practitioners devoted to all areas of Servitization and Product–Service Innovation in industry. The ICBS (www.servitization.org) is one of the leading international conferences for presenting novel and fundamental advances in the field of Servitization. The special session will be chaired by the guest editors, and will be aimed at identifying studies suitable for this Special Issue. Researchers are welcome to present their work and discuss their ideas with the guest editors. Presentation at the special session does not guarantee acceptance of the paper for publication, and attendance at ICBS 2020 is not a precondition for acceptance in the Special Issue.

Dr. Marco Opazo Basáez
Dr. Ferran Vendrell-Herrero
Dr. Lorea Narvaiza Cantin
Guest Editors


  1. Bustinza, O. F., Gomes, E., Vendrell‐Herrero, F., & Baines, T. (2019). Product–service innovation and performance: the role of collaborative partnerships and R&D intensity. R&D Management, 49(1), 33-45.
  2. Bustinza, O. F., Vendrell-Herrero, F., Gomes, E., Lafuente, E., Opazo-Basáez, M., Rabetino, R., & Vaillant, Y. (2018). Product-service innovation and performance. International journal of business environment, 10(2), 95-111.
  3. Opazo-Basáez, M., Vendrell-Herrero, F., & Bustinza, O. (2018). Uncovering productivity gains of digital and green servitization: implications from the automotive industry. Sustainability, 10(5), 1524.
  4. Hojnik, J. (2018). Ecological modernization through servitization: EU regulatory support for sustainable product–service systems. Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 27(2), 162-175. 
  5. Tukker, A. (2015). Product services for a resource-efficient and circular economy–a review. Journal of cleaner production, 97, 76-91.
  6. Spring, M., & Araujo, L. (2017). Product biographies in servitization and the circular economy. Industrial Marketing Management, 60, 126-137.

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 semimonthly 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 1800 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.


  • product end-of-life (EoL) strategy (reuse, repair, reconditioning, remanufacture, and recycling)
  • product lifespan approach (reduced vs. extended life cycles)
  • product life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • product stewardship
  • operations strategy (market push vs. market pull)
  • production system (make-to-stock vs. make-to-order)
  • resource efficiency (renewable and non-renewable)
  • companies' sustainable transition (including large firms and SMEs)
  • reduction of manufacturing/plants environmental impacts (emissions, waste, and/or hazardous materials)
  • process, product, and/or functional upgrading aimed at sustainable outcomes
  • environmental management practices

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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