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Management article
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Reference no. JIBR12-05
Published by: Allied Business Academies
Originally published in: "Journal of International Business Research", 2013
Length: 10 pages

Abstract

Environmental innovation can be instrumental to business growth (Dangelico & Pujari, 2010). In addition to the 'feel good' rewards that come from creating environmentally sustainable products, the financial rewards that 'going green' can provide contribute to a successful business strategy (Gibbs, 2009; Harvey, 1996; Millard, 2011; Revell & Blackburn, 2007; Schick et al., 2002; Tilley, 1999; von Weltzien Hoivik, & Shankar, 2010). Small businesses, which often face challenges in competing with larger businesses, may find environmental innovation to be an effective and sustainable way to provide consumers with products they value. However, larger businesses may be more likely to pursue green innovation given that they often have more capital to invest. This study examines green activities among SMEs and large firms in Germany through analysis of Eurostat (2011) data regarding nine types of environmental innovations. Over 100,000 small, medium-sized and large businesses in Germany participated in a study regarding their involvement in environmental innovation. The results show that the two most commonly cited types of environmental innovation among both SMEs and large businesses were reduced energy use by the company and reduced energy use as a benefit for the end-user. Although large businesses were more likely (in terms of percentage of businesses) to participate in each type of innovative activity, small businesses were much more pervasive in terms of numbers. Helping small businesses become more green and environmentally friendly may provide greater overall benefits than other measures aimed at fewer, but larger, businesses.

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Abstract

Environmental innovation can be instrumental to business growth (Dangelico & Pujari, 2010). In addition to the 'feel good' rewards that come from creating environmentally sustainable products, the financial rewards that 'going green' can provide contribute to a successful business strategy (Gibbs, 2009; Harvey, 1996; Millard, 2011; Revell & Blackburn, 2007; Schick et al., 2002; Tilley, 1999; von Weltzien Hoivik, & Shankar, 2010). Small businesses, which often face challenges in competing with larger businesses, may find environmental innovation to be an effective and sustainable way to provide consumers with products they value. However, larger businesses may be more likely to pursue green innovation given that they often have more capital to invest. This study examines green activities among SMEs and large firms in Germany through analysis of Eurostat (2011) data regarding nine types of environmental innovations. Over 100,000 small, medium-sized and large businesses in Germany participated in a study regarding their involvement in environmental innovation. The results show that the two most commonly cited types of environmental innovation among both SMEs and large businesses were reduced energy use by the company and reduced energy use as a benefit for the end-user. Although large businesses were more likely (in terms of percentage of businesses) to participate in each type of innovative activity, small businesses were much more pervasive in terms of numbers. Helping small businesses become more green and environmentally friendly may provide greater overall benefits than other measures aimed at fewer, but larger, businesses.

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