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Why food companies go green? The determinant factors to adopt eco-innovations

Marilia Bonzanini Bossle (Department of Business Administration, UNISINOS, São Leopoldo, Brazil AND Department of Business Administration, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Marcia Dutra De Barcellos (Department of Management, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Luciana Marques Vieira (Department of Business Administration, UNISINOS, São Leopoldo, Brazil)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 6 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to analyse how internal and external factors can influence on the adoption of eco-innovation by food companies. Although innovation and sustainability are relevant concepts, they are not being considered together in the literature. Hereof, eco-innovation encloses both approaches.


A survey with 581 Brazilian companies was conducted. The structure of influential internal and external factors was analysed by an exploratory factor analysis, and the relations between groups of variables identified in the study were verified through regression analysis. Environmental capability, environmental managerial concern and human resources were internal factors investigated in this study, and regulatory and normative pressures, cooperation and government support were the external factors.


Human resources was the most important internal factor, followed by environmental managerial concern and environmental capability. Collaboration was the most important external factor, followed by normative pressures and environmental regulations, while government support was seen as deficient. Companies stated that these factors were important to adopt environmental practices and increase performance.

Practical implications

Understanding why food companies adopt eco-innovation will help policy makers to develop specific actions to promote eco-innovations. For managers, it can be a relevant tool to identify which factors to invest, if the company is eco-strategizing. Hiring committed staff, top management green consciousness and collaboration with key stakeholders can boost sustainability.


This study brings an innovative approach with robust theoretical support in a comprehensive conceptual model, gathering and investigating all relevant internal and external factors in the literature. Those factors are used in an integrated way in the final model for the empirical investigation, while the literature generally emphasizes only external factors.



Bossle, M.B., De Barcellos, M.D. and Vieira, L.M. (2016), "Why food companies go green? The determinant factors to adopt eco-innovations", British Food Journal, Vol. 118 No. 6, pp. 1317-1333.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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