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Sustainability as a driver for innovation – towards a model of corporate social entrepreneurship at Odebrecht in Brazil

Heiko Spitzeck (Professor at Núcleo de Sustentabilidade, Fundação Dom Cabral, São Paulo, Brazil)
Claudio Boechat (Professor at Núcleo de Sustentabilidade, Fundação Dom Cabral, São Paulo, Brazil)
Sérgio França Leão (based at Odebrecht, São Paulo, Brazil)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 14 October 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a model of corporate social entrepreneurship. The case of Odebrecht demonstrates how companies are using society's sustainability challenges to innovate, in particular by adopting a corporate social entrepreneurship approach that allows the company to differentiate from competitors and create shared value.

Design/methodology/approach

This research applies a comparative case study design in combination with a review of the literature in order to present a model of corporate social entrepreneurship.

Findings

The case study of two major projects within the Odebrecht group allows us to design a model of corporate social entrepreneurship explaining how the company transforms external triggers such as socio-environmental risks into sustainability innovations, creating competitive advantages.

Research limitations/implications

The two case studies provide some evidence of how companies blend sustainability and innovation within corporate social entrepreneurship strategies. More research is needed in order to refine the patterns and components of the corporate social entrepreneurship model.

Practical implications

Integrating sustainability into the innovation process allows Odebrecht to differentiate itself from competitors and have meaningful engagement with stakeholders. This helps the company to grow, especially in developing economy markets, which face similar sustainability challenges as Latin America.

Originality/value

The combination of corporate entrepreneurship models and these case studies of sustainability innovation helps to create a model of corporate social entrepreneurship explaining how companies can transform external sustainability challenges into shared value creation.

Keywords

Citation

Spitzeck, H., Boechat, C. and França Leão, S. (2013), "Sustainability as a driver for innovation – towards a model of corporate social entrepreneurship at Odebrecht in Brazil", Corporate Governance, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 613-625. https://doi.org/10.1108/CG-06-2013-0080

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited