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Non-profits and the environment in China: struggling to expand their franchise

Yi Xie (Rennes School of Business, Rennes, France)
Yan Meng (Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France)
Jie Xiong (Rennes School of Business, Rennes, France)
Lu Xu (Rennes School of Business, Rennes, France)
Jie Yan (Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 19 June 2020

Issue publication date: 7 July 2021




Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs), one of the major forces in environmental protection, have developed rapidly in the past few years, especially in developing countries such as China. This paper aims to reveal how the ENGOs select their focuses, specifically if they only concentrate on one focus or on contexts in which they obtain various focuses and the motivations behind their choosing strategies.


The current research interviewed 103 leaders of ENGOs covering every province in mainland China and adopts existing theories of NGOs alongside diversification strategy from a management perspective.


The results showed that most Chinese ENGOs now tend to be diversified but face different challenges. This research highlights the importance of ENGOs’ resources and capacities in facing current challenges and suggests directions to improve their diversification strategy.


This research adds value to the research of environmental NGOs and gives suggestions to environmental NGO practitioners, in particular to those in emerging markets.



This research was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (#71772142).Conflict of interest statement: Hereby, we confirm that our submission does not have any actual or potential conflict of interest including any financial, personal or other relationships with other people or organizations within three years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence or be perceived to influence, our work.


Xie, Y., Meng, Y., Xiong, J., Xu, L. and Yan, J. (2021), "Non-profits and the environment in China: struggling to expand their franchise", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 257-267.



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