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Collaboration beyond the supply network for green innovation: insight from 11 cases

Lisa Melander (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Ala Pazirandeh (Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 8 May 2019

Issue publication date: 11 June 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the how, why, who and what of collaborations in green innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on 11 case studies conducted at high-technological firms where 30 top management representatives were interviewed.

Findings

The study shows that firms share knowledge on green innovation across industries through horizontal collaborations and their extended network, such as their suppliers’ and customer’s networks in other industries. The results also show that digitalization, connectivity and big data are considered important vessels to improve environmental sustainability, as firms believe that these technologies will result in large gains related to resource utilization. Finally, the firms in this study engaged to a wide extent in green innovation activities, which resulted in a variety of improved resource utilization related to energy efficiency, new materials, new technologies, limiting emissions and recycle management.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to the literature by showing that firms share knowledge on green innovation not only within their network but also across industries through horizontal collaborations and their extended network.

Practical implications

The study points to the complexity of collaborating on green innovation. The authors show the importance of digitalization to improving environmental sustainability, with managers needing to develop business models and finding collaboration partners that can facilitate the transformation towards more connected products and services.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the field of supply network collaboration by studying how firms collaborate to improve environmental sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Melander, L. and Pazirandeh, A. (2019), "Collaboration beyond the supply network for green innovation: insight from 11 cases", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 509-523. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCM-08-2018-0285

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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