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Improving Firms’ Performance and Sustainability: The Case of Eco-Innovation in the Agri-Food Industry

Adrián Rabadán (), Ángela González-Moreno () and Francisco J. Sáez-Martínez ()
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Adrián Rabadán: Higher Technical School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering, University of Castilla-La Mancha, 02071 Albacete, Spain
Ángela González-Moreno: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Castilla-La Mancha, 02071 Albacete, Spain
Francisco J. Sáez-Martínez: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Castilla-La Mancha, 02071 Albacete, Spain

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 20, 1-16

Abstract: Companies’ environmental responsibility has significantly increased in the last decade. However, the question about the benefits that this responsible decision has on the company’s performance in the market remains. In this scenario, the main goal of this study is to analyze the conditions that improve the performance of companies in the agri-food industry, paying specific attention to technological eco-innovation and different types of cooperation (in the use and in the development of eco-innovations). Our initial sample contains data of agri-food companies operating in Spain. The Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) has been used as a new path for the analysis of firm’s data. Company performance has been considered by using a construct including three variables (increase in the sales, company profitability and cost reduction). Results show that the conditions that largely benefit company performance are R&D spending and the development of technological eco-innovation. Cooperation in the development and use of eco-innovations are especially important for the smaller companies, with the larger companies in the sector relying both in cooperation and in their own resources. The different recipes which improve the performance, as well as the sustainability of the sector, are presented in this study.

Keywords: Eco-innovation; QCA; Agri-food; R&D; cooperation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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