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Drivers for the Adoption of Eco-Innovations in the German Fertilizer Supply Chain

Kathrin Hasler (), Hans-Werner Olfs (), Onno Omta () and Stefanie Bröring ()
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Kathrin Hasler: University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, Am Krümpel 31, Osnabrück 49090, Germany
Hans-Werner Olfs: University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück, Am Krümpel 31, Osnabrück 49090, Germany
Onno Omta: Management Studies Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, Wageningen 6706 KN, The Netherlands
Stefanie Bröring: Institute for Food and Resource Economics, University of Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 174, Bonn 53115, Germany

Sustainability, 2016, vol. 8, issue 8, 1-18

Abstract: Use of fertilizers has enabled a massive increase in crop production yields. However, this has come with severe negative externalities (e.g., greenhouse gas emission; eutrophication of non-agricultural ecosystems). Eco-innovations are one option to reduce the environmental impact of fertilizers without compromising fertilizer productivity. Although numerous eco-innovations in the domain of fertilizers are available, they have not yet seen a sufficient adoption rate. In this paper we explore main drivers for adoption of eco-innovations in the German fertilizer supply chain based on empirical investigations at three levels of the fertilizer supply chain: producers, traders, and farmers. We strive to take a “chain perspective” on environmental concerns and knowledge of fertilizer specific eco-innovations. The study was carried out in two steps: initially we conducted exploratory expert interviews with eight actors of the fertilizer supply chain. The statements generated thereby fed into a questionnaire answered by 57 participants stemming from fertilizer production ( n = 12), traders ( n = 34) and farmers ( n = 11) level. Findings suggest that drivers for eco-innovations are perceived differently by the various actors in the fertilizer supply chain. Overall knowledge on eco-innovations decreases downstream the chain. By taking a chain perspective on the adoption of eco-innovation, our paper contributes to the emerging body of literature on drivers for eco-innovation, and also maps out managerial implications of fostering the implementation of eco-innovations in the fertilizer supply chain.

Keywords: innovation adoption; innovation network; knowledge exchange; innovation system thinking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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