Sustainable innovation through management systems integration

Highlights

• Adopting cleaner production technologies fosters sustainable product innovation.
• MSs integration fosters the adoption of cleaner production technologies.
• MSs integration does not influence sustainable product innovation.
• No significant differences are found between Latin-American and European firms.

Abstract
In an increasingly competitive world driven by fast changes, companies are challenged to pursue sustainable development through innovation. This matter has led to the discussion about how organizations manage to innovate in a way that they meet the demands of sustainability. Recently, researchers have identified the integration of management systems (IMS) as a potential practice to support both innovation and sustainability. This research aims to contribute to this field by exploring the relationship between IMS and sustainable innovation. European and Latin-American countries are included to contribute to the still scarce empirical evidence analyzing developed and less developed countries. Results suggest that IMS provides the managerial support to foster the adoption of cleaner production technologies. The latter is of particular relevance towards the development of sustainable products that deal with the technical, environmental and social impacts of new products. However, the role of IMS towards sustainable product innovation is not significant. Moreover, no significant differences in terms of sustainable innovations are evidenced among candle manufacturers in Europe and Latin-America. Bigger companies are found more innovative in terms of the adoption of cleaner production technologies, but no significant differences are observed in terms of sustainable product innovation. All in all, this is one of the first articles to relate IMS, the adoption of cleaner production technologies and sustainable product innovation studying a sample of companies allocated in countries of diverse economic backgrounds.

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