Supply chain collaboration and eco-innovations: An institutional perspective from China

Peter S. Hofman, Constantin Blome, Martin C. Schleper, Nachiappan Subramanian (2020), Business Strategy and the Environment, 29(6): 2734-2754

This study explores the impact of supply chain collaboration on eco-innovations in the context of 220 Chinese manufacturing supplier firms involved in global supply chain networks. It investigates how supplier and customer collaborations help firms to enhance product eco-innovations, and/or process eco-innovations, and how the institutional context (i.e., regulatory, market, and community pressures) influences these relationships. The structural equation modeling approach is used to analyze the data captured from medium and large manufacturing enterprises in three major sectors: automotive, electronics, and textiles. The results show that community pressure has a positive effect on supplier collaboration, which further leads to enhanced process eco-innovation. On the other hand, the findings indicate that while market pressure enhances customer collaboration, this does not reinforce product eco-innovation. Contrary to our expectation, regulatory pressures do not impact supplier or customer collaboration for innovation. Overall, different institutional factors indicate divergent effects on supply chain collaboration and product/process eco-innovation. The importance of normative pressures, such as those applied through the local community and interest groups, for eco-innovations in production processes is further discussed as a typical feature of the institutional environment of Chinese supplier firms.

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