Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 10: Firms, institutions and politics: the role of corporate political activity in sustainable innovation

Jonatan Pinkse

Abstract

A distinctive characteristic of sustainable innovation distinct is its political nature. The institutional context in which firms seek to innovate has a strong influence on the outcome of the innovation process. This chapter focuses on the role of firms’ strategizing in relation to the political dimension of sustainable innovation. Basing itself in the management literature that takes a strategic perspective to corporate sustainability, it analyses firms’ capabilities in lobbying governments to either push or impede the development and commercialization of sustainable technologies. It addresses the question of how firms use corporate political activity to manage the complex institutional landscape around sustainable technologies. Conceptually, the chapter builds on a dual view on government institutions that emphasizes the enabling and constraining influence of institutions on firm behaviour. Adopting this view, it analyses how firms strategically leverage government support as well as manage to influence the policymaking process through corporate political action.

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