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Call for Papers: Sustainability-oriented innovation in agri-food systems

  • 1.  Call for Papers: Sustainability-oriented innovation in agri-food systems

    Posted 28 days ago

    Dear ENT colleagues,

    On behalf of my co-editors and I, we are delighted to share with you our Call for Papers for a Special Issue on "Sustainability-oriented innovation in agri-food systems" in the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change (AJG 3). In particular, for an ENT audience, we hope to receive papers focused on exploring how agri-food start-ups can tap on the unexplored opportunities generated by the challenges of sustainable development, leveraging on new forms of sustainable business models (Bocken et al. 2014), but also how new entrants may act to change the behavior of incumbents (Hockerts & Wüstenhagen 2010). Below is a brief(ish) summary of our CfP.

    The aim of our SI is to examine how the agri-food industry is and could respond to the grand challenges of sustainability, where the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (Brundtland Commission 1987). In particular we interested in exploring how agri-food companies implement sustainability-oriented innovations (SOIs) i.e. intentional changes to their philosophy and values, as well as to their products, processes or practices to serve the specific purpose of creating and realizing social and environmental value in addition to economic returns (Adams et al. 2016).

    We hope to mobilize scholarly work examining how the agri-food industry from incumbents to start-ups can minimize the adverse environmental and social impacts of the foods sector while maintaining economic sustainability through different forms of SOIs. We strongly encourage scholars to bridge disciplinary boundaries as a means of tackling the systemic and complex nature of the problems the industry faces. We thus hope that scholars consider how systemic change comes about for example by considering:

    • How agri-food start-ups can tap on the unexplored opportunities generated by the challenges of sustainable development, leveraging on new forms of sustainable business models (Bocken et al. 2014);
    • How agri-food firms can build upon novel forms of collaborations to solve urgent sustainable challenges (i.e. food loss and waste) but also to co-create sustainable value, involving supply chain partners (i.e., customers and suppliers) (Klewitz & Hansen 2014; González-Moreno et al. 2019), but also sustainable start-ups, NGOs, Third Sector organizations.
    • How start-ups and incumbents can act as agents of change independently (Pogutz & Winn 2016; Sengers et al. 2019), but also how new entrants may act to change the behaviour of incumbents (Hockerts & Wüstenhagen 2010).
    • How open innovation approaches (Saguy & Sirotinskaya 2014; González-Moreno et al. 2019) such as crowdfunding (Testa, Roma, et al. 2019; Testa, Nielsen, et al. 2019) and crowdsourcing (Soon & Saguy 2017), as well as practices of bricolage (Garuda & Karnøe 2003), may represent sources of significant SOIs.
    • How intermediary actors such as schools, hospitals, and workplaces as handlers of large volumes of food may become a focal point for interventions aimed at developing SOIs that aim at promoting new sustainable eating habits (Goggins 2018).
    • What are impactful, but more importantly, malleable consumer practices with relation to food that could be changed through tailored interventions (Vermeir & Verbeke 2006) and what are the most effective interventions (Choudhary et al. 2019).

    These are but a few of the options available to prospective authors and we welcome all methods and approaches if they maintain a high level of academic rigor and consider how systematic change may come about and have larger effects on the environment and the society at large. We are open to all methods including qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods as well as conceptual, theoretical, and literature review papers if they advance the field in significant ways.

    Deadline for the submission of contributions: 15th July 2020

    Guest Editors: Stefania Testa (University of Genoa), Kristian Roed Nielsen (Copenhagen Business School), Steen Vallentin (Copenhagen Business School), Federica Ciccullo (Politecnico of Milano).


    Adams, R. et al., 2016. Sustainability-oriented Innovation: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 18(2), pp.180–205.

    Bocken, N.M.P. et al., 2014. A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes. Journal of Cleaner Production, 65, pp.42–56. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652613008032.

    Brundtland Commission, 1987. Brundtland Report: Our Common Future, WCED: World Commission on the Environment and Development.

    Choudhary, S. et al., 2019. Analysing acculturation to sustainable food consumption behaviour in the social media through the lens of information diffusion. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145, pp.481–492. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162517317225.

    Garuda, R. & Karnøe, P., 2003. Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded agency in technology entrepreneurship. Research Policy, 32(2), pp.277–300. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733302001002.

    Goggins, G., 2018. Developing a sustainable food strategy for large organizations: The importance of context in shaping procurement and consumption practices. Business Strategy and the Environment, 27(7), pp.838–848. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2035.

    González-Moreno, Á., Triguero, Á. & Sáez-Martínez, F.J., 2019. Many or trusted partners for eco-innovation? The influence of breadth and depth of firms' knowledge network in the food sector. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 147, pp.51–62. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162518310291.

    Hockerts, K. & Wüstenhagen, R., 2010. Greening Goliaths versus emerging Davids - Theorizing about the role of incumbents and new entrants in sustainable entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(5), pp.481–492. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883902609000810.

    Klewitz, J. & Hansen, E.G., 2014. Sustainability-oriented innovation of SMEs: a systematic review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 65(0), pp.57–75. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652613004782.

    Pogutz, S. & Winn, M.I., 2016. Cultivating Ecological Knowledge for Corporate Sustainability: Barilla's Innovative Approach to Sustainable Farming. Business Strategy and the Environment, 25(6), pp.435–448. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.1916.

    Saguy, I.S. & Sirotinskaya, V., 2014. Challenges in exploiting open innovation's full potential in the food industry with a focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Trends in Food Science & Technology, 38(2), pp.136–148. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924224414001216.

    Sengers, F., Wieczorek, A.J. & Raven, R., 2019. Experimenting for sustainability transitions: A systematic literature review. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 145, pp.153–164. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162516302530.

    Soon, J.M. & Saguy, I.S., 2017. Crowdsourcing: A new conceptual view for food safety and quality. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 66, pp.63–72. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092422441730081X.

    Testa, S., Roma, P., et al., 2019. Crowdfunding as a tool to support sustainability-oriented initiatives: Preliminary insights into the role of product/service attributes. Business Strategy and the Environment, 0(2), pp.530–546. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2385.

    Testa, S., Nielsen, K.R., et al., 2019. The role of crowdfunding in moving towards a sustainable society. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 141, pp.66–73. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004016251831953X.

    Vermeir, I. & Verbeke, W., 2006. Sustainable food consumption: Exploring the consumer "attitude–behavioral intention" gap. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental ethics, 19(2), pp.169–194.


    Kristian Nielsen
    Assistant Professor
    Copenhagen Business School