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Innovations for sustainability in the roll-out of the Sustainable Development Goals
Ana Bellostas, Cristina del Río, Karen González-Álvarez, Francisco J. López-Arceiz
Companies have been adapting their strategic decisions in order to align with Sustainable Development Goals since 2015. A motivation for companies to align their strategic decisions with Sustainable Development Goals is to gain legitimacy among supranational organizations, governments, and civil society. Some demonstrate the strength of their commitment to these goals by investing in innovations designed to boost their organizational performance; while others turn to greenwashing in a bid to maintain profits. Investing in sustainability innovations has become a key manifestation of firms’ commitment to Sustainable Development. This study aims to analyse the interaction between sustainability commitment, innovations for sustainability and organizational performance. A sample of 3,420 companies for the period 2015 to 2020 is used to test two working hypotheses. Despite the significant gains it brings in terms of sustainability performance, the results show that investing in innovation for sustainability carries the risk of short-term losses. This has several implications. Some companies may subscribe to Sustainable Development Goals in their pursuit of legitimacy rather than out of true commitment. However, actual engagement in innovation for sustainability can attract potential investors, and, in our view, should be encouraged by politicians and lawmakers.
KeyWords: Sustainable Development Goals, Legitimacy, Innovations for sustainability, Organizational performance
DOI: 10.5295/cdg.221794fl
Bibliographic: Bellostas, A., del Río, C., González-Álvarez, K., & López-Arceiz, F.J. (2023). Innovations for sustainability in the roll-out of the Sustainable Development Goals. Cuadernos de Gestión, 2023-06-20.
JEL Classification: M14, G30

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