Success factors for environmentally sustainable product innovation: a systematic literature review

The growing awareness regarding environmental sustainability has fully reached business reality. Consumers and companies alike are looking for alternatives to mitigate pressing environmental demands resulting from continuous population and economic growth. On the other hand, companies must deal with an increasingly competitive scenario where innovation is regarded as a survival need in most markets. It is thus clear that systematic academic research is paramount to guide companies to succeed in environmentally sustainable product innovation. In this context, this paper (i) consolidate extant research and aggregate findings of different studies on environmentally sustainable product innovation through an interpretative framework of published literature on the topic, and (ii) map critical success factors that drive the success of product innovation developed in this new logic of production and consumption. To achieve these objectives, a systematic literature review on environmentally sustainable product innovation was conducted. Results show that there are four main critical success factors for environmentally sustainable product innovation: market, law and regulation knowledge; interfunctional collaboration; innovation-oriented learning; and R&D investments. The factors identified in this research and corresponding variables were subjected to a brief empirical test by professionals. The test allowed a preliminary approval of the developed framework and identification of the most important variables within each factor. A research agenda based on the state-of-the-art on the topic is also proposed.