Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Innovation: Categories and Interactions

The purpose of this paper is to propose a framework to position sustainable entrepreneurship in relation to sustainability innovation. The framework builds on a typology of sustainable entrepreneurship, develops it by including social and institutional entrepreneurship, i.e. the application of the entrepreneurial approach towards meeting societal goals and towards changing market contexts, and relates it to sustainability innovation. The framework provides a reference for managers to introduce sustainability innovation and to pursue sustainable entrepreneurship. Methodologically, the paper develops an approach of qualitative measurement of sustainable entrepreneurship and how to assess the position of a company in a classifi cation matrix. The degree of environmental or social responsibility orientation in the company is assessed on the basis of environmental and social goals and policies, the organization of environmental and social management in the company and the communication of environmental and social issues. The market impact of the company is measured on the basis of market share, sales growth and reactions of competitors. The paper fi nds conditions under which sustainable entrepreneurship and sustainability innovation emerge spontaneously. The research has implications for theory and practitioners in that it clarifi es which fi rms are most likely under specifi c conditions to make moves towards sustainability innovation. The paper makes a contribution in showing that extant research needs to be expanded with regard to motivations for innovation and that earlier models of sustainable entrepreneurship need to be refined.