The paradoxical tensions in corporate sustainability is hotly debated in the literature. Some authors have underlined the need for empirical works in this field, and the circular economy could help to bridge this gap. The circular economy creates contrasting challenges for companies, which lead to paradoxical tensions. On the one hand, companies pursue circular economy goals—such as the use of recycled raw materials—thus highlighting their environmental commitment. On the other hand, such usage may affect the quality and consequently the competitiveness of products. Our study investigates the acknowledgement of these tensions and the strategies adopted by companies to manage them. Using a multiple case study approach, we focus on an Italian sample of three manufacturing sectors: paper production, textile/clothing, and leather. The results show the different defensive and proactive strategies adopted by firms highlighting, in one case, a relevant opportunity exploited by a company considered in the sample. Our paper contributes to the existing knowledge on paradoxical tensions management in companies involved in corporate sustainability inviting scholars towards new research avenues focused on circular economy.

Paradoxical tensions and corporate sustainability: A focus on circular economy business cases

Tiberio Daddi
;
BIANCHI, GUIA;
2019-01-01

Abstract

The paradoxical tensions in corporate sustainability is hotly debated in the literature. Some authors have underlined the need for empirical works in this field, and the circular economy could help to bridge this gap. The circular economy creates contrasting challenges for companies, which lead to paradoxical tensions. On the one hand, companies pursue circular economy goals—such as the use of recycled raw materials—thus highlighting their environmental commitment. On the other hand, such usage may affect the quality and consequently the competitiveness of products. Our study investigates the acknowledgement of these tensions and the strategies adopted by companies to manage them. Using a multiple case study approach, we focus on an Italian sample of three manufacturing sectors: paper production, textile/clothing, and leather. The results show the different defensive and proactive strategies adopted by firms highlighting, in one case, a relevant opportunity exploited by a company considered in the sample. Our paper contributes to the existing knowledge on paradoxical tensions management in companies involved in corporate sustainability inviting scholars towards new research avenues focused on circular economy.
2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11382/526393
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