Companies in competitive industries are more innovative at recycling

As the level of competition increases, companies become more innovative with their methods of recycling, according to new research by BI Norwegian Business School.

The study, conducted by Associate Professor Bente Flygansvær, Professor Robert Dahlstrøm and Professor Arne Nygaard, revealed that competition promotes sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship. This innovation grows out of the pressure and challenges embedded within a competitive situation.

As there has been an exponential growth of new electronic products in the global consumer market, there’s a growing need for new methods, processes, and entrepreneurship in recycling.
This means that entrepreneurship and innovation are more important than ever as they are crucial to improve the handling of toxic material, processing technology to reuse valuable elements, and are essential to facilitate a sustainable recycling process.

“We analysed entrepreneurial innovation in the light of the organisational structure of the recycling system, and found competition and specific investments are important factors that drive the sustainable innovation that make Norway one of the countries with the highest recycling rates of electronic and electric waste,” says Professor Flygansvær.
Furthermore, the study highlights that innovation can also be achieved through investment in technology and knowledge, which is crucial for economic growth and protecting the environment.

“Our findings indicate that a combination of knowledge-driven strategy and competitive intensity impacts innovation in recycling, therefore, both internal and external forces influence entrepreneurial strategies. It’s important that we understand the motivations behind recycling as people increasingly want to help the environment. This research helps leaders to understand and encourage more sustainable and environmentally-friendly behaviour,” says Professor Flygansvær.

The study examined 108 recycling entrepreneurs and was published in the journal World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development.

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