The effects of customer benefit and regulation on environmental product innovation.: Empirical evidence from appliance manufacturers in Germany
Environmental product (EP) innovations and their determinants have received increasing attention from researchers during the past years. So far, empirical studies have shown inconsistent results, especially regarding the impact of regulation. In this paper, I seek to advance the understanding of EP-innovation by introducing and testing a novel research framework. First, a novel unit of analysis, the environmental issue level, is applied. EP-innovation is not studied in broad terms but specifically for four environmental issues that are relevant to the electrical and electronic appliances industry: energy efficiency, toxic substances, material efficiency, and electromagnetic fields. Second, the customer benefit, a concept from the green marketing literature, is included as an explanatory variable for EP-innovation for the first time. The argument is that green products which besides their public benefits have private environmental benefits for the customer (e.g., energy savings) will generate stronger consumer demand and can thus constitute the firm's motivation to implement those innovations in the first place. Third, EP-innovation is observed more comprehensively, measuring its extent and level of novelty. I apply this research framework to study EP-innovations of German manufacturers of electrical and electronic appliances. My results support the issue level as unit of analysis. The impact of customer benefit and regulation on EP-innovation is analyzed with logit regression and the results clearly show that both customer benefit and regulation play a key role for EP-innovation. They not only foster the implementation of EP-innovations but also their broad application and their level of novelty.
Environmental innovation Customer benefit Environmental regulation Environmental management Green marketing Electrical and electronic appliances
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