Interplay Between Economics and Environment: Determinants of Sustainable Solutions

  • Tero RantalaEmail author
  • Minna Saunila
  • Juhani Ukko
  • Jouni Havukainen


The debate on sustainable development has long focused on the determinants promoting sustainable development. Some scholars have discussed environmental determinants, such as energy savings, pollution prevention, waste recycling, hygienic factors, land occupation, green product design, corporate environmental management, and ease of material handling (Chen et al. in Journal of Business Ethics 67:331–339, 2006; Pretty et al. in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9:5–24, 2011; Delai and Takahashi in Social Responsibility Journal 7:438–471, 2011; Galdeano-Gómez et al. in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 11:125–143, 2013). Others have investigated the social aspects of sustainability, such as social recognition, human capital development, job creation, and health and safety issues (Choi and Ng in Journal of Business Ethics 104:269–282, 2011; Delai and Takahashi 2011; Galdeano-Gómez et al. 2013; Khan et al. in Corporate Ownership and Control Journal 12:84–94, 2016). The economic aspects of sustainable development have also been heavily discussed, and scholars have suggested that sustainable development is driven by cost savings (Horbach et al. in Ecological Economics 78:112–122, 2012; Horbach et al. in Industry and Innovation 20:523–544, 2013; Del Río et al. in Technological and Economic Development of Economy 23:1–26, 2015; Hojnik and Ruzzier in Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 19:31–41, 2016) and increased revenue from new business opportunities (Delai and Takahashi, 2011; Mamede & Gomes in Environmental Quality Management 23:49–73, 2014; Schaltegger et al. in International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development 6:95–119, 2012). These sustainable development studies with quite narrow viewpoints have yielded conflicting results and an unclear picture of what is being developed. The development target should be clearly defined to understand the determinants of the development.


  1. Anadon, L.D., Chan, G., Hurley, A., Matus, K., Moon, S., Murthy, S., & Clark, W.C. (2015). “Making technological innovation work for sustainable development.” Harvard Kennedy School Research Working Paper Series. Retrieved at
  2. Björkdahl, J., & Holmén, M. (2013). “Editorial: Business model innovation—The challenges ahead.” International Journal of Product Development, 18 (3), 213–225.Google Scholar
  3. Bocken, N.M.P., Short, S.W., Rana, P., & Evans, S. (2014). “A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 65, 42–56.Google Scholar
  4. Bonini, S., & Görner, S. (2011). “The business of sustainability: McKinsey Global Survey results.” Retrieved at
  5. Calabi-Floody, M., Medina, J., Rumpel, C., Condron, L.M., Hernandez, M., Dumont, M., & de la Luz Mora, M. (2018). “Chapter three—Smart fertilizers as a strategy for sustainable agriculture.” Advances in Agronomy, 147, 119–157.Google Scholar
  6. Calabrese, A., Castaldi, C., Forte, G., & Levialdi, N.G. (2018). “Sustainability-oriented service innovation: An emerging research field.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 193, 533–548.Google Scholar
  7. Chen, Y.S., Lai, S.B., & Wen, C.T. (2006). “The influence of green innovation performance on corporate advantage in Taiwan.” Journal of Business Ethics, 67 (4), 331–339.Google Scholar
  8. Chesbrough, H. (2010). “Business model innovation: Opportunities and barriers.” Long Range Planning, 43, 354–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Choi, S., & Ng, A. (2011). “Environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability and price effects on consumer responses.” Journal of Business Ethics, 104 (2), 269–282.Google Scholar
  10. Del Río, P., Romero-Jordán, D., & Peñasco, C. (2017). “Analysing firm-specific and type-specific determinants of eco-innovation.” Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 23, 1–26. Google Scholar
  11. Delai, I., & Takahashi, S. (2011). “Sustainability measurement system: A reference model proposal.” Social Responsibility Journal, 7 (3), 438–471.Google Scholar
  12. Diaz Lopez, F.J., Bastein,T., & Tukker, A. (2018). “Business model innovation for resource-efficiency, circularity and cleaner production: What 143 cases tell us.” Ecological Economics. Retrieved at Scholar
  13. Enquist, B., Petros Sebhatu, S., & Johnson, M. (2015). “Transcendence for business logics in value networks for sustainable service business.” Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 25 (2), 181–197.Google Scholar
  14. Furrer, O. (2010). “A customer relationship typology of product services strategies.” In: Gallouj, D. (Ed.), The handbook of innovation and services. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  15. Galdeano-Gómez, E., Aznar-Sánchez, J.A., & Pérez-Mesa, J.C. (2013). “Sustainability dimensions related to agricultural-based development: The experience of 50 years of intensive farming in Almería (Spain).” International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 11 (2), 125–143.Google Scholar
  16. Gao, Y., Li, P., Wu, L., Lu, J., Yu, L., & Yin, S. (2018). “Support policy preferences of for-profit pest control firms in China.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 181, 809–818.Google Scholar
  17. Geum, Y. & Park, Y. (2011). “Designing the sustainable product-service integration: A product-service blueprint approach.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 19 (14), 1601–1614.Google Scholar
  18. Hojnik, J., & Ruzzier, M. (2016). “What drives eco-innovation? A review of an emerging literature.” Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 19, 31–41.Google Scholar
  19. Horbach, J., Oltra, V., & Belin, J. (2013). “Determinants and specificities of eco-innovations compared to other innovations—An econometric analysis for the French and German industry based on the community innovation survey.” Industry and Innovation, 20 (6), 523–543.Google Scholar
  20. Horbach, J., Rammer, C., & Rennings, K. (2012). “Determinants of eco-innovations by type of environmental impact—The role of regulatory push/pull, technology push and market pull.” Ecological Economics, 78, 112–122.Google Scholar
  21. Kesidou, E., & Demirel, P. (2012). “On the drivers of eco-innovations: Empirical evidence from the UK.” Research Policy, 41 (5), 862–870.Google Scholar
  22. Khan, E.A., Dewan, M.N.A., & Chowdhury, M.H. (2016). “Reflective or formative measurement model of sustainability factor: A three industry comparison.” Corporate Ownership and Control Journal, 12 (2), 84–94.Google Scholar
  23. Laperche, B., & Picard, F. (2013). “Environmental constraints, Product-Service Systems development and impacts on innovation management: Learning from manufacturing firms in the French context.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 53, 118–128.Google Scholar
  24. Liljenstolpe, C. (2009). Horses in Europe. EU Equus. Retrieved at
  25. Long, T.B., Blok, V., & Coninx, I. (2016). “Barriers to the adoption and diffusion of technological innovations for climate-smart agriculture in Europe: Evidence from the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Italy.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 9–21.Google Scholar
  26. Lovins, A.B., Lovins, L.H., & Hawken, P. (1999). “A road map for natural capitalism.” Harvard Business Review, 1–14.Google Scholar
  27. Lovins, A.B., Lovins, L.H. & Hawken, P. (2007). “A road map for natural capitalism.” Harvard Business Review.Google Scholar
  28. Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2010). “Towards a conceptual framework of business models for sustainability.” Environmental Management, 49, 1–28.Google Scholar
  29. Lüdeke-Freund, F., & Dembek, K. (2017). “Sustainable business model research and practice: Emerging field or passing fancy?” Journal of Cleaner Production, 168, 1668–1678.Google Scholar
  30. Mamede, P., & Gomes, C.F. (2014). “Corporate sustainability measurement in service organizations: A case study from Portugal.” Environmental Quality Management, 23 (3), 49–73.Google Scholar
  31. Martin, D., Gustafsson, A., & Choi, S. (2016). “Service innovation, renewal, and adoption/rejection in dynamic global contexts.” Journal of Business Research, 69 (7), 2397–2400.Google Scholar
  32. Pretty, J., Toulmin, C., & Williams, S. (2011). “Sustainable intensification in African agriculture.” International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 9 (1), 5–24.Google Scholar
  33. Radulescu, C.V. (2017). “Sustainability strategies in businesses.” Quality—Access to Success, 17, 331–336.Google Scholar
  34. Sáez-Martínez, F.J., Díaz-García, C., & González-Moreno, A. (2014). “Environmental orientation as a determinant of innovation performance in Young SMEs.” International Journal of Environmental Research, 8 (3), 635–642.Google Scholar
  35. Schaltegger, S., Lüdeke-Freund, F., & Hansen, E. (2012). “Business cases for sustainability and the role of business model innovation.” International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 6 (2), 95–119.Google Scholar
  36. Scherr, S., Shames, S., & Friedman, R. (2012). “From climate-smart agriculture to climate-smart landscapes.” Agriculture & Food Security, 1 (12), 1–15.Google Scholar
  37. Shrivastava, P., Ivanaj, S., & Ivanaj, P. (2016). “Strategic technological innovation for sustainable development.” International Journal of Technology Management, 70 (1), 76–107.Google Scholar
  38. Snyder, H., Witell, L., Gustafsson, A., Fombelle, P., & Kristensson, P. (2016). “Identifying categories of service innovation: A review and synthesis of the literature.” Journal of Business Research, 69 (7), 2401–2408.Google Scholar
  39. Sousa-Zomer, T.T., & Cauchick Miguel, P.A. (2016). “Sustainable business models as an innovation strategy in the water sector: An empirical investigation of a sustainable product-service system.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, 119–129.Google Scholar
  40. Svensson, G., & Wagner, B. (2015). “Implementing and managing economic, social and environmental efforts of business sustainability.” Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 26 (2), 195–213.Google Scholar
  41. Wamsler, C., & Brink, E. (2018). “Mindsets for sustainability: Exploring the link between mindfulness and sustainable climate adaption.” Ecological Economics, 151, 55–61.Google Scholar
  42. Yang, M., Evans, S., Vladimirova, D., & Rana, P. (2016). “Value uncaptured for sustainable business model.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, 1794–1804.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tero Rantala
    • 1
    Email author
  • Minna Saunila
    • 1
  • Juhani Ukko
    • 1
  • Jouni Havukainen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Engineering ScienceLUT UniversityLahtiFinland
  2. 2.School of Energy SystemsLUT UniversityLappeenrantaFinland

Personalised recommendations