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Paper info: Restructuring value networks to enable sustainable innovations in food packaging

Title


Restructuring value networks to enable sustainable innovations in food packaging

Authors


Outi Keranen,
Hanna Komulainen
University of Oulu
Finland
Hanna Komulainen and Pauliina Ulkuniemi

Place of Publication


The paper was published at the 35th IMP-conference in Paris, France in 2019.

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Abstract


Sustainability presents major challenges for societies and businesses all around the world. Different policy instruments, as well as regional and international innovation systems, are in place to advance the development of technologies that enable both more sustainable production and consumption. It has been argued that sustainability policy instruments should aim at both creating niche innovations but also at disestablishing current dominant regimes to create openings that enable the transitioning to sustainable technologies. Sustainable innovations tend to require the development of new and well-working technology, but also dismantling existing industry regimes that support the use of old technologies and prevent the change towards new more sustainable technologies. Understanding how science-based sustainability innovations are adopted in established industry networks may enable a faster adoption process of sustainable innovations. Our research question is: what types of changes to existing industry value networks are needed to enable diffusion of science-based sustainability innovations? In the present study, we focus on the food packaging industry and the sustainability challenge related to the need to reduce the use of plastics and substitute them with bioplastics. Plastic is a versatile, durable and inexpensive packaging material, but the environmental problems related to plastic are creating pressure to develop new packaging films and processes that are more user and environmentally friendly. We empirically examine what types of changes to existing industry value networks are needed to enable the large-scale use of biodegradable bio-based bioplastics in the food packaging industry.