Inderscience Publishers

Non–governmental organisations (NGO) and businesses in joint product innovation: development of a theoretical framework for 'green' products

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Against the background of growing demand for 'green' products and sustainable production - and the companies often–lacking knowledge - this paper engages with the question of how partnerships consisting of businesses with Non–Governmental Organisations (NGO) can be helpful in this area. This paper will answer the question of how partnerships between these players can help business to create innovative and sustainable products or services in a joint approach to fulfil future customer demand for 'green products'. A theoretical model is developed using illustrative case studies, which shows, how these often–antagonistic players can work together successfully. By using economic theories, rather than business theories, i.e. property rights and transaction cost theory and including a mutual benefit into the model, the paper fills the gap of a lacking valid explanation for how and why they can cooperate. These often–antagonistic players are enabled to successfully cooperate in the company's product innovation process, a new partner for business is introduced and sustainable solutions are promoted.

Keywords: product innovation, NGOs, non–governmental organisations, sustainability, green products, partnership, theoretical models, new institutional economics, sustainable development, sustainable production, property rights, transaction cost theory, mutual benefit, joint product development, NGO–business cooperation, collaboration

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