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Towards green chemistry: the multi-party sustainability initiative of a chemical cluster - Spanning the boundaries between subsidiary and parent company.

Conference contribution
Authors Gabriela Schaad
Anders Sandoff
Christian Jensen
Johanna Mossberg
Published in EGOS Post-Doctoral & Early Career Scholars Pre-Colloquium Workshop
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Business Administration, Management & Organisation
Department of Business Administration, Industrial and Financial Management & Logistics
Language en
Keywords sustainability vision, green chemistry, MNE, chemical industry cluster, multi-party collaboration
Subject categories Economics and Business


Challenges to the legitimacy of the chemical industry, among other reasons, have led the industry to embrace sustainability, although to make significant improvements, innovations that re-conceptualize the industry and its products are required. The chemical cluster on the Swedish west coast engaged in multi-party collaboration, jointly adopting the vision Sustainable Chemistry 2030. The vision states that “In 2030, the west coast will be the hub for the production of sustainable products within the chemical industry. Our business will be based on renewable feedstock and energy, and contribute to a sustainable society.” The realization of the vision not only demands well-developed cooperation between the five cluster firms, new technologies and the removal of several non-technical barriers. Given foreign ownership, also the support of the respective parent company (MNE) is required. This paper reports on a case study of the cluster firms’ efforts to span the boundaries between subsidiary and MNE headquarters with regard to Sustainable Chemistry 2030, investigating the dynamics and barriers at this interface for advancing green chemistry. The preliminary analysis gives at hand that the barriers encountered can be divided into three main categories; cognitive, conceptual and structural barriers. Of highest concern for advancing green chemistry and corporate sustainability more generally is the fact that the cluster’s sustainability initiative is assessed along the same evaluation criteria as any commercial project within each MNE. This gives reasons to question whether and to what extent MNEs in the chemical industry are prepared to contribute to solving global sustainability challenges.

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