Call for Papers: Sustainability-oriented innovation in agri-food systems

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of my co-editors and I, we are delighted to share with you our Call for Papers for a Special Issue on “Sustainability-oriented innovation in agri-food systems” in the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change (AJG 3). Below is a brief(ish) summary of our CfP.

The aim of our SI is to examine how the agri-food industry is and could respond to the grand challenges of sustainability, where the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (Brundtland Commission 1987). In particular we interested in exploring how agri-food companies implement sustainability-oriented innovations (SOIs) i.e. intentional changes to their philosophy and values, as well as to their products, processes or practices to serve the specific purpose of creating and realizing social and environmental value in addition to economic returns (Adams et al. 2016).

We hope to mobilize scholarly work examining how the agri-food industry from incumbents to start-ups can minimize the adverse environmental and social impacts of the foods sector while maintaining economic sustainability through different forms of SOIs. We strongly encourage scholars to bridge disciplinary boundaries as a means of tackling the systemic and complex nature of the problems the industry faces. We thus hope that scholars consider how systemic change comes about for example by considering:

  • How agri-food start-ups can tap on the unexplored opportunities generated by the challenges of sustainable development, leveraging on new forms of sustainable business models (Bocken et al. 2014);
  • How agri-food firms can build upon novel forms of collaborations to solve urgent sustainable challenges (i.e. food loss and waste) but also to co-create sustainable value, involving supply chain partners (i.e., customers and suppliers) (Klewitz & Hansen 2014; González-Moreno et al. 2019), but also sustainable start-ups, NGOs, Third Sector organizations.
  • How start-ups and incumbents can act as agents of change independently (Pogutz & Winn 2016; Sengers et al. 2019), but also how new entrants may act to change the behaviour of incumbents (Hockerts & Wüstenhagen 2010).
  • How open innovation approaches (Saguy & Sirotinskaya 2014; González-Moreno et al. 2019) such as crowdfunding (Testa, Roma, et al. 2019; Testa, Nielsen, et al. 2019) and crowdsourcing (Soon & Saguy 2017), as well as practices of bricolage (Garuda & Karnøe 2003), may represent sources of significant SOIs.
  • How intermediary actors such as schools, hospitals, and workplaces as handlers of large volumes of food may become a focal point for interventions aimed at developing SOIs that aim at promoting new sustainable eating habits (Goggins 2018).
  • What are impactful, but more importantly, malleable consumer practices with relation to food that could be changed through tailored interventions (Vermeir & Verbeke 2006) and what are the most effective interventions (Choudhary et al. 2019).

These are but a few of the options available to prospective authors and we welcome all methods and approaches if they maintain a high level of academic rigor and consider how systematic change may come about and have larger effects on the environment and the society at large. We are open to all methods including qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods as well as conceptual, theoretical, and literature review papers if they advance the field in significant ways.

Deadline for the submission of contributions: 15th July 2020

Guest Editors: Stefania Testa (University of Genoa), Kristian Roed Nielsen (Copenhagen Business School), Steen Vallentin (Copenhagen Business School), Federica Ciccullo (Politecnico of Milano).