Sustainability-driven innovation and the Climate Savers' programme: Experience of international companies in China

Anna Trifilova*, John Bessant, Fu Jia, Jonathan Gosling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to explore the experience of eight international companies, focusing on their strategies in sustainable innovations in China. Design/methodology/approach: This investigation is accomplished using a case study methodology. The research is based on the companies' secondary data and 47 semi-structured face-to-face interviews carried out in Chinese (Mandarin) between September 2010 and March 2012. Access to the selected companies was supported by WWF China. Findings: The findings of this study are summarised in a theoretical framework suggesting four different levels of multinational corporations' (MNCs') sustainability-driven innovations in China. Research limitations/implications: The paper is based on the research population of MNCs being WWF Climate Savers partners in China. The research sample has no Chinese-only companies. Originality/value: From the academic perspective this research is a qualitative analysis of the best practices in sustainable innovation of MNCs in China and an attempt to map them to a theoretical framework. From a policy-making perspective, this paper is a report on existing practices and positive experience in responsible industry leadership. For practitioners this study shows how to create profitable growth in harmony with environmental sustainability and good corporate citizenship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalCorporate Governance (Bingley)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • China
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
  • WWF Climate Savers

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