Social innovation, circularity and green technology for environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices



During the last decades, heightened industrial activity worldwide and consumers as well brought to fore the urgency of environmental protection and the need of embedding sustainable culture (Nowak et al., 2011) that encourages economic, social, and environmental well-being (DiCuonzo et al, 2022). 
This is due to countries and regions considered as major industrial hubs that adversely impact the environment with pollutant emissions and industrial waste. Henceforth, keeping the right balance between environmental protection and sustainable resource use is a challenging endeavor (Bringezu, 2017). Environmental protection is a crucial concern not only in domestic level but also at the international sphere that requires the right financial instruments and policies to achieve the optimal condition with cost-effectiveness. Hence, R&D focused on environmental-friendly technologies will be the mainstream in the future.
It has been largely agreed that innovation is a crucial tool for companies to achieve sustainability goals (Ahmad and Wu, 2021). on the other hand, recent technology advances have provided new opportunities for innovation and sustainability (De Santis and Presti, 2018; Carayannis et al., 2015). 
Research on enterprise innovation that target environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues has gained traction in recent years. Being that innovation consist in “continuous improvement in the overall ability of companies to generate innovation to develop new products to meet market needs” (Szeto, 2000, p. 150)”, the integration of ESGs goals into business strategies is highly relevant for long term value creation and for strengthening their competitiveness (Zhai et al., 2018). 
Moreover, a strong economy and well-established institutions can be the key determinants of an innovation climate (Alfaro et al., 2019). The specialists of the British Standards Institution (2008) stated that among the principal reasons for incorporating innovation into the organization’s core competencies was the fulfillment of social and environmental responsibility. This is one of the main approaches concerning R&D and environmental activities that emphasize a positive link among them. McWilliams and Siegel (2001) support this association due to highly rated firm's reputation among the stakeholders because of investment in environmental preservation. Whereas, King and Lenox (2002) assert that improved productivity, cleaner environment, and reduced environmental cost, are better supported by investments in R&D activities. As such, investment in environmental issues would drive significant economic returns for the businesses and better financial performance (Esty and Porter, 1998), which in some cases may be ignored by the managers (Hart, 1997).
In addition, the nuance circular economy (CE) is a contemporary attempt to rethink development broadly in a manner that integrates economic activity, social concerns and environmental wellness.
It is “an alternative industrial paradigm to the traditional “take, make, dispose” economic model” (Urbinati et al., 2021, p. 1), with the potential of solving sustainability challenges and, at the same time, opening opportunities for society, environmental, and economic growth. It extends to an economic model in which planning, resourcing, procurement, production and reprocessing are innovatively designed and systematically managed to improve process and output for the purpose of maximizing ecosystem functioning and human well-being (Murray, Skene and Haynes, 2017). The notion of circular economy is also viewed as an improved paradigm shift in the way that humans and the society coexist to prevent the depletion of resources, close energy and materials loops, and facilitate sustainable development through its implementation at the micro (enterprises and consumers), meso (economic agents integrated in symbiosis) and macro (city, regions, and governments) levels (Saiz-Alvarez, 2020).  The three dimensions of sustainability that the circular economy focuses on are: Economic, Social and Environmental, which are often called Sustainable Triangle (ST) or Sustainable Development Triangle (SDT) in the development literature (Munasinghe, 2012; Raimi and Yusuf, 2020).
The development literature linked the economic growth of Westerns countries and the emergence of China to the acceptance, exploration and implementation of the ideals of a circular economy (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2012; Preston, 2012; Zhu, 2019), social innovation (Schubert, 2018; Marchesi and Tweed, 2021) and green technology (Meirun et al., 2021; Shen et al., 2021). 

List of topic areas

  1. Sustainable development though management decisions
  2. Green technology investments
  3. Social enterprises and social innovation
  4. Circularity, innovation and business models
  5. Contributing to SDGs through social and eco-entrepreneurship
  6. Cost reduction, efficiency improvement, environmental protection
  7. Other related issues.

Guest Editors 

Eglantina Hysa, PhD, Epoka University, Albania, [email protected] 

 Alba Kruja, PhD, Epoka University, Albania, [email protected] 

Valentina Ndou, PhD, University of Salento, Italy, [email protected]

Mirela Panait, PhD, Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti; Institute of National Economy, Romania, [email protected]

Submissions Information

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Key deadlines

Opening date: 1st of September 2022
Closing date: 28th of February 2023  

Closing date for abstract submission: 31st of December 2022    
Email for submission information: [email protected]