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Fostering investment in resource efficiency actions: the case of European SMEs

Abstract

The present paper analyses the factors associated with intensity in resource efficiency practices of European SMEs, considering four categories of firms according to their level of investment (very low, low, medium and high). Based on the stakeholder theory, we estimate a generalised ordinal logistic model which allows us to analyse the relationship between internal and external pressures, resources and capabilities and different categories of investments in resource efficiency. Results confirm that environmental organisational capabilities and financial resources are positively associated with the probability of achieving the highest investment intensity. The pressure of customers and providers and technical expertise increase the probability of firms’ moving from low levels of investment to medium levels. On the other hand, regulation, managerial environmental and economic awareness and external pressures from competitors increase the probability to remain in the group of the low resource efficiency. Finally, technological and organisational capabilities moderate the effect of stakeholder pressures on resource efficiency investment.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    In this regard, our model has a four-category outcome, so it has three cutpoints, which are statistically significant. What is more, we have found that they are different from each other (through the test for the equality of these cutpoints), so we reject the null hypothesis that the three cutpoints are equal. Therefore, this suggests that the sample is correctly divided into the four categories indicated.

  2. 2.

    In this regard, De Marchi et al. (2013) state that eco-strategies usually involve a different intensity of investment, and Del Río (2009) highlights that the most attractive technologies are those that do not require large initial investments. Although there is no standard classification, it is usual to distinguish between clean and end-of-pipe (EOP) technologies (Del Río, 2009), knowing that the former are more complex than EOP solutions because they involve more advanced technologies and higher technological capacity. Hence, investments in clean tech are larger than in EOP, especially for more radical environmental technology (Del Río 2005). In particular, the necessary infrastructure for obtaining renewable energy requires a significant investment (Chassot et al. 2014).

  3. 3.

    Other recent studies that have used the same model to deal with environmental performance are Triguero et al. (2016) and Hochman and Timilsina (2017)

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank anonymous referees for their helpful comments. Financial support received from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (RTI2018-101867-B-I00) and the University of Castilla-La Mancha (2020-GRIN-28721) is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Lourdes Moreno-Mondéjar.

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Table 4 Dependent and explanatory variables—definition and measurement

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Moreno-Mondéjar, L., Cuerva, M.C. Fostering investment in resource efficiency actions: the case of European SMEs. Energy Efficiency 13, 1329–1351 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-020-09888-y

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Keywords

  • Resource efficiency investment
  • European SMEs
  • Stakeholder pressures
  • Technological capabilities
  • Environmental organisational capabilities