The green investments and competitiveness of the Italian manufacturing system
Purpose of the paper: This paper aims to verify whether investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation would result in sectoral gains in relation to the way in which resources are allocated and used, thus potentially contributing to the competitiveness of Italian manufacturing firms.
Methodology: We carried out an econometric analysis on a data set drawn from the annual Istat Structural Business Statistics (SBS) with specific reference to manufacturing sectors based on their size class during the middle years of the economic crisis (2009-2012).
Findings: We find that expenditures in climate change mitigation and adaptation have positive and significant effects on business performance in terms of labour productivity over the whole period considered.
Research limits: Some limitations apply to this study. The relationship between investments in environmental technologies and different measures of economic performance should be explored, possibly from a comparative perspective. Additional research is also needed to explore firm-level environmental behaviours in order to bring out potential heterogeneity and difference in economic performances.
Practical implications: Our results are in line with the hypothesis that firms having environmental concerns and devoting substantial resources to green technologies may also improve their economic performance and competitiveness. Evidence from this study also indicates that there is great potential in adopting more proactive environmental strategies other than compliance-driven ones. From this perspective, the so-called Paris Agreement creates huge market opportunities at a global level.
Originality of the paper: Several studies have recently attempted to assess the effects of the decarbonisation process on business performance and industrial competitiveness. This paper brings new insights into the economic effects of environmental activities and green management by focusing on the relationship between investments in green technologies and productivity, still regarded as the foundation of industrial competitiveness.
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