Conducting Research on Eco-innovation and Circular Economy in SMEs

The co-branded event between ECSB and UCLM (University of Castilla la Mancha, Spain, specifically at UCLM we involved the UCLM-JCCM Chair on Circular Economy – this Chair has been fostered by JCCM which is the regional government of Castilla La Mancha) was titled “Conducting Research on Eco-innovation and Circular Economy in SMEs” and took place in Cuenca (SPAIN) during 9th and 10th of December 2021 in a hybrid format (some attendants were in person and others online through Teams). The organizers of the event within UCLM were Francisco Sáez Martínez (Professor of Management and Co-Chair of the UCLM-JCCM Chair on Circular Economy) and Cristina Díaz García (Associate Professor of Management and Spain Vice President for ECSB). There were 35 attendants from seven nationalities (Spain, Colombia, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, Oman, Rwanda).

Plenary session of the Eco-innnovation conference
Plenary session of the event

The event consisted in two keynotes and five paper presentation sessions grouping the papers around similar topics.

The first keynote speaker was Alberto Aragón Correa, who is Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at Univ. Granada and Honorary Professor at Univ. Surrey (, he has been awarded “2021 One Distinguished Academic Scholar by Academy of Management, he presented his last research published on Academy of Management Annals “The effects of mandatory and voluntary regulatory pressures on firms’ environmental strategies”.

Professor Alberto Aragón Correa giving his keynote speech
Professor Alberto Aragón Correa giving his keynote speech.

The second keynote speaker was Rodrigo Lozano, who is Professor of Organisational Sustainability and co-director of the Center of Logistics and Innovative Production (CLIP) at the University of Gävle, Sweden (visiting professor at Central University of Technology at Bloemfontein, South Africa). He is Specialty Chief Editor of Frontiers in Organisations for Sustainability (previously editor-in-chief for the Journal of Cleaner Production). He presented, based on his latest research, the keynote “Circular Economy: Theories, practice and a holistic framework”.

Picture of the Professor Rodrigo Lozano keynote speech.
The second keynote speaker was Professor Rodrigo Lozano.

In total 14 papers were accepted from presentation, they were in different stages of development, but all of them received feedback to foster their progression, contributing to the aims of ECSB:

  1. advance the understanding of entrepreneurship (papers were focused on sustainable entrepreneurship education interaction with sustainability orientation in fostering sustainable entrepreneurship intention and behaviour, analysing the determinants of sustainable entrepreneurship in bioeconomy and wine sector, exploring a better model of KPIs to measure circularity in marketing within the tourism sector, providing a systematic literature review on Circular Economy research or analysing consumers’ values in their purchase intent of green products),
  2. research aimed to improve the competitiveness of SMEs in Europe (many papers were focused on the impact of circular economy on firms’ performance -in conjunction with technology orientation or eco-innovation-, two papers presented interesting chemical processes as eco-innovations in order to reuse waste materials -polyurethanes-, two papers focused on regulatory frameworks at a multi-country level either comparing national systems of eco-innovation to provide guide for action in a developing country or analysing the institutional variables that can decrease appropriability problems fostering eco-innovation patents).

The event website:

Authors: Professor Francisco Sáez Martínez and Associate Professor Cristina Díaz García, University of Castilla la Mancha