Different Ways to Access Knowledge for Sustainability-Oriented Innovation. The Effect of Foreign Direct Investment
Sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI), which displays an intention to develop a product or service that contributes to economic, environmental, and social sustainability, has drawn growing institutional and academic attention, due to the general consideration that innovation is an essential part of achieving sustainability. For developments of this nature, it is considered that foreign direct investment (FDI) helps companies to meet the requirements demanded by SOI, however, they show different cooperation patterns, and so it is not known what path they must take to achieve it. In this context, this paper uses comparative analysis to try to shed light on the possible differences in the paths taken to achieve SOI by companies with and without FDI, taking into account their different form of knowledge management. To achieve this objective, it has been necessary to build new sustainability indicators (economic, environmental, and social) that allow the evaluation of the sustainability of these processes, considering the sustainability objectives that guided companies towards innovation. Using a logit model for 5897 Spanish companies during the period 2009–2014, this paper contributes both theoretically and empirically to emerging research into the opening of sustainable innovation. It provides a better understanding of the different channels for accessing knowledge for SOI, and examining these channels through absorptive capacity and cooperation, according to its age and size.