Sustainable Open Innovation to Address a Grand Challenge: Lessons from Carlsberg and the Green Fiber Bottle

Accepted for publication in "British Food Journal" (2019), Forthcoming

25 Pages Posted: 30 Dec 2019

See all articles by Marcel Bogers

Marcel Bogers

University of Copenhagen - Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO); University of California, Berkeley

Henry Chesbrough

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Robert Strand

Independent

Date Written: December 9, 2019

Abstract

Purpose: This paper describes the case of how the Danish beer manufacturer, Carlsberg, developed the Green Fiber Bottle as part of its sustainability program through an open innovation approach in collaboration with complementary partners. It thereby illustrates how a grand challenge associated with sustainability can be effectively addressed through open innovation and reveals the opportunities and challenges that emerge in that context.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper summarizes some key elements of the case and, in particular, discusses some of the lessons learned, which can be further explored in future research, practice and policy.

Findings: The case suggests a number of key issues that are relevant when attempting to address grand challenges, in general, and sustainability in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, in particular, namely: leveraging open innovation in the face of sustainability as a grand challenge; sustainability beyond a solid business case; opportunities and challenges in the face of new business models; the importance of early wins for addressing societal challenges for signals and scaling, and; the importance of the Nordic context and long-term vision.

Originality/value: The case describes a recent (and to some extent still ongoing) initiative of how a particular F&B company has explored new approaches to developing its sustainability program. Therefore, it highlights some of the unique characteristics of this case. This paper also lays the groundwork for the establishment of “Sustainable Open Innovation” as a domain in its own right.

Keywords: open innovation, sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, food & beverage industry

Suggested Citation

Bogers, Marcel and Chesbrough, Henry and Strand, Robert, Sustainable Open Innovation to Address a Grand Challenge: Lessons from Carlsberg and the Green Fiber Bottle (December 9, 2019). Accepted for publication in "British Food Journal" (2019), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3500792

Marcel Bogers (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO) ( email )

Unit for Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management
Rolighedsvej 25
Copenhagen, 1958
Denmark

University of California, Berkeley

Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation
F402 Hass School of Business, #1930
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Henry Chesbrough

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Robert Strand

Independent ( email )

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