Raquel Engelman Machado



The investments in sustainability are a source of competitive advantage and profitability, thus administrators have to identify the circumstances favoring this scenario. The central aim of this article is to verify which factors determine the acquisition of a competitive advantage and profitability as a result of the development of a sustainable new product. This is a case study whose unit of analysis is the Green Polyethylene, a sustainable product developed by Braskem, a Brazilian petrochemical company. The primary source of data was obtained through in depth interviews made with three managers of sectors in the company directly involved with the development of the product. Data analysis revealed the importance of opportunities in the external environment regarding accessibility and low-cost of raw material, but mainly regarding the demand. The life cycle of a product, the least damaging it is to the environment in all its stages, and itsattributes are very important for its successful acceptability. The firm’s resources and capacities, as well as the absorptive capacity, revealed to be of great influence on assuring competitive advantage and, consequently, profitability. The success in the development of a sustainable new product is based on a strategy clearly defined and aligned to the company’s macro strategy, which allows the company to grow in international markets, strengthening its image and tightening its relationship with strategic sources of knowledge, raw material and clients.

Keywords: Sustainable product. Competitive strategy. Innovation. Sustainable development.

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