Policies and Strategies for Eco-Friendly Dairy Product

Gerrit Willem Ziggers

Institute for Management Research, Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


Eco-friendly agricultural production, including dairy, is often perceived as a model for sustainable production. It has received considerable attention and has been studied from various perspectives. Some studies have been focusing on farmers' attitudes toward ecofriendly agriculture (Midmore et al., 2001), the need for information before and during transition (Padel et al., 2005b), the willingness to adopt eco-friendly production (Midmore et al., 2001; Oerlemans et al., 2004; Darnhofer et al., 2005; Padel et al., 2005a), or the decision to revert to conventional practices (Rigby et al., 2001; Kaltoft et al., 2006). Other studies have been focusing on the market for eco-friendly products emphasizing consumer preferences and motives for buying these products (Padel et al., 2005a; Kjaernes et al., 2008; Aertsens et al., 2009). More recently, studies started to examine the role of the institutional context (i.e., stakeholders, formal and informal rules, the market for food products), and the barriers and opportunities it provides to switch to eco-friendly production (Lynggaard 2001; Michelsen 2001; Smith et al., 2004; Smit et al., 2009), and the conditions that provide eco-friendly production a competitive advantage (Epstein 2008; Sirsly et al., 2008; Lamine 2011). The most significant development in this debate is the attainment of competitive advantage and whether firm strategies can be aligned with societal objectives that generate benefits for firms (Burke et al., 1996; Epstein et al., 2003; Sirsly et al., 2008). Given this debate this chapter wants to address the following questions:

  • • How does the institutional context affect the emergence of eco-friendly production initiatives?
  • • When does an eco-friendly production initiative provide a better competitive positioning?

The chapter is organized as follows. First, the institutional context is delineated in order to identify potential levers for a transition toward eco-friendly dairy production. Then the attributes that are considered to be conditional for the success of eco-friendly initiatives are introduced. It is argued that an eco-friendly initiative should be central to the initiating firms' mission, should provide specific benefits, and should be visible for initiating firms' stakeholders (Sirsly et al., 2008). The next paragraph then elaborates on

Advances in Dairy Products, First Edition.

Edited by Francesco Conto, Matteo A. Del Nobile, Michele Faccia, Angelo V. Zambrini, and Amalia Conte. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published 2018 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

the strategic positioning of an eco-friendly production initiative as a result of asymmetries in management capabilities regarding business environment assessment, stakeholder management, and issue management (Wood 1991; Sirsly et al., 2008). It is followed by a paragraph that explains how value can be obtained by materializing on the attributes that make the initiative strategic. The chapter finalizes with some concluding remarks. The overall point this chapter wants to address is that it articulates the conditions and capabilities through which firms may engage in eco-friendly production initiatives that generate benefits in both economic and societal terms.

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