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The business management model, key to reach a sustainable innovation

Alfonso Hernández.

Alfonso Hernández.



The awarded research study with the José Manuel Blecua Prize focuses on how companies innovate to reach a major sustainability, understood as a competitive advantage in the current market. In particular, it shows that putting in practice the cleanest technologies is easier in those companies with integrated management systems, that is, those that combine the needs from different interest groups: from customers’ interests to the workers’ and the community’s in which the company is based.

Alfonso Hernández carried out a survey to forty companies in Europe and Latin America –all of them in the candle production sector– to study the relationship between sustainability and an integrated management system (IMS). Hernández notes that “companies with a higher level of integration have up to 50% of higher chances to implement clean technologies successfully”. The study showed that companies with IMS innovate processes more efficiently, using less resources, while they also take care of the needs of the company’s collaborators.

Doctoral studies and company work

Alfonso Hernández says that there is still a lot to do and discover in the work lines of the awarded study: “There are many open questions to study regarding innovation, sustainability, and lines and concepts such as open innovation, internationalization and gender equality”. These research studies are, according to the researcher, promising regarding business management: “Broadening knowledge on management systems integration can guide us in decision-taking and ease the way towards business sustainability”, he states.

Actually, Hernández applies the obtained knowledge during his doctoral thesis, supervised by Mercè Bernardo and Claudio Cruz-Cázares, in his current position as director of supply chain in a company that makes candles: “The study I carried out enabled me to understand the importance of the integration of management systems in practice. During this pandemic I have seen how a company that tries to reach the several objectives of some groups of interest can hold itself, and even grow, thanks to its focus on quality, innovation, care for the environment and the collaborators’ wellbeing”. In February, Hernández will continue to do research on this line while teaching at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the UB.

Article reference: Alfonso Hernández-Vivanco, Mercè Bernardo, Claudio Cruz-Cazares. “Sustainable innovation through management systems Integration”, Journal of Cleaner Production, February 2018. Doi:

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