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Towards innovative environmental management in the Agro-food Industry
Published October 31, 2008

This article focuses on the problem: what external (stakeholder) and (internal structural/organizational) factors drive companies in the food- and agribusiness towards innovative environmental management? Innovative companies are those considered to have adopted a supply chain perspective, instead of a focus on the single business unit. We prop...ose that innovativeness is associated with stakeholder wishes (the government, the public environmental policy being a major influential factor), in combination with structural characteristics of the firm (like R&D-efforts, culture and managerial competences). We surveyed 492 companies in 2002, to get insight into the causes of innovativeness in the Dutch agri-food sector, and supplemented this data by means of a similar questionnaire in 2005. Structural equation modeling and correlation analysis were applied. The research provided evidence that companies are restricted by, and therefore not comfortable with, public environmental policies, which seem to obstruct innovativeness rather than stimulate it. Firms that(1) have enough internal (physical, financial, social)resourcestoinnovate, and (2) are more embedded in a web of (commercial) stakeholder wishes, prove to be more innovative. Suggestions are made to shift the corporate and public policies towards a supply chain-oriented approach by granting benefits for vertical cooperation in supply-chains.

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Co-innovation: what are the success factors?
Published May 30, 2009

The problem we address in this paper is that in projects focusing on public-private cooperation to stimulate innovation in the Netherlands, initiatives often lack continuation after the study-phase. We extracted possible influencing variables from business and (transaction) cost economic theorizing, stakeholder and capability theory. Moreover, ...we used measures for classifying projects with respect to financial interdependencies between participants. We supposed that project characteristics influence managerial behavior to continue or stop. We studied 28 projects (20 supply chain projects and 8 biological product development projects). Our aim was to explore the barriers and success factors for these co-innovation projects: innovation as a cooperative effort between public sector/research institute and private organization(s). We derived data from project descriptions and performed semi-structured interviews with project informants. Critical to success appears to be ex ante commitment of all parties. Goal congruence, both at a personal and a company level, and proportionality of sharing in project results are of decisive importance to establish such commitment. Estimations about financial project results should be made in an early stage; they should be used as a basis for negotiations on the (re)distribution of costs and benefits, especially if the value added is disproportionally distributed over the participants. Ideally, project teams of co-innovation projects should bring in complementary capabilities: technical, marketing, financial and organizational. Project governance should therefore be organized in such a way that the knowledge gaps are filled in before kick-off.

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The development of integrated accounting in small and medium-sized companies in the agri- and foodsector f the Russian federation
Published June 30, 2012

This paper focuses on the regulation of financial accounting in SMEs in the agri- and food sector in Russia. The paper presents the factors which influence the accounting system and the quality of the information it provides. The information and reports that are prepared according to international standards are not comparable with reports by Russian standards. They do not facilitate external users in gathering relevant information on the current financial position. The present usage of different systems for procuring information to satisfy the needs of multiple stakeholder groups takes time, distorts information, and often does not provide a true and fair view on business performance. One way to overcome this is the use of an integrated accounting system which allows, within the limits of Russian legislation, to provide a broad information base for external reporting. International standards could be used like IAS41 or those applied in the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN). The derived data could be used for attraction of investments, presentation of information to all interested users, comparison of results of activities in similar companies, and as a benchmark for the activities of companies in various regions and/or segments. They could be used to compare Russian companies with similar ones in the European Union. This paper describes the benefits and pitfalls which companies potentially experience from implementing an integrated accounting information system for company management and financial reporting purposes in the Russian Federation.

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Legal-economic barriers to price transfers in food supply chains
Published June 30, 2012

Recent price movements have put food supply chains under pressure. On the one side, upward price tendencies on commodity markets result in higher costs to processing firms. On the other side, these firms are confronted with a strong retail sector that is able to prevent compensation to protect consumers’ and own economic interests. Regulatory... impediments of European law, especially with respect to foodstuffs, can adversely be utilized as barriers to protect the interest downstream the supply chain. The problem is that legal-economic instruments which can serve to smooth price volatility in supply markets can also opportunistically be used at the expense of the middlesection in food supply chains (i.e., mainly small and medium sized producers). The aim of this article is to identify the legal-economic mechanisms that effect price transfers in food supply chains in the European Union and define policy adjustments to improve pricing mechanisms, while safeguarding the interests of the processing industry. Policy alternatives to improve the smooth functioning of notably intermediate markets in food supply chains are the restructuring of competition law, improved processor information management and creating transparency of value added in the supply chain by means of labelling devices.

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Opportunities, problems and pitfalls of nutrition and health claims
Published September 30, 2013

The provision of reliable food information, for instance by printing an authorised nutrition or health claim on a package of food, makes credence dimensions of a food transparent to the consumer. In Europe, prior­to­use authorisation of nutrition and health claims are mandatory and governed by Regulation (EC) 1924/2006. The aim of this paper to assess the problems and pitfalls of the European claims regime to food businesses. A legal­economic review is performed, supported by case studies. Strategic factors determining whether or not to claim are of a legal­economic kind. Strategic responses include refraining from the use or application of claims, abstaining from innovation, and/or circumvention of the authorisation procedure. Negative social­economic effects make it necessary to improve the present legal structures with respect to their effectiveness while maintaining the balance between public control and individual freedom.

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