This paper investigated the nexus between sustainability-oriented innovation (SOI) initiatives and exceptional profitability in high-performing companies. To this aim, employing a multiple comparative case study methodology, we analyzed 10 cases that excel in both return-on-sales (ROS) compared to industry medians and are actively engaged in SOI initiatives with public evidence. The findings of the study are categorized into internal and external factors affecting company performance, shedding light on managerial practices, organizational culture, and industry-specific variables. From a managerial standpoint, this paper offers valuable insights for managers seeking to balance between sustainable practices, encompassing multiple social and environmental aspects of corporate initiatives, while optimizing economic performance. The paper’s originality lies in its contribution to a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the profitability of SOI and their implications for company management. This exploratory research seeks to expand the knowledge of the relationship between SOI and financial performance (FP), providing a foundation for future research in this domain.


profitability, manufacturing industry, R&D, innovation management, corporate sustainability

ORCID Identifiers

Emanuele Pizzurno: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3860-6388

Fausto Cammarano: https://orcid.org/0009-0003-1767-6488



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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