The imperative of communication signals in boosting business strategies of the bioplastic packaging industry

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Despite the rapid growth of sustainable innovations in bioplastics for packaging industries, their diffusion into established markets has so far been hampered by ambiguous and asymmetrical communication between bioplastics producers and consumers (both businesses and end consumers), particularly related to bioplastics materials and their waste disposal procedures. This study looks into the communication processes, identifies barriers and investigates business strategies that can be adopted by bioplastic packaging industries to influence consumer adoption and proper disposal behaviour of bioplastic packaging. Based on a systematic review of 68 journal articles and guided by the signalling theory, the study found that connections with various signallers at the end-of-life of bioplastic packaging materials are required beyond the purview of the industrial sectors utilising the packaging. The paper proposes a conceptual framework incorporating new signal constructs specific to consumer-facing sustainable innovation. The framework extends the signalling theory to be used as part of the bioplastic packaging industry's business strategy. The paper also emphasises the importance of altering the communication mechanisms in order to boost bioplastics industrial practices, which will subsequently contribute to the reduction of the detrimental impacts of fossil-based plastics on the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-334
Number of pages28
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The authors are grateful with the support provided by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, for the research project entitled the Social Innovation Management for Bioplastics (SIMBIO), grant number ES/T015195/1, to develop social interventions that will address the environmental and social challenges of bioplastic packaging throughout its entire supply chain from production to end-of-life management.


  • business strategy
  • communication
  • consumer adoption
  • signalling theory
  • sustainable packaging


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