Co-creating sustainable competitiveness in an unpredictable business reality

Tiphaine De Valon, Juan Gabriel Cegarra-Navarro, Alexeis Garcia-Perez, Aurora Martínez-Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Businesses nowadays must perform in an overcrowded market. Globalisation and access to technologies have made the competition fierce and the differentiation complicated. New challenges related to sustainability have emerged as a result of an increased environmental awareness from consumers. Their demand is shifting, and companies must adapt to the competitive pressures, social demands and legal regulations towards sustainability. However, implementing sustainable initiatives might be costly and do not ensure enhanced financial outcomes. Co-creation was found in the literature to offer potential solutions to sustainability challenges by enabling businesses to benefit from knowledge from external resources, involving consumers in their activities and seeking their engagement and approval. But the current research lacks a sustainable applicability. Hence, this theoretical study reviewed the current literature to offer an updated state of the art regarding sustainable co-creation between businesses and consumers. It aims to provide answers to how this joint collaboration can support sustainable development for companies, what type of value it generates for both parties, and what factors make market competitiveness possible despite an absence of financial value creation. We were able to create a theoretical framework including the following factors: 1) Value sharing, which considers engaging consumers’ proactive behaviours to overcome inertia and engage in a process of sustainable self-improvement; 2) Relationship management, where common interests will be merged, and consumers empowered to investigate how sustainable development can be implemented in an objective of positive long-term co-evolution; 3) Knowledge sharing, where mutual learning and understanding will lead to a synergy of power and allows to elaborate a marketable and sustainable value proposition; and 4) Innovation, which is the outcome of an efficient co-creation, where internal and external capabilities are recombined to overcome barriers related to sustainable development. The study concluded that a combination of those factors results in competitive value creation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the International Conference on Business Excellence.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2022
Event17th International Conference on Business Excellence - Bucharest, Romania
Duration: 22 Mar 202323 Mar 2023


  • sustainable development
  • knowledge management
  • co-creation
  • competitive advantage
  • sustainable innovation
  • strategic management


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