• sustainability strategies;
  • global value chains;
  • upgrading;
  • home furnishing;
  • eco-innovation;
  • environmental management


The literature is increasingly focusing on how firms are improving their environmental performances and promoting green strategies to transform environmental constraints into new drivers of competitive advantage. This paper contributes to the literature by expanding knowledge about environmental management at the value chain level by exploring the concept of environmental upgrading and its implications in terms of economic upgrading and greening of industries. Leveraging on the global value chain and environmental managerial literature, the paper develops an integrated theoretical framework to analyse environmental upgrading trajectories and their implications in terms of firms' green strategies based on case studies in the Italian home-furnishing industry. Empirical evidence suggests that firms develop green strategies to reduce environmental impacts while achieving economic benefits and competitiveness, which may be internal to the firm but also apply to value chains, with different implications in terms of bargaining power and value appropriation. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.