Ecological innovations (EIs) are believed to play a crucial role both for the future competitiveness of companies and environmental protection. Thus, many researchers have investigated the determinants stimulating the adoption of EIs, but they usually consider determinants as a static concept. In this paper, these determinants are hypothesized to vary with companies’ propensity to adopt them, that is, the degree to which companies consider relevant the choice to invest in EIs. In this view, the paper investigated a sample of 222 innovative SMEs following a multi-step procedure. By means of a composite indicator, firstly the SMEs’ propensity to adopt EIs was calculated. Secondly, in order to identify the determinants that stimulate SMEs to invest in eco-innovation, the procedure of Principal Component Analysis based on the ScotLass algorithm was applied. Thirdly, the determinants individuated as the principal components extracted were investigated through OLS and quantile regression. The results suggest that among the SMEs with a higher propensity to invest in EIs, the more evident determinants are the ambition to reach better economic performance, the capacity to establish networking, and the endogenous competencies of SMEs. Also, the variable structural nature concerning the firm’s size shows a high relevance.
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