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Assessing the relationship between economic and ecological performance: Distinguishing system levels and the role of innovation

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  • Boons, Frank
  • Wagner, Marcus

Abstract

In this article we critically discuss the different perspectives that are currently in use for assessing the relationship between ecological and economic performance. Based on a review of the literature we propose that research up till now has made use of four distinct system boundaries: the firm, markets, production and consumption systems, and economic systems. Making these boundaries explicit is helpful in interpreting the mixed results that have been obtained. We describe the consequences of the choice for each of these system boundaries: and look at implications for innovation. We also argue that the production and consumption system boundary offers potential for further advances in the field and deserves more attention in future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Boons, Frank & Wagner, Marcus, 2009. "Assessing the relationship between economic and ecological performance: Distinguishing system levels and the role of innovation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1908-1914, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:1908-1914
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Azomahou, Theophile & Laisney, Francois & Nguyen Van, Phu, 2006. "Economic development and CO2 emissions: A nonparametric panel approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1347-1363, August.
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    10. Richmond, Amy K. & Kaufmann, Robert K., 2006. "Is there a turning point in the relationship between income and energy use and/or carbon emissions?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 176-189, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thierry Bréchet & Sylvette Ly, 2013. "The many traps of green technology promotion," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 15(1), pages 73-91, January.
    2. Anna Mazzi & Sara Toniolo & Alessandro Manzardo & Jingzheng Ren & Antonio Scipioni, 2016. "Exploring the Direction on the Environmental and Business Performance Relationship at the Firm Level. Lessons from a Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-25, November.
    3. Giulio Cainelli & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Sandro Montresor, 2012. "Environmental Innovations, Local Networks and Internationalization," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(8), pages 697-734, November.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:156:d:63558 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:kap:jbuset:v:144:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2806-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Potts, Jason & Foster, John & Straton, Anna, 2010. "An entrepreneurial model of economic and environmental co-evolution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 375-383, December.
    7. Wagner, Marcus, 2011. "Corporate performance implications of extended stakeholder management: New insights on mediation and moderation effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 942-950, March.
    8. Wu, Kuo-Jui & Liao, Ching-Jong & Chen, Chih-Cheng & Lin, Yuanhsu & Tsai, Chuck F.M., 2016. "Exploring eco-innovation in dynamic organizational capability under incomplete information in the Taiwanese lighting industry," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 181(PB), pages 419-440.
    9. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:161-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:kap:jbuset:v:147:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2927-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Adam Ryszko, 2016. "Proactive Environmental Strategy, Technological Eco-Innovation and Firm Performance—Case of Poland," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-20, February.
    12. Patricia Sánchez-Medina & René Díaz-Pichardo & Angélica Bautista-Cruz & Arcelia Toledo-López, 2015. "Environmental Compliance and Economic and Environmental Performance: Evidence from Handicrafts Small Businesses in Mexico," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 381-393, February.

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