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Dimensions of environmentally sustainable innovation: the structure of eco-innovation concepts


  • Tomas Hellström

    (Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Oslo, Norway)


The present study analyses environmentally sustainable innovation, or eco-innovation for short, from the perspective of extant theories of innovation, in order to establish dominant structures of such innovations and current weaknesses, as well as fruitful ways forward. 105 venture concepts were sampled from the winning contributions of a national environmental innovation competition, and analysed in terms of Schumpeterian innovation type and innovation mode (radical-incremental and component-architectural). The resulting distribution confirms a bias towards incremental process innovations, but points towards interesting characteristics in radical-architectural modes of eco-innovation, e.g. the tendency to combine 'hardware' and 'software', or technology and social arrangements, the combination of generically diverse technologies and finally the 'eco-enabling' of old technologies by the application of new ones. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Tomas Hellström, 2007. "Dimensions of environmentally sustainable innovation: the structure of eco-innovation concepts," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 148-159.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:15:y:2007:i:3:p:148-159
    DOI: 10.1002/sd.309

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Birgit Blättel-Mink, 1998. "Innovation towards sustainable economy - the integration of economy and ecology in companies," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(2), pages 49-58.
    2. Rennings, Klaus, 2000. "Redefining innovation -- eco-innovation research and the contribution from ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 319-332, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:gjofsm:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s40171-017-0158-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:223:d:64796 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rosa Dangelico & Devashish Pujari, 2010. "Mainstreaming Green Product Innovation: Why and How Companies Integrate Environmental Sustainability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 95(3), pages 471-486, September.
    4. Jeou-Shyan Horng & Chung-Jen Wang & Chih-Hsing Liu & Sheng-Fang Chou & Chang-Yen Tsai, 2016. "The Role of Sustainable Service Innovation in Crafting the Vision of the Hospitality Industry," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-18, March.
    5. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:161-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Anna Ray Davies, 2009. "Does sustainability count? Environmental policy, sustainable development and the governance of grassroots sustainability enterprise in Ireland," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 174-182.

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