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Innovation towards sustainable economy - the integration of economy and ecology in companies


  • Birgit Blättel-Mink

    (University of Stuttgart, Germany)


Ecological innovation includes the development and implementation of new products, new technologies, new production processes, new resources, new markets and new systems that integrate economy and ecology, i.e. introduce ecological aspects in economic strategies. Six qualitative case studies give insight into intraorganizational conditions of ecological innovation, also asking for companies' perception of external needs. As a result, the following hypothesis was developed: if the integration of economy and ecology becomes a factor of competition, dynamic and innovative companies will be proactive in this area. Five distinct results lead to this conclusion: a normative conflict between economy and ecology does not exist for ecologically innovative companies; ecological innovations, the integration of economy and ecology, are intrinsically motivated; cultural identity and quality orientation are necessary, in spite of insufficient prerequisites for the readiness to execute ecological innovations; ecological innovations are part of an ongoing improvement and learning process of a company and innovative companies create their own relevant environments and use them for their own purposes. Communication is an absolute imperative for sustainable development. Finally it is necessary to discuss some critical points apt to hamper an ongoing process towards sustainable economy. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:sustdv:v:6:y:1998:i:2:p:49-58
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1719(199808)6:2<49::AID-SD84>3.0.CO;2-I

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giovanni Dosi & Christopher Freeman & Richard Nelson & Gerarld Silverberg & Luc Soete (ed.), 1988. "Technical Change and Economic Theory," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1988, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

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