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The Link between Environmental Innovation, Patents, and Environmental Management


  • Marcus Wagner


This paper analyses empirically the relationship between environmental innovations, environmental management and patenting. In particular it tests a number of propositions on how environmental management systems and the interaction with environmentally more or less concerned stakeholders are associated with the probability of firms to pursue innovation in general (measured as patenting behaviour) and specifically environmental innovation (measured as firm self-assessment and based on patent data). In applying a negative binomial as well as binary discrete choice models the relationship is studied using data on German manufacturing firms. As a novel and important insight, the study finds that environmental innovation can be meaningfully identified using patent data and that environmental innovation defined this way is less ubiquitous than self-reported environmental innovation. It also reveals that the implementation level of environmental management systems has a positive effect exclusively on environmental process innovation, whereas it is negatively associated with the level of a firm’s general patenting activities. For environmental product innovation and patented environmental innovations a positive relationship with environ-mentally concerned and a negative link with environmentally neutral stakeholders is found.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Wagner, 2007. "The Link between Environmental Innovation, Patents, and Environmental Management," DRUID Working Papers 07-14, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:07-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rennings, Klaus, 2000. "Redefining innovation -- eco-innovation research and the contribution from ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 319-332, February.
    2. Rennings, Klaus & Ziegler, Andreas, 2004. "Determinants of Environmental Innovations in Germany: Do Organizational Measures Matter? A Discrete Choice Analysis at the Firm Level," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-30, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. JS Armstrong & Terry Overton, 2005. "Estimating Nonresponse Bias in Mail Surveys," General Economics and Teaching 0502044, EconWPA.
    4. Adam B. Jaffe & Karen Palmer, 1997. "Environmental Regulation And Innovation: A Panel Data Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 610-619, November.
    5. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
    7. Ayuso, Silvia & Rodriguez, Miguel A. & Ricart, Joan E., 2006. "Using stakeholder dialogue as a source for new ideas. A dynamic capability underlying sustainable innovation," IESE Research Papers D/633, IESE Business School.
    8. Ajay Agrawal & Rebecca Henderson, 2002. "Putting Patents in Context: Exploring Knowledge Transfer from MIT," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 44-60, January.
    9. Cohen, Wesley M. & Levin, Richard C., 1989. "Empirical studies of innovation and market structure," Handbook of Industrial Organization,in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 18, pages 1059-1107 Elsevier.
    10. Harhoff, Dietmar & Henkel, Joachim & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: how users benefit by freely revealing their innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1753-1769, December.
    11. Brunnermeier, Smita B. & Cohen, Mark A., 2003. "Determinants of environmental innovation in US manufacturing industries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 278-293, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vanessa OLTRA & Maïder SAINT JEAN, 2009. "Environmental Innovations and Industrial Dynamics (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2009-22, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    2. Christian Le Bas & Nicolas Poussing, 2013. "Firm voluntary measures for environmental changes, eco-innovations and CSR : Empirical analysis based on data surveys," Working Papers 1322, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    3. Vanessa OLTRA (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113), 2008. "Environmental innovation and industrial dynamics: the contributions of evolutionary economics," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-28, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

    More about this item


    Environmental innovations; patents;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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