The Greening of Innovation Systems for Eco-innovation - Towards an Evolutionary Climate Mitigation Policy

Maj Munch Andersen, Timothy J. Foxon

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    Policies for mitigating climate change have never received as much attention worldwide as now. At the same time another upcoming policy trend is the increasing synthesis between innovation- and environmental policy, a synthesis that is captured by the “eco-innovation” concept. However, the climate and innovation policy areas are currently little aligned and have in fact been considered “opposites” until very recently.
    The paper seeks to identify how evolutionary economic theory, hitherto very little applied to the environmental area, may guide the development of climate policies and eco-innovation policies in important ways. The paper argues that the evolutionary economic perspective entails a new policy rationale which not only puts more emphasis on greening of markets as a means towards reaching climate goals but also shifts the representation of the economy towards a more dynamic one. The policy implications of this shift are considerable and have hitherto gained little attention.
    A deeper understanding of eco-innovation dynamics is strongly needed for informing both climate and innovation policies. The paper argues that the fact that environmental problems have largely been neglected by evolutionary economic research illustrates a lack of genuine systems thinking within this line of thought, despite the prominence of systems ideas. The paper proposes a strong paradigmatic explanation of eco-innovation based on a combination of innovation systems thinking and an evolutionary capabilities approach.
    Based on this frame the paper provides policy recommendations arguing that the innovation system concept may form a needed analytical frame for translating overall carbon reduction goals into innovation targets. The paper suggests a long run policy for creating a high innovative capacity for eco-innovation among sectoral, national and regional innovation systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAccepted papers - DRUID Summer Conference 2009
    Number of pages35
    PublisherDRUID Society
    Publication date2009
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventDRUID Summer Conference 2009 - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 17 Jun 200919 Jun 2009


    ConferenceDRUID Summer Conference 2009


    • Eco-innovation
    • Climate mitigation policy
    • Innovation policy
    • Evolutionary economic theory
    • Innovation Systems
    • Paradigm change
    • Industrial dynamics


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