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Industry eco-innovation strategies for process upgrading: systemic limits of internalising externalities

Levidow, Les; Blind, Michiel; Lindgaard-Jørgensen, Palle; Nilsson, Åsa and Skenhall, Sara Alongi (2016). Industry eco-innovation strategies for process upgrading: systemic limits of internalising externalities. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 28(2) pp. 190–204.

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Industry has been upgrading its production processes through eco-innovation combining environmental and economic benefits, thus reducing some resource burdens which otherwise lie outside economic accounting. Some companies have shown interest in evaluating investment options for resource burdens and total value-added across a whole-system value chain. Our EC research project developed a method for whole-system assessment of eco-innovation with multi-stakeholder cooperation.

In three cases presented here, tensions arise among various aims, resource burdens, system levels, beneficiaries and timescales, thus complicating the concept of eco-innovation as a win-win strategy. Radical eco-innovation would depend on extra functions, value-chain actors and resource usages which can provide greater overall benefits. But such investment faces many systemic obstacles. Eco-innovation remains path-dependent, thus limiting the scope to internalise environmental externalities. The tensions and difficulties cast doubt on an EC strategy emphasising uptake of eco-innovative technologies as the means to decouple economic growth from resource burdens.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1465-3990
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
EcoWater: meso-level eco-efficiency indicators to assess technologies and their uptake in water use sectors’282882European Commission
Keywords: industry strategy; process upgrading; whole-system (meso-level); eco-innovation; value chain
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
International Development & Inclusive Innovation
Item ID: 44813
Depositing User: Les Levidow
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2015 10:33
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 09:55
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