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Environmental innovation: Using qualitative models to identify indicators for policy

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posted on 2023-05-25, 20:15 authored by Kanerva, M, Arundel, A, Kemp, R
Environmental innovation is an essential part of a knowledge based economy, as environmental innovation makes economies more efficient by encouraging and facilitating the use of fewer material or energy inputs per unit of output. In this respect, environmental innovation replaces material inputs with knowledge. Environmental innovation should also result in fewer externalities, or negative environmental impacts, which affect our health and well-being, also in terms of global climate change. Technology shifts caused by technological breakthroughs, rapid changes in demand for resources, or environmental imperatives could also impel societies to invest more heavily in research on how to use energy and other resources more efficiently. The main goal of this paper is to explore and identify relevant indicators for environmental innovation that could be used to develop innovation policy for all economic sectors, as well as for the field of environmental technologies. This is done firstly with the help of a qualitative model presenting the eco-innovation chain. Based on both literature and our data analysis, our chosen key indicators include measures on: environmental regulations and venture capital for the eco-industry; environmental publications, patents and business R&D; eco-industry exports and FDI; sales from environmentally beneficial innovation across sectors; and environmental impacts related to energy intensity and resource productivity of economies. Finding key eco-innovation indicators related to such factors is important for policy makers, as environmental innovation policy is required to counter the two market failures associated with environmental pollution and the innovation and diffusion of new technologies.


Publication title

UNU-MERIT Working Paper Series

Commissioning body

United Nations University






United Nations University

Place of publication

Maastricht, The Netherlands

Rights statement

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Technological and organisational innovation

Usage metrics

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