Co-ordinator: Vanessa OLTRA, GREThA, University Montesquieu Bordeaux IV
Presentation of the working package
The purpose of this WP is to start up a working community within DIME addressing the issue of environmental innovation. The development of a DIME working papers series on that topic, as well as the organization of a workshop and a conference, will allow us to extend collaborations and interactions among researchers on that topic.
Environmental innovation, also called eco-innovation, is a recent concept which is at the very core of public policies towards sustainable development. Over the last decade, numerous works have been done on the impact of environmental regulation upon the competitiveness of firms and the incentives to innovate. Since Porter's works in the 1990s, environmental innovations progressively appear not only as an induced outcome of regulation, but also as a way for firms to compensate the costs of compliance through innovation offset effects and so to increase their competitiveness. The theoretical and empirical literature on that topic is expanding since environmental innovations are now considered to be a necessary condition for the achievement of massive reductions in the level of polluting emissions. In spite of this increasing interest for environmental innovation, the concept remains vague with unclear outlines. This Working Package aims at pulling together empirical and theoretical contributions towards a better understanding of environmental innovations.
The first part of the WP consists in sharing and exchanging within the network our experience and knowledge on the characteristics, the determinants and the indicators of environmental innovations. The research will concentrate on the main features of the different types of environmental innovation in terms of motivations, sources of incentive, environmental impacts and market effects. The question of measuring environmental innovations is also of prime importance since our objective is to identify, through empirical data and indicators, some stylized facts. The role of regulation and of the other instruments of environmental policy will also be considered, in particular their effects on the type of induced environmental innovations. The second part of the research project is dedicated to sectoral analyses. The evolutionary literature shows that sectors provide a relevant level of analysis of innovation allowing to identify sectoral patterns of innovation. The works on technological regimes and on sectoral systems of innovation provide a framework for analyzing the determinants of innovation and the characteristics of industrial dynamics at a sectoral level. Since environmental innovations share common features with innovation in general, we propose to apply such a sectoral framework for analyzing the patterns of environmental innovation of industrial firms. The researchers involved in this WP have expertise in the analysis of various sectors, in particular the sectors of energy, water, transportation and energy. Our purpose is to mobilize the various contributions of the researchers involved in the network in order to collect data and knowledge on sectoral patterns of environmental innovation. For each considered sector, we will analyze the role of regulation and policy instruments, the type of environmental innovations, the innovative strategy of firms and their impact upon industrial dynamics.
Lines of action
The development of a site "Environmental innovation" on the DIME website: This subsite will provide a common platform for sharing knowledge and information among researchers. It will provide a description of the activities of the WP, with direct calls for participation in the workshop and in the conference, a working paper series on environmental innovation, as well as a bibliographic database. This last item will be used as a tool for building a common research framework and for diffusing publications and references within the community.
A first workshop on "Empirical analyses of environmental innovation" will be held at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI in Karlsruhe (http://www.isi.fhg.de/n/departm.htm), January 17-18 2008.
An international conference in Bordeaux (GREThA, University Bordeaux IV) will be organized in September 11-13 2008.