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Innovation and Sustainable Development: Introduction


Innovation and Sustainable Development — Lessons for Innovation Policies? Introduction and Overview

When the modern industrial economy emerged the natural environment was considered an unlimited resource by industrial managers and most economists — nowadays we know better: the industrial economy needs fundamental re-thinking. A worldwide polluted environment, shrinking natural resources and ever growing social problems call for radically new concepts for the future industrial society. Since 1987 “sustainable development” became a key notion for visions of a production and consumption system that is able to reduce the use of natural resources and to avoid pollution to the maximum possible extent, blaming the simply growth oriented type of industrial technologies.
Uwe Kuntze, Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, Rainer Walz

Can a Market Economy Produce Industrial Innovations that Lead to Environmental Sustainability?

The subject of the session from which this paper takes it title has several levels of meaning, some explicit, some implied. Logically there is a prior question to that in the title, namely: are industrial innovations required if environmental sustainability is to be achieved? If ‘yes’, then the question in the title becomes relevant, and its answer is obviously, but not very interestingly, also ‘yes’. There are very many industrial innovations in market economies that reduce environmental burdens and therefore may be said to ‘lead to environmental sustainability’. This answer immediately begs further, more interesting questions, such as:
  • Can a market economy produce enough industrial innovations to achieve environmental sustainability?
  • If ‘yes’, will this happen more or less automatically as markets evolve in conditions of environmental deterioration, or will it need to be stimulated by government policy and intervention?
  • If the latter, what kinds of policies and interventions are likely to be required? A decision-diagram showing these questions and their implications is shown in figure 1.
Paul Ekins

Guiding Prinicples for Sustainable Industrial Innovations


Industrial Innovation Strategies — Towards an Environmentally Sustainable Industrial Economy

This contribution sets out from the assumption that policies in our states will try to develop actions and relations between actors in such a way that the second scenario of global development, as described in the introduction of this book, will be aimed at: i.e. a development with growing North/South inequality and regionally limited crises would be the background for innovations and innovation policy. The industrial innovation strategies discussed in this paper would aim at supporting this path towards an ecologically sustainable economy though it does not seem to be clear yet, if these strategies would suffice to reach the goal.
Frieder Meyer-Krahmer

The Firm’s Perspective of Industrial Innovation Strategies Towards an Environmentally Sustainable Industrial Economy

The need to achieve sustainable development represents an enormous challenge for society. It means that within the space of a few decades we will have to learn how to use energy and raw materials much more efficiently. According to some estimates, within the next 50 years the burden on the environment will, on average, have to be reduced to one tenth of the current levels in highly industrialized, Western countries (this means an increase in eco-efficiency by a factor of ten) (Weterings, Opschoor 1992). As a first step into this direction von Weizsäcker, Lovins and Lovins (1995) promote an increase in eco-efficiency by a factor of four (this means one quarter of current levels).
Jacqueline Cramer

Business Strategies for a Sustainable Society

The present industrial economy, which has developed over the last 200 years in today’s industrialized countries, is based on the optimization of the production process in order to reduce unit costs and thus overcome the scarcity of goods of all kinds, from food to shelter to durable goods, which was the norm 200 years ago. Emphasis is on more efficient process technologies, and a better quality of the goods at the point of sale.
Walter R. Stahel

Services Instead of Products: Experiences from Energy Markets — Examples from Sweden

The overall objective of energy systems is to provide energy services, at affordable cost and without socially unacceptable side effects. However, energy related security, development, and environmental problems will continue to worsen if present trends in energy demand and the energy supply mix persist. Therefore, energy was a critical area of debate at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In Agenda 21, chapter 9, two directions for the energy system to evolve were identified: (1) more efficient production, transmission and distribution, and end-use of energy, and (2) greater reliance on environmentally sound energy systems, particularly new and renewable sources of energy (UNCED, 1992).
Lars J. Nilsson

Policy Issues: Requirements and Consequences


The Policy Concept Behind the Dutch National Environmental Policy Plans

The Dutch Cabinet Lubbers-1 (Christian Democrats and Liberals, 1982–1986) focussed on balancing the budgets after the economic decline in the second oil crisis (1979), on deregulation and general improvement of economic conditions in the country.
Paul E. de Jongh

The Role of RTD Policy and the Adequate Policy Mix — Comprehensive Policy Approaches and Problems of Implementation

RTD policies were traditionally oriented towards creating scientific results — strengthening the national (or global) science base. The increasing understanding of the importance of knowledge for economic and social development oriented the focus of the RTD policies more towards the problems of dissemination and utilization of knowledge in the 1980’s. New concepts such as the systems model of innovation, national systems of innovation, the distribution power of innovation systems etc. together with a better understanding of knowledge, i.e. the distinction between tacit and codified knowledge, expanded the scope of RTD policies further in the 1990’s. Networking and absorptive capacity of firms became important issues in the RTD policies. A new concept of innovation policy was developed to complement the traditional RTD policy.
Erkki Ormala



Research and Technology Policies and Sustainable Development — The Situation in the USA, Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands

For this study research and technology (R&T) policy was defined in analogy to the delimination of the political sector as resulting from the nature of the departments of the German Federal Ministry for Education, Science, Research and Technology (BMBF). Other fields of governmental action with sustained effect on technological development and diffusion as e.g. public purchasing or the factual intervention, e.g. in the field of infrastructure technologies (traffic infrastructure amongst others things) were only taken into consideration when strong indications as to their systematical use with regard to the paradigm resulted. Government regulations are dealt with accordingly.
Uwe Kuntze


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