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Services and the Green Economy addresses a significant gap in the knowledge and understanding of sustainable economic development. Bringing together a range of expert contributions the book analyses the role of services and service industries in the transition to a greener economy. Framed by an approach within environmental economic geography, chapters written by leading researchers from a range of disciplines explore how service industries, service firms and service activities are at heart of green economic processes. Adopting a global perspective, it includes research from the US, Europe, South America and Japan, providing a detailed insight into how the crucial role of service industry activity has often been ignored in current understandings of a green economic transition.



1. Introduction: Services and the Green Economy

The debate about the emergence of an environmentally sustainable global economy has become more substantial and diverse in the last decade, and at times arguably more controversial. Early concepts of the ‘green economy’ in the 1990s (e.g., Jacobs 1996) have been superseded by a variety of different concepts of how economic activity might become environmentally sustainable (Bina 2013), what it constitutes (Dryzek 2005), how it should be measured and a plethora of critiques levelled at competing popular and policy manifestations of the idea of a green economy (e.g., Le Blanc 2011; Caprotti and Bailey 2014). Yet, equally, the concept of a green economy has gained much wider currency as a policy paradigm and acceptance within state and in international policy discourses (UNEP 2011; UNDP 2012). A key aspect of this conceptual evolution is the way that the green economy has been reframed as a combined response to meet economic, climatic and environmental challenges, although acknowledging in this that enormous challenges around both the commitment of actors and practical implementation remain (Newton and Cantarello 2014).

Andrew Jones, Patrik Ström, Brita Hermelin, Grete Rusten

Services and the ‘Greening’ of Economic Development


2. Green Services Development: Aspects of Local Policy and Cross-Sector Interactions

This first empirical chapter discusses how green services develop in different local settings with a particular focus on the role of the public sector and how activities of local authorities affect the development of such services. These activities include policy actions and project activities. Green services are present in many different industries and in private and public sectors. Technical services, management and education are important specialisations. Green services need to be defined by their aim of bringing improvements as regards environmental impacts (cf. Vinnova 2013). The framework for discussion is sustainable discourses and how these are translated locally as important factors that influence the development of green services. The focus is on the role of the discourse on green growth and how it influences both sustainable policy and green services. Initiatives, incentives, and resources for the development of green services may derive from policy and from business, and through collaborations across sectors and between organisations.

Brita Hermelin

3. The Structure, Strategy and Geography of Green Certification Services

The environmental and climate challenges facing our planet require more sustainable resource management solutions in the coming years. Environmental performance levels in the business community often reflect the need to meet laws and regulations (licence to operate) or green strategies that may involve innovation and branding of new business opportunities. In this respect, certification schemes can be used as a tool to integrate environmental engagement into daily activities, which according to Testa et al. (2014) is a procedure to plan, do, check and act. A certification project may include full-scale documentation, status reports, future goals, evaluations and plans for further action. This may be a way of identifying potential improvements that have positive environmental effects linked to energy use, material input or pollution. Companies may not least be motivated to improve their environmental performance if such investment generates positive economic returns (White and Noble 2013). Certification projects also include transparent performance indicators that are useful for both regulative purposes and branding. Many environmental certifications are thus oriented towards products. These certificates may be linked to voluntary programmes associated with, for example, organic foods, or compulsory programmes, for example, the labelling of energy products regulated through the European Union (EU) energy and energy-related product classification (Eur-Lex, Directive 2009/125/EC). However, a different category is certification management systems, which focus on the firm unit or the company as a whole.

Grete Rusten

4. Remanufacturing as an Enabler for Green Service Models

In today’s society, especially in developed countries, people enjoy materially affluent lives. This affluence presupposes the consumption of vast amounts of energy and material resources. Considering the world’s growing and increasingly affluent population, current consumption patterns lead to scarcity, volatility, and pricing levels that are unaffordable for our economy’s manufacturing basis (Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2013). Society needs to cope with these problems by substantially improving resource productivity. Though there are a number of requirements for realizing the green economy, such improvement of material resource productivity is a crucial element. Achieving this improved productivity requires a paradigm shift in industrial systems. This paradigm shift is possibly facilitated by manufacturing industries’ movement toward servitization. This chapter addresses the opportunities and challenges of the transitions.

Mitsutaka Matsumoto, Nabil Nasr

5. The Transformative Roles of Knowledge-Intensive Business Services in Developing Green ICT: Evidence from Gothenburg, Sweden

The spatial complexities of green economy are sparse in the literature but there is growing interest in research on Environmental Economic Geography as an emerging field (Bridge 2008; Soyez and Schulz 2008), the local aspects of developing green technology (Weiss 2008), and the eco-network (Störmer 2008) as well as theoretical/empirical contributions to the conceptualization of green economy (Caprotti and Bailey 2014; Gibbs and O’Neill 2014). Ecological modernization and transition management approaches have been influencing geographers (Aoyama et al. 2010, p. 221; Cooke 2013). The ecological modernization perspective embraces the role of technology innovation and institution to unfold the green future. The transition theory applies a systematic perspective to stress that this process involves the co-evolution of social, economic, political and scientific-technological subsystems (Cooke 2011). However, none of these thoughts emphasizes the role of service activities, in particular the knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) activities during green transition. If technology, institution and structure are the visible components of the ‘greening’ system, what are the soft conjunctions to connect and synchronize these heterogeneous activities? This question leads us to think about the roles of KIBS in the greening process of the economy. Previous research shows that KIBS are of importance in economic structural change and regional competitiveness as co-producers of innovation (Wood 2009; Bryson 2009; Ström and Wahlqvist 2010; Daniels 2013; Yeh and Yang 2013). A recent study of the business service industry for the European Union also shows the importance and potential of advanced services for future economic growth (EU 2014). One of the most significant contributions from these services is the intermediary role they play for knowledge transfer and productivity gains across industrial bases. Additionally, the international reach of these service providers is also important for achieving cross-sector competitive advantage. The techno-social transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy is also a process of innovation. KIBS make up the ‘glue’ that holds heterogeneous economic activities together (Riddle 1986, p. 26) and act as facilitators, carriers or sources of innovation (Hertog 2000).

Xiangxuan Xu, Patrik Ström

6. Market Conditions for Sustainable Entrepreneurship: A Case Study of Green Support Services

The process toward a greener economy requires a better integration of environmental performance into the production and consumption system. Development and dissemination of goods and services that are less environmentally harmful than current solutions is considered to be an important contributor to a greener economy (Schaper 2002; Schaltegger and Wagner 2011). Positioned within the ecological modernization discourse, the term ecopreneurship is increasingly applied to enterprising individuals and businesses attempting such endeavors (Gibbs 2009). This perspective proposes entrepreneurship as a solution to, rather than a cause of, environmental degradation. However, enterprises and entrepreneurs initiating ecopreneurial activities often experience difficulties in terms of creating efficient markets. A recent stream of literature has begun to explore the barriers and opportunities related to environmental markets (see Cohen and Winn 2007; Dean and McMullen 2007; Dixon and Clifford 2007; Carrillo-Hermosilla et al. 2009; York and Venkataraman 2010). Yet most of these contributions rely on theoretical deliberations with limited support from empirical case studies. Moreover, the few empirical studies to date tend to focus on environmental goods (e.g., environmental technology) and often neglect the important role of environmental services (see Pastakia 1998; Dee et al. 2008). In response, this chapter seeks to expand the boundaries of the research area by exploring the market conditions for environmental services. Furthermore, this contribution provides an empirical basis necessary for understanding the market conditions that give rise to service-based ecopreneurship.

Helge Lea Tvedt

Services and the Transition to Green Energy


7. Greening Finance and Financing the Green: Considerations and Observations on the Role of Finance in Energy Transitions

The energy sector accounts for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions (International Energy Agency 2013, p. 1), making it pivotal to determining whether internationally agreed-upon climate change goals can be achieved. Accordingly, there are no realistic doubts about the need for a profound transformation of this sector in most parts of the world that would contribute to the development of a green economy with more sustainable modes of energy production and consumption. Recently, however, there is a growing understanding in both the academic and the public debates about the fact that such a “sustainability transition” (Coenen and Truffer 2012, p. 367) requires enormous financial investments and that many countries suffer substantial gaps between current investment levels and those required to transition to a low-carbon economy. To reach the 2020 energy targets of the European Union (EU) alone, this gap is estimated to be approximately 500 billion euros (Jacobsson and Jacobsson 2012).

Hans-Martin Zademach, Johanna Dichtl

8. Carbon Offsetting and Corporate Strategies: The Case of Large German Firms

Carbon offsetting and the associated actors and markets have become an important part of what some call the green economy. Introduced as an instrument to fight climate change, carbon offsetting constitutes a market mechanism in which financial support of emission-reduction projects is exchanged for tradable carbon credits. These credits are an artificial commodity based on the absence of emissions and are called carbon offsets (Knox-Hayes 2013). In contrast to green services aimed at reducing emissions in a firm’s, an organization’s or household’s production and consumption processes directly, engagement in carbon offsetting also leads to emission reductions, but in other contexts and locations.

Britta Klagge, Sebastian Reimer

9. Who Is Driving the ‘Smart City’ Agenda? Assessing Smartness as a Governance Strategy for Cities in Europe

Smart cities are now widely acclaimed as a key policy approach to achieve the greening of the economy, and in particular, to address urban energy challenges. ‘Smartness’ has long been primarily about information and communications technologies (ICTs). More recently however, strong claims have been made for the usefulness of thinking through smartness for the purposes of creating low-carbon and energy-efficient cities. Series of energy-related smart city initiatives exist in Europe, the USA and elsewhere, along with an emerging discourse about the potential of new forms of mobility in cities that integrate renewable energies, public modes of transportation and Internet communication.

Håvard Haarstad

Contrasting Industry Cases: Engineering, Viticulture and Construction


10. Service Engineering Research in Japan: Towards a Sustainable Society

This chapter presents an overview of service engineering research in Japan. Based on reflection on the difficulties resulting from mass production and consumption, a new engineering paradigm to create more value with less resource consumption has become necessary. Service is a central concept in this paradigm. Service engineering research has been conducted to design and develop services to realize sustainable industry and society. This chapter presents explanations of two major trends in the service engineering research in Japan and their representative methods. Additionally, three application cases are introduced, with emerging topics in this research area.

Kentaro Watanabe, Masaaki Mochimaru, Yoshiki Shimomura

11. The Greening of Chilean Wineries Through Specialized Services

It is widely recognized that conventional wine-producing practices can seriously damage the environment (Desta 2008). Environmental damage occurs throughout the wine value chain due to inputs (such as chemicals, energy, packaging materials and water) and outputs (such as organic waste, solid and liquid waste, CO2 emissions and a water footprint). Within this context, there has been growing pressure around the world to improve the environmental sustainability of the wine sector over the past two decades. The issue of environmental sustainability has arisen in part from the wine sector itself, due to the negative impacts of climate change (less rainfall and more frequent and extreme weather conditions) it has suffered. Moreover, wine consumers are increasingly concerned with reducing their carbon footprint (CF), which is another pressure on winemakers to improve their environmental impact.

Andrew Berry, Nanno Mulder, Ximena Olmos

12. Keeping Up with the Pace of Green Building: Service Provision in a Highly Dynamic Sector

According to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Green Economy Report (2011), energy consumption of buildings in most of the industrialized countries accounts for around one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. The building sector also consumes more than a third of global resources and contributes by about 40 % to solid waste streams (mainly through demolition but also construction) in developed countries (UNEP 2011, p. 341). But while having been identified as the single largest contributor to human-related greenhouse gas emissions, the sector is also considered to hold the greatest potential to lower emissions based on the relatively low case of retrofitting existing or constructing new buildings (IPCC 2014). Following the realization of these potentials, the last years have witnessed the emergence of a green building agenda in many countries across the globe including technical and organizational innovations in the conception of single buildings (both residential and commercial) as well as enlarged approaches to the role and impact of the built environment in cities including neighbourhood and public infrastructures planning. The sector’s dynamic is partly caused and sustained by a high commitment of public authorities (e.g., via co-funding or tax exemption schemes) and seconded by the involvement of semi-public agencies (e.g., municipal building corporations, energy agencies, public housing services, vocational learning centres). Although the main focus is on low carbon objectives and energy efficiency, social objectives are also present mainly by acknowledging user interactions with their built environment around questions of health and quality of life.

Christian Schulz, Bérénice Preller

13. Conclusion: The Central Role of Services in the Greening of the Economy

In drawing this book to a conclusion, we do not intend to claim that all of the preceding contributions share the same theoretical perspective, definition of service industry activity or are approaching their various topics regarding greening the economy with equivalent research questions. It should also be obvious to the reader in reaching the end of this collection that the various authors have deployed a range of different theoretical and methodological approaches in order to address their respective topics. Imposing some kind of post hoc rationale or unifying order by way of a concluding intervention would thus be both inappropriate and unconvincing, but more importantly we would argue it is undesirable and unnecessary. As we set out in the introductory chapter, this book has sought to make the case of service-based economic geographical perspective on the greening of the economy, and despite various differences as well as different disciplinary backgrounds, we would argue that the contributions in this book all in different ways reinforce the significant value of this approach. Not least, this volume has demonstrated a full range of roles services play in moving our economies in a greener direction. In this short final chapter, we want to outline a range of common insights that emerge from the different chapters and that cut across the different objects of study and case studies explored throughout the book. Having done this, we then return to draw out what implications these common insights have for our arguments for an economic geographical service-based perspective that many of the contributions in this book align with. The book then ends with a number of arguments about how this research agenda might be developed in the future and what value that might bring to the wider debates about the transition to a greener economy.

Andrew Jones, Patrik Ström, Brita Hermelin, Grete Rusten


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