OECD Studies on Environmental Innovation

2074-3483 (online)
2074-3491 (print)
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This series of publications examines how technological innovation can make improvements in the environment more effective and more cost-effective.
Also available in French
Better Policies to Support Eco-innovation

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15 Mar 2011
9789264096684 (PDF) ;9789264096677(print)

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Eco-innovation is more important than ever on the public policy agenda. It is a major driver for green growth and contributes to the environmental performance and economic development of OECD and developing countries alike.

This report takes a pragmatic approach to policies that support the development and diffusion of eco-innovation. Building on the OECD Innovation Strategy, it argues that eco-innovation is not merely about technological developments: non-technical innovations matter as well. It acknowledges that policies do not operate in a vacuum and that they must take account of the contexts that influence the development and diffusion of eco-innovation, such as market structures. It explores links between eco-innovation policies and related fields such as industry, competition, and international cooperation.

This work builds on an OECD inventory of eco-innovation policies in OECD countries and in China. It also draws on studies of select environment-friendly innovations, highlighting different patterns of development across countries. It also incorporates extensive international consultation on the topics of eco-innovation and green growth.

The results from this publication will contribute to the Green Growth Strategy being developed by the OECD as a practical policy package for governments to harness the potential of greener growth.

For more information on OECD work on eco-innovation, visit: www.oecd.org/greengrowth

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  • Foreword
    This report was developed as part of the OECD Programme of Work and Budget on eco-innovation. One of its objectives is to identify best practices in order to support the development and the deployment of ecoinnovation. This work builds on the OECD Innovation Strategy which was released in May 2010. It complements other work on eco-innovation at the OECD, which includes assessing the impact of environmental policies on eco-innovation and the role of eco-innovation in pursuing green growth.
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations
  • Executive summary
    Innovative products, services, processes or business models can benefit the environment by reducing pressure on natural resources and/or the emission of pollutants. At the same time, environmentally friendly innovation can foster economic development. The environmental goods and services industry is growing fast in OECD and non-member countries alike. Like information technologies a few decades ago, it can enhance the competitiveness of other industries. This explains why a number of OECD governments see environmentally friendly innovation (hereafter ecoinnovation) as a major driver of green growth.
  • Résumé
    Les innovations dans les produits, services, processus ou modèles d’activité peuvent être bénéfiques pour l’environnement car elles peuvent réduire la pression exercée sur les ressources naturelles et/ou l’émission de polluants. Parallèlement, des innovations favorables à l’environnement peuvent stimuler le développement économique. Le secteur des biens et services environnementaux connaît une croissance rapide dans les pays membres de l’OCDE comme dans les pays non membres. Tout comme les technologies de l’information il y a quelques décennies, ce secteur peut accroître la compétitivité d’autres secteurs. C’est la raison pour laquelle un certain nombre de pays de l’OCDE voient dans les innovations favorables à l’environnement (appelées ci-après éco-innovation) l’un des principaux moteurs de la croissance verte.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Policy issues for eco-innovation: An overview

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    • Introduction
      Eco-innovation is an elusive concept, and it is hard to give a robust definition. An inventory of eco-innovation policies in OECD countries unveils a variety of definitions across countries (and sometimes across authorities in a single country).
    • Towards eco-innovation
      Eco-innovation does not necessarily involve new knowledge or new technologies, and it may not originate in the environmental domain. For this reason, the spectrum of eco-innovation policies is very broad. Their measurement requires a complex set of indicators, including those on environmental impact. The co-ordination and stability of jurisdictions and policy instruments are essential. A comprehensive national reference document can facilitate co-ordination and enhance consistency, especially if it is based on good information. The most efficient policy design takes account of the development pattern of an eco-innovation, which generates opportunities for co-operation, economies of scope and scale, and/or competition.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Case studies on selected eco-innovations

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    • Combined heat and power
      This chapter examines the role of public policies in the potential deployment of commercially efficient CHP solutions, with empirical observations from Canada and Germany. It considers the nature of the technological environment for CHP, market and demand characteristics, the specific challenges faced by this technology, and the various domestic policies and instruments implemented to support its wider adoption.
    • Micro combined heat and power generation
      This case study focuses on micro combined heat and power fuel cells (micro-CHP fuel cells). It is mainly based on field investigations (literature review, interviews) in Germany, which has interesting initiatives to foster the development of these technologies. The results of similar investigations in France, where development is less advanced, are also presented to add contrast to the German case and draw lessons from the differences in the two countries’ system configurations and strategies of public and private stakeholders.
    • Carbon capture and storage
      This case study examines the role of public policies in the potential deployment of commercially efficient CCS solutions, with empirical observations from Canada, France and Germany. It considers the technological environment and the proposed eco-innovation, market and demand characteristics, specific challenges, and domestic policies to support CCS. It underlines the crucial role of initial (economic, industrial, regulatory) conditions in shaping the objectives, the nature and the timing of public policies for CCS innovation.
    • Electric cars
      This case study examines policy issues for electric car eco-innovation in an ad hoc analytical framework. It examines in turn the complex technological environment of electric vehicles, the expected market and demand characteristics, the specific diffusion challenges faced by this technology, and the domestic policies and instruments implemented to support their larger adoption in Canada, France and Germany.
    • Biopackaging
      Although clear benefits could be gained from the widespread adoption of biopackaging, research on the potential scope and instruments for public policies to support its development and deployment has shown that these could only play a minor and secondary role. This case study explores the two main reasons for this.
    • Solar tiles in Portugal
      This case study focuses on solar tiles, a niche in the solar photovoltaic energy domain. Solar tiles are tiles equipped with photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The specific focus is the solar tiles being developed by a Portuguese consortium of companies, research institutes and a governmental agency.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Case studies on selected public-private partnerships for eco-innovation

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    • The UK Carbon Trust
      The case study on the Carbon Trust looks at the use of a public-private partnership to develop and diffuse eco-innovation. It considers the advantages and potential disadvantages and risks and the external and internal coherence of its operations as well as the results and impact of the structure and the conditions necessary for its efficient functioning.
    • Sustainable Development Technology Canada
      This case study examines Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) in terms of the potential role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in promoting eco-innovation. It considers the relevance and efficiency of this instrument for supporting eco-innovation and compares PPPs with alternative instruments to stimulate ecoinnovation.
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