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Measuring eco-innovation


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Arundel, A and Kemp, R 2009 , Measuring eco-innovation.

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In this paper we offer a discussion of eco-innovation and methods for measuring it. Eco-innovation is a
new concept of great importance to business and policy makers, covering many innovations of
environmental benefit. Past research and measurement activity primarily focused on pollution control and
abatement activities or on the enviromnental goods and services sector. We argue that eco-innovation
research and data collection should not be limited to such environmentally motivated innovations, but
should encompass all products, processes, or organizational innovations with environmental benefits.
Attention should be broadened to include innovation in or oriented towards resource use, energy
efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, waste minimization, reuse and recycling, new materials (for
example nanotechnology-based) and eco-design. Research should cover the drivers, patterns, and benefits
of eco-innovation for each of these applications, since these factors are likely to differ. For measuring
eco-innovation, no single method or indicator is likely to be sufficient. In general, one should therefore
apply different methods for analyzing eco-innovation - to see the "whole elephant" instead of just a part.
More effort should be devoted towards direct measurement of eco-innovation outputs using documentary
and digital sources to complement the current emphasis on innovation inputs such as R&D or patents.
Innovation can also be measured indirectly from changes in resource efficiency and productivity. These
two avenues are underexplored and should be given more attention in order to augment our rather narrow
knowledge basis.

Item Type: Report (Working Paper)
Authors/Creators:Arundel, A and Kemp, R
Keywords: eco-innovation, measurement, indicators, data needs. JEL codes 01 en 03, RePEc
Publisher: United Nations University
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