New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series
Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen, Jost Hamschmidt, Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik
Chapter 5: Obstacles to Commercialization of Clean Technology Innovations from UK Ventures
Nicky Dee, Simon Ford and Elizabeth Garnsey1 Since the Industrial Revolution, the economies of the industrialized world have been founded on a carbon-intensive production paradigm. Economically valuable energy resources have been obtained from stores of coal, oil and natural gas. Established companies that produce these energy resources, along with products reliant on these resources, have a market position founded on this paradigm that is not easily modiﬁed or abandoned. Prior developments limit opportunities that established ﬁrms can see or take up. So while many existing companies are aware of pressures from changing environmental conditions, they are constrained in their capacity to generate novelty of organization and output. The result of such constraints is that established companies have a poor track record addressing environmental issues: Many utility companies have failed to take the key steps to equip themselves for the new environment. Fewer than one in ﬁve of European companies . . . has a strategy for climate change and emissions trading in place and fully operational. Even more worryingly, one in ﬁve said they had no climate change strategy at all. Progress is even slower in other markets. Only one in eight of the American companies surveyed, for example, has fully implemented a climate change strategy. (Wiegand and Gledhill, 2004, p. 2) While they occasionally introduce breakthroughs that build on their competences to extend their markets (Tushman and Anderson, 1997), the majority of innovations by established companies are incremental since they are unlikely to undertake innovations that undermine their hardearned competences (Utterback,...
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