Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Paula Kyrö
Chapter 13: Commercializing clean technology innovations: the emergence of new business in an agency–structure perspective
Since the 1970s, environment and energy-related problems have moved to centre stage on many political, business and research agendas. The notion of sustainable development has emerged as the dominant global discourse to adapt societies and economies to novel modes of production and consumption in areas such as transport, energy, housing, agriculture and food. For such shifts, new technology and technological change is considered of critical importance. In other words, clean technology (cleantech) is seen as indispensable to solve or at least abate an environmental and energy crisis without abandoning possibilities for progress and economic growth. This, however, does not imply that sustainable development can be readily achieved through a ‘technical fix’. The innovation and commercial introduction of new technology are inherently uncertain processes that fail more often than they succeed. Following information technology and biotechnology, clean technology is often heralded in policy and investment circles as the new general purpose or platform technology to give rise to growing market opportunities for firms, regions and nations. Similar to its predecessors, initial enthusiasm may have outpaced a more fundamental understanding of the nature and characteristics of this emerging field. It is probably fair to say that a common definition of the cleantech concept is yet to be agreed upon.
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