Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 5: Taxonomy and dimensions of eco-innovation from a resource-based perspective

Javier Carrillo-Hermosilla, Christoph P. Kiefer and Pablo del Río


The need for a sustainability transition is undisputed. Ecological innovation (eco-innovation) is a possible mechanism with which to reach a fully sustainable economy and society. Several types of eco-innovation exist, that is, end-of-pipe, efficiency or effectiveness related. While all contribute to the sustainability transition, they have different impacts, ranging from local optimization to systemic redesign, that is, for the circular economy. In that sense, past research has brought forward many definitions and conceptualizations. The aim of this chapter is to go a step further and contribute to a universal taxonomy by characterizing eco-innovations departing from the resource-based view of the firm. Therefore, four dimensions of eco-innovations are contrasted against six groups of firm resources. It is found that, depending on eco-innovation types and dimensions, the respective antecedents are different, that is, certain resources facilitate local optimization while systemic eco-innovations are the result of cooperation (joint efforts and resource bases) of several innovators. This chapter provides a precise conceptualization of the interaction between firm resources and eco-innovations.

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