Eco-innovation offers businesses an increasingly important competitive advantage and an integrative approach to innovation often yields the best results.
The term eco-innovation is used to describe products and processes that contribute to sustainable development. Eco-innovation is the commercial application of knowledge to elicit direct or indirect ecological improvements. It is often used to describe a range of related ideas, from environmentally friendly technological advances to socially-acceptable innovative paths towards sustainability. One of the first appearances of the concept of eco-innovation in the literature is in the book by Claude Fussler and Peter James (1996).
Eco-innovation requires a workforce that can consider problems from multiple perspectives and that can effectively work in cross-functional teams. For example, experience in chemistry and physics is required to tackle things like photovoltaics, polymers and greener chemical production.
For an integrative approach, research and development need to encompass the entire life cycle, and this information needs to be continuously shared among the various work groups. Green innovation is about maintaining a sustainable focus and this requires continuous project evaluation from idea to commercialization. It is important to ensure that each phase creates a feedback loop that continually informs decision-making.
The common business basics of location, capital construction, and equipment considerations, need to be viewed from a sustainability perspective. For some, the hurdle for green innovation is related to physical infrastructure rather than human resources or knowledge.
Green innovation is a significant challenge, but an integrative approach increases the possibilities for significant rewards.
10 Steps to Sustainability-Driven Innovation
Sustainability is a Catalyst for Innovation
Sustainable Brands 2010
Sustainable Brands Innovation Open Finalists
Sustainable Successes and Failures
Sustainable Business Methods, Strategy, Management and Reporting
Sustainability is an Unstoppable Megatrend
The Overwhelming Logic of Sustainable Business
Climate Counts: Businesses Combating Climate Change
Social Action Driving Businesses to Adopt Sustainable Practices
Consumers Continue to Embrace the Burgeoning Green Market
The 2010 World Energy Technologies Summit
America’s Most Sustainable Businesses
Canada’s Most Sustainable Businesses
Social Media and Sustainability
Environmental Revolution: Leadership and Morale