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Innovation and Sustainable Development: From Mainstream Innovation Theory to Sustainable Innovation Research

Innovation and Sustainable Development: From Mainstream Innovation Theory to Sustainable Innovation Research
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Author(s): Michael von Hauff (Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany) and Andrea Jörg (Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 18
Source title: Corporate Environmental Management Information Systems: Advancements and Trends
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Frank Teuteberg (University of Osnabrueck, Germany) and Jorge Marx Gomez (University of Oldenburg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-981-1.ch003

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Abstract

Many economic roundtables have proclaimed innovation as the key to economic growth. The theoretical basis for this view is amply demonstrated by today’s modern innovation theory. However, the fact that innovation also carries ecologic risk was, until recently, largely ignored. The potential for ecologic risk occurs when technologies are developed that threaten environmental damage that perhaps, does not become significant until well into the future. Risk may also occur indirectly when new technologies generate higher productivity but are also responsible for an additional burden on the environment. In principle, within the context of the sustainable development paradigm, innovation must be compatible with the three dimensions: Ecology, Economy and Society. The aim of this paper is to discuss the deficits of the mainstream innovation theory in the context of sustainability in addition to the role and significance of innovation in environmental engineering. This especially includes the opportunities and limitations of eco-innovation with respect to the current environmental policies for sustainable economic growth. A future challenge for research from a business perspective is to align eco-innovation as an integral component of an environmental management information system (CEMIS). In this context, eco-innovation can make a major contribution to environmental protection. However, within the scope of this paper, the focus is primarily on the rationale for sustainable innovation, in particular, eco-innovation.

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