Eco-innovation is a term 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.
Origins of the Concept of Eco-innovation
The idea of eco-innovation is fairly recent. 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). In a subsequent article, Peter James defines eco-innovation as 'new products and processes which provide customer and business value but significantly decrease environmental impacts' (James 1997).
Other Related Terms
Eco-innovation is closely linked to a variety of related terms. It is often used interchangeably with 'environmental innovation', and is also often linked with 'environmental technology', 'eco-efficiency', 'eco-design', 'environmental design', 'sustainable design', or 'sustainable innovation'. While 'environmental innovation' is used in similar contexts to 'eco-innovation', the other terms are mostly used when referring to product or process design, and therefore focus more on the technological aspects of eco-innovation rather than the societal or political aspects.