The Business case for eco-innovation


Tanja worked with UNEP to uncover successful case studies  that are presented in this report.


The Business Case for Eco-Innovation demonstrates the compelling case for companies to embark on eco-innovation.

Contrary to short-term, incremental improvements, the strategic nature of eco-innovation drives long-term value creation and increased competitiveness, which extends beyond the company gates to the value chain. Eco-innovation requires incorporating sustainability throughout all business operations, based on life-cycle thinking, and solutions tailored to market needs.


Green Business Model Innovation

Companies are increasingly recognising that sustainability can be a source of innovation that can help them become more competitive by either developing new products and services based on new technology or by making changes to their business models. These changes are here referred to as companies’ green business model innovation. Companies might innovate by substituting to greener inputs, reusing or recycling resources, offering their product as a service function while continuing to have ownership of the products, or by developing greener products, services and processes.

Policy needs to be developed in new ways if green growth and green business model innovation is to be enhanced.

New Nature of Innovation

A new nature of innovation is emerging. In order to formulate appropriate innovation policy encompassing a new nature of innovation, it is important to understand how the nature of innovation is changing. Innovation is no longer mainly about science and technology. Firms can innovate in other ways. Co-creation, user involvement, environmental and societal challenges increasingly drive innovation today. Collaborative, global networking and new public private partnerships are becoming crucial elements in companies’ innovation process.

We are convinced that a better understanding of the new nature of innovation, supported by case studies from both the private and public sector, will inspire the way in which we think innovation and create the best conditions for our countries to become global leaders on innovation.