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《Acta Ecologica Sinica》 2010-09
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Eco-innovation:conception,hierarchy and research progress

DONG Ying1,2,SHI Lei3,1 College of Management,Zhejiang University,Hangzhou,3100272 School of Economics and Management,Zhejiang University of Science and Technology,Hangzhou,3100233 ESPC Key Joint Laboratory,Department of Environmental Science and Engineering,Tsinghua University,Beijing 100084,China  
Eco-innovation plays an important role in eco-transition of China′s economic growth model and enhancement of national competitiveness.The concept of eco-innovation was clarified and three characteristics were distinguished from general innovation:(a) double externalities,(b) special technology push and market pull effect,and(c) environmental governance push/pull effect.Subsequently,the classification systems of eco-innovation were discussed and a new system was established based on environmental protection paradigms,comprising end-of-pipe-oriented eco-innovation,process-oriented eco-innovation,product-oriented eco-innovation and system-oriented eco-innovation.The hierarchy of eco-innovation was also framed at micro-,meso-and macro-levels.The micro-level eco-innovation includes private behavior innovation,household innovation and corporate innovation;the meso-level eco-innovation includes sectoral innovation,supply chain innovation and product/service system innovation;and the macro-level eco-innovation includes regional economy innovation,national innovation and global innovation.Among these hierarchies,only corporate,sectoral and national levels′ eco-innovation research progresses were reviewed.Currently,the existing research is focused on the concept definition,motivation identification,performance evaluation and mechanism discrimination.In future,the following research fields should be strengthened:(1) more theoretical studies are needed.Weak normative methods and theoretical foundations can only lead to too general conclusions and lack of relevance;(2) more empirical studies are needed.Existing studies have mostly been limited to the interpretation of qualitative or theoretical derivation,few empirical researches were based on case studies;(3) eco-innovation systems and models should be categorized further.Eco-innovation model varies due to the different industries,regions or countries.Eco-innovation system is composed of business,industry,knowledge institutions,consumers,innovation system and other institutions,the different compositions will bring to different structural features and modes of eco-innovation;(4) to integrate the organization and process management research into corporate eco-innovation.Corporate eco-innovation management will be more and more open and complex.How to improve eco-innovation performance through the integration of internal and external resources? This left us with a lot of study space;(5) to strengthen the comparative study of different countries.Compared with corporate eco-innovation,the regional and national eco-innovations obtained fewer attentions.From the ecology metaphor and eco-innovation particularity,however,more studies are needed at regional,national and global scales because only the larger system can take into account its inherent embeddedness and path dependence.Finally,based on the factors of enterprise eco-innovation,the national ecological competitive strategy,economic development ecological transformation and environmental governance strategic issues,this paper points out that China will miss the ecological revolution if it does not handle properly the timing of eco-innovation.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金资助项目(40601037);; 国家环境模拟与污染控制国家重点联合实验室开放基金课题资助项目(08K10ESPCT)
【CateGory Index】: Q14
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