Eco-innovation in cleantech companies
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The purpose of this study is to define to which extent eco-innovation is implemented in the strategies of Nordic cleantech companies and to determine the main drivers for ecoinnovation in this sector. Eco-innovation is a rather new field and most of the research on this subject originates from the book “Driving Eco-Innovation - A breakthrough discipline for innovation and sustainability” published by Fussler and James in 1996. Eco-innovation has been researched through case studies in large and small sized companies (E. Jones, 2001; Popoff & DeSimone 1997 et al.), but not in cleantech companies. My purpose was to study how the concept of eco-innovation is perceived in companies producing clean technology by conducting ten focused interviews with Nordic cleantech companies chosen from the Nordic Cleantech 50 list. The results of the interviews show that the Nordic cleantech companies interviewed for this study have insufficient knowledge of eco-innovation. None of the companies confirmed consciously implementing eco-innovation in their strategies. The study suggests that the drivers for eco-innovation listed by the interviewees, including the end-user perspective, are somewhat similar to the drivers for broader innovation. The only driver which is specifically typical for eco-innovation, is the goal to save the planet and to play a part in the pollution reduction process. The regulations were not considered as an essential barrier for eco-innovation, rather as a framework which ensured a healthy competition environment. In order to remain competitive in the global market, Nordic cleantech companies should implement sustainability in the entire value chain of their products.