Keywords: sustainable development, eco-innovation, environmental innovation, sustainable innovation, sustainability, classification, Sweden, system innovation, scientific breakthrough, product improvement, business
Innovations that combine environmental and business aspects
This study is an attempt to improve the understanding of eco-innovations and to generate knowledge that can be used to stimulate their diffusion and adoption. The main objective of this study is to develop a new classification system for eco-innovations. The methodological approach chosen is a case study of 150 winning entries to the Swedish Environmental Innovation Competition. The entries that reached the finals were investigated and classified according to the new classification system into six different types: (1) product care, (2) minor product improvements, (3) major product improvements, (4) functional innovation, (5) system innovation, and (6) scientific breakthrough. The results show that more than 75% of the eco-innovations are classified as 'product care', 'minor product improvements' and 'major product improvements'; but in order to achieve a breakthrough in the area of sustainability, much more work is needed to achieve 'system innovation' and 'scientific breakthrough'.