The Eco-Innovation Challenge

The Eco-Innovation Challenge


ing solution that reduces the use of natural resources (including

materials, energy, water and land) and decreases the release of

harmful substances across the whole life-cycle.

Eco-innovation paradox The potential for benefiting from eco-innovation is often highest in

the regions and sectors where the capacity to develop or apply ecoinnovations

is limited. Back to Ch 3.

Ecological rucksack The ecological rucksack describes the resource requirement of

producing products and offering services. For products, it is the

complete material input needed to manufacture that product from the

cradle to the point of sale, minus its own weight. For services, it is the

sum of the shares of the rucksacks of the technical means (“Service

delivery machines”) employed (for example, vehicles, refrigerators,

buildings, etc.), plus the sum of materials and energy used to deliver a

unit of service (Schmidt-Bleek 2011). Back to Ch 1, Ch 2.

Frugal innovation Eco-innovations designed to be inexpensive, robust and easy to use.

This kind of innovation has been dubbed as “reverse” or “constraintbased”.

It also means being sparse in the use of raw materials and

their impact on the environment. Back to Ch 5.

Hydrolysis Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction in which water is split into hydrogen

cations. Back to Ch 7.

Incremental innovation Innovations concerned with improving components of products or

services, processes or streamlined organisational set-ups that do

not lead to a substantial change in a short time. Over time, however,

incremental innovations or sequences of incremental innovations may

cause systemic, positive or negative changes. On a large scale they

may lead to significant impacts in e.g. energy efficiency gains as in the

example of the insulation of buildings. Back to Ch 1.

Indirect flows Indirect material flows refer to up-stream material requirements of

imported or exported products, which are used as material inputs

along the production chain in foreign countries. In contrast to direct

flows of traded products, indirect flows do not cross the national

boarder. Back to Ch 2.

Industrial metabolism A sustainable development perspective which regards societies and

their economic systems as embedded in the larger environmental

system. Societies are shown to have a “metabolism” with the

surrounding natural systems in a similar way to plants, animals or

humans. The ‘inputs’ in industrial metabolism include resources such

as raw materials (including fossil fuels), water, air and land. These

resource inputs are transformed into products (goods and services)

and are finally disposed back to the natural system in the form of

outputs; mainly solid wastes, waste water and air emissions (Schütz

and Bringzu 2008). Back to Ch 7.

Industrial photosynthesis The use of captured carbon dioxide and solar energy to produce

energy rich compounds for materials and fuels. This is a vision for the

future. Back to Ch 7.

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