Competences for green technologies in Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs) are becoming increasingly urgent from a global perspective. We define NIC as countries which undergo rapid economic growth with a corresponding change in economic structure from mostly agricultural societies to a society dominated by the industrial sector and increasing services. Green technologies open up opportunities for reducing emissions; the prospect of exporting them can provide incentives for NICs to develop them as key technologies for their economies. In addition, this could trigger further demand for green technologies in both low-income economies and traditional member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In order to assess the challenges associated with this, a benchmarking exercise is performed and its benefits and limitations discussed. From a conceptual point of view, technological benchmarking of green technologies (sustainability benchmarking) can be distinguished from capability benchmarking. For both types of benchmarking, a top–down perspective (overall level of the economy) and a sectoral bottom–up perspective (focusing on the important field of industrial energy efficiency technologies) is taken. Traditional OECD countries and Newly Industrializing Countries are benchmarked in this process, complemented with a look, in selected cases, to low-income economies. We focus on energy-related green technologies though a broader view occurs also on other green technologies like material efficiency or water efficiency. The empirical analysis shows a wide range of results. From a top–down view, it can be seen that some NICs have been catching up and are in the same benchmark clusters as a variety of traditional OECD countries. In the more detailed bottom–up view, this trend is also starting for industrial energy efficiency technologies; however it is not as pronounced yet, as on the more aggregated level of all green technologies. The comparisons between capability benchmarking and sustainability benchmarking show some parallels, but also differences. By and large, countries with a higher capability are also receiving a higher evaluation with regard to sustainability benchmarking. However, the variations within each capability cluster and group also show that other factors are important. Looking into these factors and their role for explaining the differences and dynamics for green innovation, provides room for further research.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
See the discussion of the definition of the notion of NICs further on in the text.
For such countries also the term “Newly Industrialized Countries” is used.
We refer in particular to the MDG7—Ensure Environmental Sustainability though other goals are also linked to environmental sustainability.
The 2010 EPI ranks 163 countries on 25 performance indicators tracked across ten policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality.
More recently, the European Patent Office EPO has started a process to develop the Y02-Classification which allows to present energy supply technologies in patent classifications.
There were no export data for Taiwan in the UN-COMTRADE available.
We have related the industrial energy consumption to the value added of manufacturing in order to remove the distorting effect of the large revenues from energy industries in oil and gas producing countries such as Algeria, Kasakhstan, Nigeria, Russia, Venezuela. Those industries add little to energy consumption but increase industrial value added several times. In other countries the difference between manufacturing and industrial value added is much smaller.
It has to be noted that energy intensities are next to energy efficiency also influenced by differences in industrial structures which may explain partly the large spread of intensities within one category.
Bleischwitz R (2010) International economics of resource productivity—relevance, measurement, empirical trends, innovation, resource policies. IEEP 7(2):227–244
Boxwell RJ (1994) Benchmarking for competitive advantage. McGraw-Hill, New York
Bringezu S, Bleischwitz R (2009) Sustainable resource management. Trends, visions and policies for Europe and the world. Greenleaf, Sheffield
Charnes AW, Cooper W, Rhodes E (1978) Measuring the efficiency of decision making units. Eur J Oper Res 2:429–444
Cherchye L, Post T (2003) Methodological advances in DEA: a survey and an application for the Dutch electricity sector. Statistica Neerlandica 57(4):410–438
Clemens MA, Kenny CJ, Moss TJ (2007) The trouble with the MDG’s: confronting expactations of aid and development success. World Dev 35(5):735–751
Dinda S (2004) Environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis: a survey. Ecol Econ 49:431–455
DIW, ISI and Berger (2007) ‘Wirtschaftsfaktor Umweltschutz: Vertiefende Analyze zu Umweltschutz und Innovation’, Schriftenreihe Umwelt, Innovation, Beschäftigung des BMU/UBA, No. 01/07, Berlin 2007
ECORYS Research and Consulting, Technologisk Institute and Cambridge Econometrics (2009) ‘Study on the competitiveness of the EU Eco-industry’. Final report, Brussels, October 2009
Ekins P (1997) The Kuznets curve for the environment and economic growth: examining the evidence. Environ Plan A 29:805–830
Emerson J, Esty DC, Kim C, Srebotnjak T, Levy MA, Mara V, Sherbinin A, Jaiteh M (2010) 2010 Environmental Performance Index, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Politics and Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network, New Haven. Available at http://epi.yale.edu/
ENERDATA (2010) ‘Global Energy & CO2 Database’. Available at www.enerdata.fr
Freeman C, Soete L (2009) Developing science and technology indicators: what can we learn from the past? Res Policy 38:583–589
Frietsch R, Schmoch U (2010) Transnational patents and international markets. Scientometrics 82(1):185–200
Global Footprint Network (2010) Living Planet Report 2010. Available at http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/publications/
Grupp H (1999) Foundations of the Economics of Innovation: theory, measurement and practice. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham
Hatzichronoglou T (1997) Revision of the high-technology sector and product classification. STI working papers 1997/2, OECD/GD 97/216, Paris
IMD (2006) World Competitiveness Yearbook 2006. Institute for Management Development, Lausanne
IPCC (2007) Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Jamasb T, Pollitt M (2003) International benchmarking and regulation: an application to European electricity distribution utilities. Energ Policy 31:1609–1622
Langergraber G, Muellegger E (2005) Ecological sanitation—a way to solve global sanitation problems? Environ Int 31(3):433–444
Malerba F and Nelson RR (2008) ‘Catching up: in different sectoral systems’. Globelics working paper series no. 08-01
OECD (2008) Measuring material flows and resource productivity, vol. I: The OECD guide, Vol. II: The Accounting Framework; Vol. III: Inventory of Country. OECD, Paris
Peuckert J (2011) Assessment of the social capabilities for catching-up through sustainability, innovations. International Journal of Technology and Globalisation 5(3/4):190–211, Special issue on sustainability innovations in newly industrializing countries
Rennings K (2000) Redefining Innovation - Eco-Innovation Research and the Contribution from Ecological Economics. Ecological Economics 32:319–332
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants (2008) Innovative environmental growth markets from a company’s perspective. Series environment, innovation, employment of German Environment Ministry no. 2, Berlin
Sachs JD, McArthur JW (2005) The millennium project: a plan for meeting the millennium development goals. Lancet 365(9456):347–353
SCOPUS (2011) Large abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature run by Elsevier. Available at http://www.scopus.com/home.url
Smith K (2005) Measuring innovation. In: Fagerberg J, Mowery D, Nelson RR (eds) Oxford handbook on innovation. Oxford University Press, London, pp 148–179
United Nations (2009) The Millennium development goals report 2009. UN Department of Public Information, New York
Walz R (2000) Development of environmental indicator systems: experiences from Germany. Environ Manag 25(6):613–623
Walz R (2007) The role of regulation for sustainable infrastructure innovations: the case of wind energy. Int J Public Policy 2:57–88
Walz R (2010) Competences for green development and leapfrogging in newly industrializing countries. IEEP 7(2&3):245–265
Walz R and Meyer-Krahmer F (2003) ‘Innovation and sustainability in economic development’. Invited paper, Global Network on Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems (Globelics) First Conference on “Innovation Systems and Development Strategies for the Third Milennium”, Rio de Janeiro, November 2–6 2003
WEF (2008) ‘The Global Competitiveness Report 2008–2009’. World Economic Forum, Geneva
World Bank (2010) How we classify countries. Available at http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-classifications
Worldsteel (2010) Worldsteel in figures 2010. Worldsteel Association, Brussels
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Walz, R., Eichhammer, W. Benchmarking green innovation. Miner Econ 24, 79–101 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13563-012-0016-y
- Green technologies
- Newly industrializing countries
- Absorptive capacities
- Export pattern
- Innovation policy