An Innovation-Based Strategy for a Sustainable Environment

  • Nicholas A. Ashford
Part of the ZEW Economic Studies book series (ZEW, volume 10)


This article explores a role for government to provide a solution-focused, technology-based approach for addressing and setting priorities for environmental problems. It is argued that there is a need for a significant industrial transformation or displacement of those technologies and sectors that give rise to serious environmental problems, especially those that have remained stagnant for some period of time and that are ripe for change. Achieving sustainable production and consumption requires (1) a shift in policy focus from problems to solutions, (2) an appreciation of the differences between targeting technological innovation and diffusion as a policy goal, (3) the realization that the most desirable technological responses do not necessarily come from the regulated or polluting firms, (4) understanding that comprehensive technological changes are needed that co-optimize productivity, environmental quality, and worker health and safety, and (5) an appreciation of the fact that in order to change its technology, a firm must have the willingness, opportunity,and capacity to change.


innovation policy priority settings technology-based approach 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Ashford
    • 1
  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT (E40-239)CambridgeUSA

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