Changing Patterns in Eco-Innovation Research: A Bibliometric Analysis

  • Serdar TürkeliEmail author
  • René Kemp
Part of the Sustainability and Innovation book series (SUSTAINABILITY)


In this chapter we analyze patterns in the nature of eco-innovation research. For this, we conducted different types of bibliometric analyses on Web of Science Core Collection data. The analysis reveals that eco-innovation is examined from different perspectives. These are (1) supply-side perspectives focusing on firms and industries (e.g. drivers for and barriers to eco-innovation); (2) technology-centered research (e.g. carbon capture and storage, electric vehicles, smart plugs); (3) science-based research (e.g. new materials); (4) sectoral studies (e.g. steel and iron industry, transport, information technology, food, agriculture, tourism); (5) the knowledge support element in eco-innovation (e.g. skills and training); (6) demand-side analyses (e.g. diffusion and adoption dynamics of individuals, households, firms), and (7) a policy influence perspective (the impact of policy instruments e.g. eco-labels, policy mixes). Concept-wise, we observe that the concepts of industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis, and circular economy are gaining importance as analytical lenses. Our analysis reveals differences between “eco-innovation” and “environmental innovation” research in that the latter pays more attention to policy influences and is less consumption-oriented. We also identified a shift from analysing the impact towards supply and demand side research, a shift from environmental innovations to the generative processes and dilemmas for sustainability-oriented innovations, and a rise in publications from less developed parts of the world.



We want to thank Christiane Reif and Jens Horbach for offering comments and suggestions to an earlier version of the chapter. We are grateful to Alison Cathles for chapter proofreading.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Nations University-MERIT, Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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