Science, technology and innovation policy

The future of Eco-Innovation: The role of business models in green transformation - Summary and Presentations








OECD/European Commission/Nordic Innovation Joint Workshop

The Role of Business Models in Green Transformation

19-20 January 2012
Danish Business Authority
Langelinie Allé 17, Copenhagen, Denmark


Agenda / Participants list
Background Document


Background and purposes

Green growth means fostering economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. However, existing production technology and consumer behaviour can only be expected to produce positive outcomes up to a point. Innovation pushes the frontier of green solutions outward and can help to decouple growth from natural capital depletion. Innovation will also lead to new ideas, new entrepreneurs and new business models, thus contributing to the establishment of new markets and eventually to the creation of new jobs and industrial transformation. Leading firms and entrepreneurs are exploring green business opportunities, sometimes based on systemic thinking and radical innovations, aiming to capture and create value from new business models. Policy makers are also increasingly paying attention to the need for radical and systemic eco-innovations as a powerful lever in enabling a long-term transition and transformation towards a greener economy. The new EU Eco-Innovation Action Plan takes into account “business model eco-innovation” as a new important area for promoting eco-innovation, while the EU Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan is under review with a consideration of integrating this new development.

Since eco-innovation and the resulting new business models are still relatively new to industry and policy makers alike, a better knowledge and understanding of emerging practices is needed to enable government to elaborate appropriate policies and to encourage industry to take up new opportunities. Therefore, both the OECD and the Nordic Innovation (NI) are currently conducting business case studies in this area. This workshop aimed to showcase good practices of radical and systemic eco-innovations and enhance understanding of the role that new business models can play, and has also drawn lessons for industry and policy makers to accelerate the deployment and diffusion of promising environmental technologies and solutions. The workshop also served to establish a network of experts and innovators and identify potential future work for the OECD and the EU. The outcomes from the workshop will be fed into the OECD and the NI studies, both of which will be completed in 2012.

Thursday 19 January


Welcome and Opening

  • Betina Hagerup, Director General, Danish Business Authority
  • Patrick O’Riordan, Sustainable Industrial Policy Unit, DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission
  • Dirk Pilat, Head, Structural Policy Division, OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry


Session 1: Setting the scene

This first session set the scene for the workshop in reviewing the latest perspectives on green growth and the critical role of eco-innovation from the perspective of academic and industry experts. The preliminary findings from the OECD project were presented to provide a framework for understanding new developments in eco-innovation and to share the objectives of the workshop with participants.


Keynotes: Green growth and the role of innovation and business


Framing discussions: OECD work on green growth and eco-innovation


Session 2: Showcasing good industry practices (1)


Following the plenary talks, the workshop will turn to actual practices, experiences and messages from leading eco-innovators which were involved in the OECD and NI case studies. Each case study will highlight the main characteristics of the relevant business model, the potential impacts on eco-innovation and for scaling up, the obstacles that had to be addressed, and any other lessons that could have implications for policy. The session will explore some of the key areas of eco-innovation explored in the OECD and NI studies. The showcasing session will continue in the morning of Day 2.

New business models 1: Transport and mobility

Comments from experts

  • Vassilios Kefalas, National Technical University of Athens, Greece (video link to the presentation of "zero" vehicle)
  • Mattias Lindahl, Linköping University, Sweden

New business models 2: ICT-based facilitation and optimisation

Comments from experts

  • Martin Charter, Centre for Sustainable Design, University of Creative Arts, UK
  • Søren Cajus, Danish ICT and Electronics Federation

New business models 3: Eco-housing and cities

Comments from experts


Friday 20 January


Session 3: Showcasing good industry practices (2)


The first session in Day 2 explored some further practices from eco-innovators. The findings and cases from the NI and EU projects were also presented to provide additional contexts and examples for understanding developments in eco-innovation.

Making the case for business: Work from the EU and Nordic countries

New business models 4: Functional sales and innovative financing

Comments from experts

New business models 5: Industrial symbiosis and cradle to cradle

Comments from experts

  • Jonas Engberg, Sustainability Manager, IKEA Denmark
  • Søren Lyngsgaard, Creative Director, Vugge til Vugge (Cradle to Cradle) Denmark

Session 4: Extracting lessons for industry


This session aimed  to extract and synthesise lessons from the new eco-innovation practices which were presented in earlier sessions with a particular focus on how good practices could be scaled up and what industry could do to capture opportunities from new business models and turn these into mainstream businesses.

Synthesising lessons for industry: Panel discussion

Dax Lovegrove, Head of Business and Industry, WWF-UK
Yoram Krozer, Sustainable Innovations Academy, University of Twente, Netherlands
Paul A. Linzmeyer, General Partner, ISO International LLC, United States
Jason Donohue, Project Manager, i-Propeller, Belgium
Justin Perrettson, Senior Advisor, Public Affairs, Novozymes, Denmark
Florence Coulamy, European Sustainability Regulatory Affairs Manager, Unilever, France
Rick Johnson, Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC), United States

Facilitator: Karin Klitgaard, Director, Environmental Policy, Confederation of Danish Industry

Session 5: Extracting policy lessons

Through dialogue between industry, experts and policy makers, during the final session they discussed what government could do to extend the scale and depth of eco-innovation and to accelerate radical and systemic shifts towards a green transformation. The discussion also include the identification of gaps in the current understanding of industry and policy practices and the exploration of further work that the OECD, the EC and countries might undertake to strengthen eco-innovation and to disseminate knowledge and good practices.

Advance strategies: The integration of business model innovation in policies

Identifying effective policies: Two policy roundtables

Group A: Discuss policy implications of changing multi-sectoral dynamism (mainly based on lessons from the first three sessions - mobility, ICT and eco-housing)

Magnus Emfel, WWF Sweden
Takayuki Sumita, Director General, Japan Machinery Centre for Trade and Investment, Japan/Belgium
António Victor Carreira de Oliveira, Senior Adviser, Sustainable Development, Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Development, Portugal

Howard Ross, Deputy Director of Research and Economics, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, Israel

Jesper Jerlang, Director of Standardization, Danish Standards Foundation
Nadine Pratt, Team Leader, UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), Germany

Facilitator: Aurelio Politano, DG Environment

Rapporteur: Michal Miedzinski, Technopolis Belgium 


Group B: Discuss policy implications of changing value chains (mainly based on lessons from the last two sessions -functional sales and cradle to cradle)

Arnold Tukker, TNO/NTNU, Netherlands/Norway
Peter Laybourn, International Synergies Ltd, UK
Robbert Droop, Sustainability Division, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, Netherlands
Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos, Managing Director, Close the Loop Managing & Consulting, Greece

Christian Kühne, Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector, Federal State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
Matthew Barton, Programme Manager, Energy Technologies Institute, UK


Facilitator: Tanja Bisgsaard, Novitas Innovation

Rapporteur: Lars Wärngård, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA)


Synthesising lessons for government

Report from rapporteurs

Facilitator: Dirk Pilat, OECD


Concluding session

Jens Lundsgaard, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Danish Ministry of Business and Growth



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